Hughes v. City of Rochester et al, No. 6:2012cv06112 - Document 36 (W.D.N.Y. 2016)

Court Description: -CLERK TO FOLLOW UP-ORDER granting in part and denying in part 20 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Hon. Jonathan W. Feldman on 9/8/2016. (WGC)
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Hughes v. City of Rochester et al Doc. 36 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK SUDAN A. HUGHES, Plaintiff, DECISION & ORDER v. 12-CV-6112 CITY OF ROCHESTER, et al., Defendants. PRELIMINARY STATEMENT On February 29, 2012, Plaintiff Sudan Hughes ("plaintiff") filed a complaint for employment discrimination against the City of Rochester and the See ("defendants") . City of Docket Rochester # Fire Department Plaintiff 1. claims discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, codified at 42 Disabilities Act 12117. Id. his race, provide of 1990, 2000e, § and codified at 42 with reasonable accommodations he complained about the discrimination, § Americans U.S.C. §§ with 12112 to and disability-status resulted in a failure to perform the essential functions of his job, employment. the According to plaintiff, the discrimination based on color, him U.S.C. Id. so that he could retaliation because and termination of his In accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 636(c), the parties have consented to the jurisdiction of this Court for all dispositive matters, See Docket including trial. # 14. Currently pending before for summary judgment, On December 28), 11, 2015, the Court is filed on October 2, plaintiff defendants' 2015. filed his and defendants replied on December 23, motion Docket # 20. response 2010. (Docket # Docket # 30. The Court heard oral argument on defendants' motion on February 9, 2016. At oral argument, the parties informed the Court that they would be interested in appearing before the undersigned for a settlement conference. On May 17, 2016, the Court conducted extended settlement conferences with both counsel and plaintiff present. After good faith negotiations, were unable to reach an agreement. the parties submissions 1 defendants' motion, reasons that Accordingly, the to however, Court and the parties and based on argument For the the Court now renders its decision. follow, defendants' motion for summary on judgment (Docket # 20) is granted in part and denied in part. FACTUAL BACKGROUND Plaintiff, "bipolar relevant times." an African-American depression and male, suffers from, episode [s] of psychosis See Docket # 1-4. inter at According to defendants, plaintiff became a part-time firefighter trainee on September 6, 1995. On September 8, See Docket # 22 at 2. 2 1997, plaintiff graduated from the firefighter. Rochester Id. trainee As Id. Firefighters a program and firefighter, Association, became a plaintiff Local 1071 full-time joined ("the the Union") . On May 24, 2007, plaintiff was assigned to the Quint/Midi 3 fire company, where December 7, suffered from protocol requires performance 2008, he plaintiff flu-like of worked a work fire called in sick, symptoms. duties to The Id. firefighter who report becomes the weekly updates for any extended ailments. the illness, Id. suppression. claiming he Fire Department's ill outside absence Id. that On the and provide After reporting plaintiff was placed on paid sick leave according to the Union's Collective Bargaining Agreement. Id. In December 2008, however, plaintiff was hospitalized for a week not for treatment. chief flu-like symptoms, On December Id. visited plaintiff's but 18, home to for inpatient psychiatric 2008, plaintiff's check on his battalion status. Id. Without disclosing the specifics of his illness, plaintiff told his battalion chief that he had been hospitalized and was unable to return to work. Id. at 2-3. After plaintiff went several weeks without providing updates to defendants, he was ordered to appear for a March 2, provider, at 3. At 2009 appointment with a contract medical Strong Occupational and Environmental Medicine. the appointment, Dr. Rathin Vora, M. D., Id. determined that plaintiff was unfit to work and requested that he return in 3 two months for another evaluation. Id. at 3; see also Docket # 21-3. On May 28, plaintiff's Fire Chief advised him that 2009, his six months of paid leave would exhaust on June 30, 2009, but that he could use his vacation time to extend his pay status to July 1, Docket # 22 at 3. 