United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
THAYER A. PISANI
CONRAD INDUSTRIES, INC.
CONSENT OF THE PARTIES
PATRICK J. HANNA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
pending is the motion for summary judgment (Rec. Doc. 29),
which was filed by the defendant, Conrad Industries, Inc. The
motion is opposed. Oral argument was held on January 25,
2018. Considering the evidence, the law, and the arguments of
the parties, and for the reasons fully explained below, the
motion is DENIED.
complaint, the plaintiff asserted a claim under the Americans
with Disabilities Act and the Louisiana Employment
Discrimination Law, contending that he was discriminated
against on the basis of a perceived disability when his
employer failed to allow him to return to work following a
medical leave of absence.
plaintiff, Thayer A. Pisani, was employed by the defendant,
Conrad Industries, Inc., as a crane operator. Mr. Pisani has
a history of degenerative disc disease in his spine. In 2006,
this condition caused numbness in his arms and hands as well
as migraine headaches and resulted in his having surgery.
After recovering from the surgical procedure, Mr. Pisani
returned to work. In October 2015, Mr. Pisani began
experiencing symptoms related to his cervical spine. He took
a medical leave of absence, during which he treated with a
neurologist, Dr. Edward Haight. When the leave period was
scheduled to end, Mr. Pisani was still undergoing physical
therapy, and Conrad agreed to extend his leave to accommodate
the ongoing physical therapy. On January 15, 2016, Dr. Haight
cleared Mr. Pisani to return to work without restrictions.
However, Conrad's HR director Shane Alfred required that
Mr. Pisani also be cleared to return to work by the company
doctor, Dr. Robert M. Bourgeois who has a specialty in
January 18, 2016, Dr. Bourgeois declined to clear Mr. Pisani
to return to work but also indicated that further evaluation
of Mr. Pisani's condition was required, and he requested
additional medical records. On that same date, Dr. Adolpho
Cuadra of the Headache & Pain Center, cleared Mr. Pisani
to return to work. On February 1, 2016, Conrad terminated Mr.
Pisani's employment. The next day, Conrad's HR
director instructed Dr. Bourgeois to discontinue his review
of Mr. Pisani's records. Thereafter, neurologist Dr.
Damon E. Patterson also opined that Mr. Pisani was capable of
returning to work.
now seeks summary judgment in its favor, arguing that Mr.
Pisani's ADA claim should be dismissed because Conrad had
an objectively reasonable concern, at the time of Mr.
Pisani's termination, that Mr. Pisani would pose a direct
threat to its work force if he returned to work as a crane
The Summary Judgment Standard
Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary
judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact, and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. A fact is material if proof of
its existence or nonexistence might affect the outcome of the
lawsuit under the applicable governing law. A genuine issue
of material fact exists if a reasonable jury could render a
verdict for the nonmoving party.
party seeking summary judgment has the initial responsibility
of informing the court of the basis for its motion and
identifying those parts of the record that demonstrate the
absence of genuine issues of material fact. If the moving
party carries its initial burden, the burden shifts to the
nonmoving party to demonstrate the existence of a genuine
issue of a material fact. All facts and inferences are construed
in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
dispositive issue is one on which the nonmoving party will
bear the burden of proof at trial, the moving party may
satisfy its burden by pointing out that there is insufficient
proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving
party's claim. The motion should be granted if the
nonmoving party cannot produce evidence to support an
essential element of its claim.
Factual Issues ...