United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant O'Reilly Automotive Stores,
Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc.
11) against Plaintiff Andrea James. No. opposition
was filed. For the reasons that follow, the Motion
(Doc. 11) is GRANTED.
disability-discrimination suit arises from Andrea James's
employment with O'Reilly as a delivery specialist. (Doc.
1-1). After O'Reilly fired her, James sued O'Reilly
under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Louisiana
Employment Discrimination Law. (Id.) She alleges
that O'Reilly failed to reasonably accommodate
disabilities she developed in two car accidents.
(Id.). Primarily at issue is whether James could,
with reasonable accommodation, perform the essential
functions of an available position with O'Reilly. (Doc.
14). Because the undisputed facts show that she could not,
James is not a qualified individual with a disability, and
James cannot prove disability discrimination.
October 2014, O'Reilly hired Plaintiff as a delivery
specialist at O'Reilly store number 633 in Baton Rouge,
Louisiana. (Doc. 11-1 at ¶ 1). Delivery specialists
deliver O'Reilly parts to stores and pick up and sign for
stock transfers. (Doc. 11-32 at p. 1). The physical
requirements for the position include standing and walking
for 1-2 hours, bending/stooping for 5-6 hours, reaching above
shoulder level for 1-2 hours, pushing/pulling for 5-6 hours,
squatting for 1-2 hours, crouching for 5-6 hours, kneeling
for 1-2 hours, lifting 26-40 pounds for 1-2 hours, and
lifting 41-60 pounds for 1-2 hours. (Id. at p. 2).
early 2015, Plaintiff was injured in two car accidents. (Doc.
11-1 at ¶ 11). Plaintiffs injuries "severely
limited . . . her ability to perform heavy lifting, to stand
for prolonged periods of time, and to bend." (Doc. 1-1
at ¶ 7). Because Plaintiffs injuries made her physically
unfit for the delivery specialist position, O'Reilly
temporarily reassigned Plaintiff to light duty assistance
work as a customer greeter and front counter clerk in May
2015. (Doc. 11-1 at ¶ 10).
months later, O'Reilly received a note from Plaintiffs
doctor stating that Plaintiff should avoid lifting items over
ten pounds and take frequent sitting breaks. (Id. at
¶ 15). O'Reilly concluded that these temporary
restrictions precluded Plaintiff from performing the
"essential job duties" of the delivery specialist
position, and that O'Reilly could not accommodate the
restrictions for any other available position. (Id.
at ¶ 16). O'Reilly granted Plaintiff a leave of
absence until February 2016, when Plaintiffs temporary
restrictions could be updated. (Id. at ¶¶
update arrived as scheduled through a "Fitness for
Duty" form. (Doc. 11-16). In the form, Dr. Christina
Austin marked boxes indicating that Plaintiff should be
permanently restricted from kneeling/squatting,
bending/stooping, pushing/pulling, driving, reaching
overhead, lifting items heavier than ten pounds, and standing
for more than two hours per day. (Id.). Dr. Austin
also marked a box indicating that Plaintiffs
medications-Norco, Soma, and Xanax-created a
"safety/driving issue." (Id.). And Dr.
Austin indicated, in the "miscellaneous
restrictions" section of the form, that Plaintiff should
work only four hours per day, four days per week.
personnel reviewed the form. (Doc. 11-1 at ¶ 25). Based
on Plaintiffs permanent restrictions, the O'Reilly store
manager, district manager, regional director, and leave of
absence coordinator determined that O'Reilly could not
provide any reasonable accommodation to Plaintiff that would
allow her to perform the essential functions of her delivery
specialist position or any other position available at store
number 633. (Id.). O'Reilly fired Plaintiff less
than a month later. (Id. at ¶ 29). Plaintiff
responded by filing a charge of discrimination with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission. (Doc. 1-1 at ¶ 21).
She received a right-to-sue notice in May 2017.
months later, Plaintiff sued O'Reilly in the Nineteenth
Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Baton Rouge.
(Doc. 1-1). Plaintiffs Petition for Damages alleges that
O'Reilly violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42
U.S.C. 12101 etseq., and the Louisiana Employment
Discrimination Law, La. R.S. 23:323, when O'Reilly failed
to reasonably accommodate the disabilities Plaintiff
developed in two car accidents. (Id.). O'Reilly
removed the suit based on federal-question jurisdiction and
now moves for summary judgment. (Docs. 1, 11).
contends that Plaintiff cannot prove disability
discrimination because she cannot show that she is a
"qualified individual" under the Americans with
Disabilities Act. (Doc. 14). Plaintiff cannot show that she
is a "qualified individual," O'Reilly
continues, because Plaintiff cannot show that, with a
reasonable accommodation, she could perform the essential
functions of any available position at O'Reilly store
number 633. (Id.).
judgment is proper if O'Reilly shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and that it is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
The Court cannot grant summary judgment simply because
O'Reilly's motion is unopposed; O'Reilly must
point to the absence of a material factual dispute that
supports entry of a judgment in its favor. Hetzel v.
Bethlehem Steel Corp., 50 F.3d 360, 362 n.3 (5th Cir.
1995). In deciding whether O'Reilly has done so, the
Court views facts and draws reasonable inferences in
Plaintiffs favor. Midwest Feeders, Inc. v. Bank of
Franklin, 886 F.3d 507, 513 (5th Cir. 2018). Because
Plaintiff did not file an opposition, O'Reilly's
properly-supported assertions of fact are deemed undisputed.
FED. R. ClV. P. 56(e)(2).