2009. psychiatrist, Dr. Khalid On June 2, Hubeishy, 2009, M.D., plaintiff's determined that plaintiff was fit to return to work on a part-time basis limited to four hours per day. Id. Plaintiff then returned to Dr. Vora, who referred plaintiff to Dr. R.P. Singh, M.D., a forensic psychiatrist. Id. On July 1, 2009, after exhausting his paid leave time, plaintiff was placed on unpaid leave. On July 14, with plaintiff records, return Dr. to 2009, . after conducting a and his physicians Singh issued a work on a Singh diagnosed plaintiff number of interviews reviewing basis with Docket # 28-7. with: a Psychotic Disorder with manic and psychotic features and stress related to the workplace. that Adjustment Disorders. plaintiff plaintiff's paranoia - Id. and, Vora's may Dr. Disorder, not Bipolar I from Dr. Singh also Delusional or Singh expressed concern over particularly, 4 of in early remission; Id. at 4. suffer number In the report, Dr. otherwise specified and possibly in early remission; concluded Dr. report recommending that plaintiff part-time restrictions and conditions. and Id. his paranoia directed at his work supervisors - but felt that his symptoms were not severe enough to impact his attempt at returning to work. Indeed, he opined that plaintiff and "in fairly good remission," the future course assessment, return to mechanism Dr. work to treatment and for report, part-time - on a illness. concluded part-time that he that basis signs Dr. In his Based on his plaintiff so long as was able there compliant was behavior and Id. at 5. Based Dr. cleared plaintiff to July 27, 2009 return on to recommendation, Dr. 2) Mr. Hughes should not be doing active on-line duty at this time, but may be able to work part-time on light duty only. 3) His supervisors should be notified that if they notice any change in his behavior, he should be reevaluated immediately. should follow up three months of in our clinic approximately part-time light duty work. Docket # 28-8. 5 work with a number of 1) Mr. Sudan Hughes may return to work on a part-time basis at this time. This should be conditional that he demonstrates appropriate follow up with his treating providers in the form of a letter/note regarding his compliance with treatment. He after a with his wrote: 4) to his though not as a line firefighter - restrictions. treatment monitored of ·relapse. Vora with Id. remained fully supervisors his compliant but expressed uncertainty about plaintiff's Singh ensure functioning Singh' s of was Id. Vora Despite approval the from Dr. Singh and Dr. defendants did not permit plaintiff to return to work. 22 at 4. Vora, Docket # According to Fire Chief Salvatore Mitrano ("Mitrano"), defendants' representative who made the decision, there were no light-duty assignments that plaintiff could perform based on the restrictions proposed by Dr. 23 at 4. Singh and Dr. Vora. See Docket # In testimony before an Administrative Law Judge with the New York State Division of Human Rights, Mitrano said that he declined to reinstate plaintiff because no position existed where his supervisors would be able to sufficiently monitor his behavior for changes related to his mental illness. Plaintiff December 15, was 2009 Docket # 22 at 4; 2010 to March 8, eventually pursuant terminated to Civil from his position on Service see also Docket # 28-10. 2010, Id. Law section 73. From February 2 3 , plaintiff was admitted to Buffalo General Hospital for inpatient psychiatric treatment following a period of "paranoid" 21-15 at 3-4. a and "bizarre" behavior. On November 2, 2010, Id.; see also Docket # Dr. Kavitha Finnity, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist who started treating plaintiff in March or April 2010, sent the Rochester Fire Department a letter stating that plaintiff's symptoms had improved and that he would be able to return to active duty work as a firefighter. 1 1 According to a report produced by Dr. Singh, Dr. Finnity was unaware of the extent of plaintiff's me.ntal health problems and 6 Docket # 28-11; see also Docket # 21-15 at 4-5. on November 30, 2010, Shortly after, plaintiff requested an additional fitness Docket 'for duty examination to see if he could return to work. # 28-12. On February 10, 2011, Dr. plaintiff unfit to return. was produced girlfriend, after Singh issued Singh his appeared to interviewed psychiatric harbor history paranoid that delusions against his Id. at 2-5, plaintiff's condition was insight diagnosed him with: into his Paranoid plaintiff's plaintiff his was plaintiff family and Dr. Singh noted that extremely poor and Psychotic Disorder, not otherwise specified; Schizophrenia; Disorder; and hypertension. of which plaintiff, notes and medical staff, among others. out finding and his therapist and reviewed plaintiff's records, details rule report The report, Docket # 21-15. Dr. a mental unfit for rule Id. at 5. out Based on the seriousness illness, Dr. duty recommended and Schizoaffective Singh determined that he that "remain under comprehensive psychiatric follow up so that his treatment providers can assess his safety/dangerousness to self and others on an ongoing basis .. " Id. On October 15, 2013, plaintiff sent a letter to the City of Rochester, indicating that his physician had certified him fit believed that he only suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ( "PTSD") . She had not seen records of plaintiff's See Docket# 21-15 at 4. previous hospitalizations. 7 for duty Service and Law plaintiff requesting section included to note plaintiff continued with treatment, he work the Following his Singh. from Rochester plaintiff's 2014 Dr. Fire Finni ty a to With his stating letter, that, successful Docket # following his In this report, more understanding plaintiff's Dr. of Psychotic interviews that Dr. Singh on with plaintiff and Singh had examined fit for past mental Id. at 5. to Procedural History: 21-21. girlfriend, Mitrano, described duty work, which Plaintiff first filed a complaint with color, On line Id.; see also Docket# 22 at 6. the New York State Division of # and Accordingly, Dr. Singh found full-time plaintiff did on July 21, 2014. Docket illness Disorder and Schizoaffecti ve Disorder as return 2009,. claiming race, Id. at Singh noted that plaintiff appeared his in sustained remission. plaintiff 21-28. was again interviewed by Dr. plaintiff several times since his February 2011 report. 3-4. if return to The report produced by Dr. reveals Civil pharmaceutical and Department." plaintiff physician pursuant 21-27. likely have Docket·# 21-29. February 28, # psychotherapy "would most request, reinstated Docket 73. a with be April Human Rights on September 29, and disability discrimination. 29, 2011, plaintiff, See plaintiff's and a number of other individuals appeared before an Administrative Law Judge for a hearing on plaintiff's complaint. See Docket # 21-20. 8 The Administrative Law Judge issued a final order on October 24, failed to establish 2011, finding that plaintiff racially-motivated discrimination and that his request for accommodations was unreasonable as a matter of law and fact. The Equal Employment Opportunity Docket # 21-23. Commission issued a letter adopting the findings of the Division of Human Rights and providing plaintiff notice of his right to sue. See Docket # 1-5. Accordingly, plaintiff filed his Docket # 1. complaint on February 29, 2012. DISCUSSION Presently, defendants move for summary judgment under Rule (c) of the Federal there is no genuine 56 parties. Rules of Civil dispute of Procedure, material alleging fact between that the First, they argue that plaintiff has failed to present sufficient evidence to prove a prima facie case of discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Second, they present argue that sufficient plaintiff evidence to has similarly prove prima a failed to facie case discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act and that, facie his accommodation requests were -unreasonable. Docket # 23. presented ("ADA") even if this Court finds that he has proven a prima case, arguments of from See After reviewing the briefs submitted and hearing both sufficient parties, I evidence find to 9 that support plaintiff an has inference not of discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, but that reasonable minds may differ as to plaintiff's ADA claim. I. Summary Judgment Standard As summary always, judgment is appropriate where "the movant shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of Fed. law." R. Civ. P. 56(c). "By its very terms, the standard provides that the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will supported motion for there be Liberty Lobby, original). defeat summary judgment; genuine no not Inc., issue 477 242, otherwise the material of U.S. an requirement fact." 247-48 A dispute of fact is material properly is that Anderson (emphasis (1986) v. in "only if it has some effect on the outcome of the suit." Eagley v. State Farm In.s. Co., Sept. 2015) 2015 WL 5714402, and quotation omitted) a material fact at *6 (W.D.N.Y. Moreover, 29, a genuine issue exists as to "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." U.S. at must resolve party 248. against Gjivoje, Locks Bd. 896 (citation When deciding a all inferences whom summary F.2d 716, 720 of Fire Comm' rs, summary and (2d Cir. is in favor sought. 1990); 834 F.2d 54, 10 judgment motion, ambiguities judgment Anderson, 57 (2d Cir. courts of Thompson Donahue v. 477 the v. Windsor 1987). The reasonableness of those inferences, record taken as a whole." though, Matsushita Elec. depends on "the Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The burden of showing the absence of any issue of material Celotex Corp. v. fact rests with the movant. 317, 323 prima Once (1986) facie entitlement the moving party Catrett, has to summary judgment, 477 U.S. established its the burden shifts to the non-moving party to "go beyond the pleadings and by . affidavits, and or by admission there is a the file, on depositions, designate genuine issue for answers to specific facts Id. trial." interrogatories, at showing that (emphasis 324 Put differently, the non- moving party must show that materials cited "establish . the added) (internal citations omitted) . presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the P. It 56(c) evidence that is just not enough raises doubts; "concrete evidence from which a verdict in his favor." for the the Anderson, party's is judgment. non-movant R. Civ. to present must present to at 256. The "mere to support the non-moving defeat a motion for summary Id. at 252. In evaluating the non-movant 477 U.S. scintilla of evidence" insufficient Fed. reasonable juror could return a existence of a claims fact." context of a the merits of a summary discrimination claim, 11 judgment motion in courts must be cautious in granting relief where the assessment of individuals' conduct at issue "requires motivations and state of mind Brown v. Henderson, 257 F.3d 246, 251 (2d Cir. 2001). " an These are "matters that call for a sparing use of the summary judgment device because of juries' special advantages over judges in this Id. area." (internal Nevertheless, "the quotations salutary avoiding protracted, and purposes expensive, citations of summary omitted). judgment and harassing trials - apply no less to discrimination cases than to commercial or other areas of litigation." 1985). Meiri Indeed, discrimination "summary claims material fact." 40 (2d Cir. 1994); 239 F.3d 456, that summary this stage, of 759 F.2d 989, remains available cases lacking genuine in 466 998 judgment TRM Copy Ctrs. Corp. , see also Abdu-Brisson v. judgment context Dacon, Chambers v. Inc., intensive v. (2d Cir. may be (2d Cir. to reject issues of 43 F. 3d 2 9, Delta Air Lines, 2001) ("It is now beyond cavil appropriate even discrimination cases.") . in the fact- Ultimately, at the trial court is limited to "issue-finding," and not resolution, while keeping "in mind that only by reference to the substantive law can it be determined whether a disputed fact is material to the resolution Prudential Residential Serv., of Ltd. (2d Cir. 1994). 12 the dispute." P'ship, 22 Gallo F.3d 1219, v. 1224 II. Title VII Discrimination As a threshold matter, it is necessary to determine exactly how the Court should approach allegations of disparate treatment in violation direct of federal evidence. antidiscrimination Traditionally, statutes plaintiff " [a] absent may prove discrimination indirectly either by meeting the requirements of or by otherwise creating a mosaic of McDonnell Douglas intentional evidence discrimination that by together identifying rise give bits to and an pieces inference of of discrimination." Vega v. Hempstead Union Free School Dist., 801 F.3d Cir. 72, 87 (2d 2015) (internal quotations and citations omitted); see also Abrams v. Dep't of Pub. Safety, 764 F.3d 244, 251 (2d Cir. (adopting 2014) the McDonnell Douglas test for Title VII discrimination claims) The Title VII part former, indirect method calls discrimination framework set Douglas Corp. v. 764 F. 3d at 251. the plaintiff discrimination former forth Green, employer. by under the 411 U.S. the Supreme 792, courts to "analyze now-familiar Court 802-04 in three- McDonnell (1973) ." Abrams, The three-part framework requires first that make on claims for out the a part prima of In McDonnell his case of prospective, Douglas, consists of four successive showings: 13 facie the prima prohibited current, facie or case (i) that [the plaintiff] belongs to a racial minority; (ii) that he applied and was qualified for a job for which the employer was seeking applicants; (iii) that, despite his qualifications, he was rejected; and (iv) that, after his rejection, the position remained open and the employer continued to seek applicants from persons of complainant's qualifications. 411 U.S. at 802. While the Court in McDonnell Douglas was concerned with an employer's refusal discrimination, to hire on the basis of alleged racial the holding extends to all "unlawful employment practice [s]" outlined by Title VII on any prohibited basis. u.s.c. § 2000e-2(a) practice individual, with color, be of can demonstrating to his compensation, employment, sex, prove his because a prima " ( 1) facie membership (3) employment position with an individual protected class." Farias v. F.3d Cir. 98 (2d such conditions, individual's origin.") . case in a of discrimination (4) class; a by ( 2) who the ultimate filling of is not a member Instr.uctional Systems, 2001) race, Accordingly, protected or termination from employment or other adverse employment action; and 91, unlawful terms, of or national satisfactory job performance; the an or otherwise to discriminate against any individual religion, plaintiff shall to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any respect privileges ("It 42 (internal citations of the Inc., 259 omitted). Alternatively, the last prong "may be satisfied if the plaintiff can demonstrate that the discharge or adverse employment action 14 occurred under circumstances discrimination on class. basis "Showing Id. 11 the situated employees effective method of that rise to plaintiff's an differently an inference membership employer treated is a common a prima in facie Abrams v. Reade, 419 of that similarly and establishing of discrimination." giving especially case F. Supp. 2d 476, the first step of 481 (S.D.N.Y. 2005). Once the plaintiff McDonnell Douglas disparate treatment, "shift to the nondiscriminatory 411 U.S. test has by the making second employer reason" at 802. satisfied to for However, step a requires action. Hicks, case, 509 U.S. 502, 507 that some fact" never of burden legitimate, Douglas, (1993). St. Mary's Honor Ctr. Unlike the prima facie preponderance of "[t] he ultimate burden of persuading the trier of shifts to the· defendant. Affairs v. Burdine, offers a nondiscriminatory action, the plaintiff, case the McDonnell which the plaintiff must establish by a the evidence, facie the second step merely "shifts the burden of production to the defendant." v. prima articulate its this out of 450 U.S. 248, 253 Texas (1981). explanation for Dep' t of Cmty. If the employer the challenged inquiry then shifts back for the third step to the who must "be afforded a fair opportunity to show that [the defendant] 's stated reason . racially-discriminatory decision] . " 15 . was in fact pretext McDonnell Douglas, [for a 411 U.S. at The Supreme Court has 804. proved to be a pretext for "a reason cannot be discrimination unless both that the reason was false, real reason." held that it is shown and that discrimination was the St. Mary's Honor Ctr., 509 U.S. at 506 (internal quotations and citations omitted) . Plaintiff's Analysis: VII of the Civil claim of Rights Act discrimination under Title fails at every level of the Before delving into the analysis, McDonnell Douglas framework. though, the Court must flesh out the specific adverse employment actions here. significant An disadvantage plaintiff's employment, a benefits, adverse less employment with such as action respect title, a of employment, loss significantly diminished material responsibilities, N.Y. State Dep't of Labor, minimum, terms material other indices unique to a particular situation." (internal "a materially the to termination distinguished is quotations the adverse and 326 F. App'x 617, citations 619 of a of or Cunningham v. (2d Cir. 2009) Thus, omitted). employment actions here include:. at a the Fire Department's decision to place plaintiff on unpaid leave on July 1, 2009; the Fire Department's accommodations plaintiff requested; on December 7, 2009. decision not to make the and plaintiff's termination See Docket # 22. Applying the McDonnell Douglas. shifting-burden analysis to the facts at bar reveals that plaintiff 16 is unable to prove a Though the first prima facie case of race-based discrimination. three factors appear undisputed - plaintiff, an African-American male, is a member satisfactorily action - his actions plaintiff's job; and race. that his sometimes comments,2 see See and any he he performed adverse employment class; faced alleged Docket. # co-workers vaguely, suggests protected there is no reasonable connection between the adverse employment alleges at a of sometimes Docket # 28-20 30 at discrimination at the at Department racist openly 1-3, the on While plaintiff 4-5. Fire based and made pejorative record as a whole that none of the alleged instances of racism had any In fact, bearing on the adverse employment actions here. they precede the adverse employment actions by. several years or, some cases, over a decade. To be sure, actions defendants' racial animus. non-African-American Id. plaintiff employment that has he identified believes He alleges, firefighters Docket # 28-23 at 9. actual were adverse motivated for example, with mental requested light-work accommodations not. in by that four disabilities who received them while he did Assuming, for the sake of argument, that a reasonable jury finds these facts create an inference of 2 As noted by defendant, only five of the eleven instances of alleged race-based discrimination identified by plaintiff occurred after the date he indicated the discrimination began in his complain. Docket # 30 at 5-8; Docket # 28-20 at 7-17. 17 discriminatory employment practices, the burden would then shift to defendants "to articulate some legitimate, reason" Here, for defendants have the McDonnell Douglas, its action. done that: recommendations from plaintiff's ability to work, nondiscriminatory 411 they note that, medical U.S. at 802. according to regarding professionals "[t] here were explicit conditions, which could not restrictions and monitoring requirements be accommodated in any existing light-duty position within the Fire Department." the four duty Docket # 23 at 9. non-African-American firefighters work assignments defendants point out their - because This their mental conditions, that " [n] one of conditions were at all comparable to [plaintiff's] at American, the of who received light- and plaintiff agrees psychiatric disability." 3 28-23 Moreover, with respect to 9 ("None of severe Docket # 30 at 13; see also Docket # these four firefighters are African- and none of their afflictions were of, or compare to, severe psychiatric nature of satisfies the defendants' the Plaintiff's diagnosis.") . burden "to articulate legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason" for its action. some McDonnell Douglas, 411 U.S. at 802. 3 Three of the individuals were placed on light duty for unspecified stress-related mental ailments, and one was placed on light duty for post-traumatic stress disorder. See Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law (Docket# 28-23) at 9. 18 Since defendants have satisfied the second portion of the McDonnel Douglas analysis, show that [for a [defendants'] the burden returns to plaintiff "to racially-discriminatory Plaintiff has was in fact pretext stated reason . presented no Id. decision] . " compelling evidence at 804. to demonstrate that defendants made their decisions for reasons other than the one provided unreasonable this to Court accommodations maintain his position. that for his required plaintiff mental impairments to The absence of such evidence requires dismissal of his Title VII claim. See Holt v. KMI-Continental, Inc., 95 F.3d 123, 131 (2d Cir. 1996); see also Goenaga v. March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, 51 F.3d 14, 18 (2d Cir. 1995) ("The party opposing summary judgment may not conclusory statements supporting the allegations or motion or on are denials (internal quotations has to similarly situated, light duty failed work, not of and plaintiff contentions credible, the citations identify does he of his race. simply on the affidavits upon party's omitted)). a single the other mere pleading." Importantly, instance employee demonstrate unequal adverse employment actions or adverse non-African-American nor that rely was where a granted instances of leveled against him because Plaintiff's claim is further belied by his failure to demonstrate that defendants filled his position with someone 19 outside his protected class - in fact, it appears that plaintiff has returned to his former position. Accordingly, regard to defendants' plaintiff's motion racial for summary discrimination judgment claim under with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is granted. III. Discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act The ADA prohibits an otherwise employer from discriminating against qualified individual with a that disability. statute, an See 42 U.S.C. "the term § disability because of 'discriminate against a on the basis of disability' According to the 12112 (a). qualified individual includes not making reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, unless such covered entity can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business. 42 U.S.C. § 12112 (b) (5) (A). "A plaintiff ADA bears case." the alleging initial (2d Cir. employer Fed. 1996)) discrimination under his burden of Ryan v. Grae & Rybicki, 1998) (citing Wernick v. 383 employment is subject P.C., a 135 F.3d 867, establish ADA, to establishing Reserve Bank of N.Y., To the discrimination under a prima plaintiff the ADA; 20 a (2) must he is prima 869 the facie (2d Cir. 91 F.3d 379, facie case show that: of (1) disabled within the meaning of (3) he was functions and ( 4) the ADA or perceived to be so by his employer; otherwise of his qualified to perform the essential job with or without reasonable accommodation; he suffered an adverse employment action because of his disability. Ryan, Proving that a plaintiff 135 F.3d at 869-70. is capable of performing his job with a reasonable accommodation the third prove a its own separate the ADA; (2) '(1) [he has] (3) "a plaintiff a disability under the meaning of an employer covered by the disability; To analysis. prima facie reasonable accommodation case, must show that: [his] requires factor statute had notice of with reasonable accommodation, [he] could perform the essential functions of the job at issue; and (4) the such accommodations.' " Young v. New York City Dep't of Educ., 2010 WL 2776835, (S.D.N.Y. July v. employer has P.C., 13, 369F.3d113, a burden articulate 118 prima of a pretextual. Anesthesia (2dCir. 2004)). facie legitimate reason is offered, the Rodal production challenged actions." that to make 2010) (quoting established "the refused case of shifts Grp. disability to of Onondaga, Once the plaintiff has · the discrimination, defendant, nondiscriminatory See Rodal, at *7 reason 369 F.3d at 118 n.3. who must for its If such a the burden returns to the plaintiff to prove defendant's nondiscriminatory Id. 21 explanation is Analysis: judgment on The crux of defendants' plaintiff's ADA claim Indeed, the parties accommodations. defendants are subject to the ADA, within the meaning of the ADA, adverse employment plaintiff is action. unable to motion centers do for reasonable on not summary dispute that that plaintiff was disabled and that plaintiff suffered an Instead, point to defendants any assert that light duty temporary positions that he could have filled at the time of the alleged discrimination. See # Docket 23 at As 8-11. a result, defendants claim that they would have had to create a new lightduty position Plaintiff, light for duty for his plaintiff part, work accommodations. to argues had keep that he defendants Specifically, him employed. could have performed reasonable adopted Plaintiff focuses on Dr. third recommended accommodation - Id. Vora' s that "[h] is supervisor should be notified that if they notice any change in his behavior, he should be re-evaluated immediately" - and argues that defendants intentionally misinterpreted plaintiff employment. was in charge of raised two plaintiff's plaintiff's accommodation See Docket # 28-23 at 5-8. deny to Mitrano, who overseeing plaintiff's reapplication process, concerns request supervision would that with to lead disability this be to a restriction ( 1) reinstated: breach in the status; 22 and (2) when he that denied requiring confidentiality of that there were no positions that would allow for "continual characterization defendants order and President, in As accommodation. himself that to contends support, James which effectively recommendations and, issue accommodations the the a false reasonable Fire Firefighters Department pursuant from Union could to have Vora's Dr. provided the accommodations to allow See Docket ## 28-20, 28-21. whether here that plaintiff former plaintiff thus, for plaintiff to work. The that monitored deny this adopted plaintiff provides affidavits McTiernan, aver guaranteed" See Docket # 28-23 at 6. supervision of plaintiff's behavior. Plaintiff and would have there allowed were reasonable plaintiff to working - presents a mixed question of law and fact. v. Bennett, 840 F.2d 63, 65 continue See Carter (D.C. Cir. 1988); see also Carter v. Pathfinder Energy Services, Inc., 662 F.3d 1134, 1146 (10th Cir. 2011) ("Whether under part-time the ADA is a work suited a reasonable mixed question of primarily legal principles." omitted)). is law and accommodation fact involving (internal citations and quotations Mixed questions of law and fact are "especially well for jury when determination granted only reasonable issue." Mendell v. Greenberg, and minds summary could judgment not 927 F.2d 667, 673 differ may be on the (2d Cir. 1990); see also Lightfoot v. Union Carbide Corp., 110 F.3d 898, 907 (2d Cir. 1997) ("Summary judgment is designed to pierce the pleadings 23 to flush out those cases that are predestined to result in a directed verdict."). The parties have presented two competing views accommodations plaintiff needed to return to work, of the and neither view is so overwhelmingly persuasive that summary judgment would be Indeed, appropriate. plaintiff has unlike with provided declarations his from Title James VII claim, McTiernan, the former president of the Firefighters Union and a former captain of the Rochester Fire Department, to suggest that plaintiff's requested accommodations were reasonable. See Docket # 28-21. In unequivocally his statement, McTiernan asserts that supervisors within the Fire Department are qualified and capable of supervising Id. employees Defendants for can changes and in certainly their mental health. disagree do with McTiernan's assessment, but that does not dissolve this Court of its obligation to construe the facts presented in a light most favorable to plaintiff and weigh the have on a jury's determination.· here focuses on Mitrano' s impact Moreover, these facts would the primary inquiry "motivations and state of mind" when he denied plaintiff's reapplication for work: plaintiff contends that Mitrano recommended by intentionally Dr. Vora plaintiff of his position, sort of assessment to interpreted be more the restrictive restrictions to deprive and the defendants disagree. of Mitrano' s 24 intentions calls for This "sparing use of the summary judgment device because short, 251 (2d Cir. based on the juries' Brown v. special Henderson, 257 (internal quotations omitted). In advantages over judges in this area." F.3d 246, of 2001) above and after examining the record, the Court remains unconvinced that reasonable minds would inevitably reach the same conclusion on this issue. To be sure, plaintiff ailments. Dr. plaintiff appeared relapse. The relatedly, not lost delusional of accommodations on and Gallo, multiple paranoid, defendants would to allow him to evidence on the a psychiatric occasions and was have in to and, finding employed are both parties dispositive have points of genuine issue of material Summary judgment is therefore inappropriate. 22 F.3d at 1224 that prone impairments remain Nevertheless, argument such that the Court finds fact remains. serious mental undersigned. contradictory from plaintiff's difficulty on the submitted observed severity the reasonable Singh suffered See ("[T]he trial court's task at the summary judgment motion stage of the litigation is carefully limited to discerning whether there are any genuine issues of material fact to be tried, not deciding them.") Accordingly, regard to defendants' plaintiff's motion claim Disabilities Act is denied. 25 for under summary the judgment Americans with with CONCLUSION For the reasons stated, defendants' motion for summary judgment (Docket # 20) is granted in part and denied in part. SO ORDERED. W. FELDMAN Magistrate Judge Dated: September 8, 2016 Rochester, New York 26