The opinion of the court was delivered by: DANIEL H. HUYETT, 3RD
This action presents claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"), 43 Pa. C.S.A. § 951 et seq. Defendants move for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, Defendants' motion is DENIED in its entirety.
Donald Earl Fehr ("Plaintiff") was employed by McLean Packaging Corporation ("Defendant"), a manufacturer of cardboard boxes. In July of 1992, Plaintiff's supervisor requested that Plaintiff assist in loading trucks. The task required Plaintiff to work in a warm, confined space with minimal ventilation. Plaintiff refused to undertake the task, allegedly citing sensitivity to heat caused by medication for depression.
The supervisor explained that no other employee was available and that Plaintiff assist in loading trucks or be terminated.
III. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
Summary judgment is proper when the record shows "that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). This Court's role is to determine "whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986); Josey v. John R. Hollingsworth Corp., 996 F.2d 632, 637 (3d Cir. 1993). The moving party has the burden of demonstrating that no genuine issue of fact exists. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). Further, the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655, 8 L. Ed. 2d 176, 82 S. Ct. 993 (1962). However, if the non-moving party fails to adduce sufficient evidence in connection with an essential element of the case for which it has the burden of proof, the moving party is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322.
ADA prohibits discrimination in employment matters against qualified individuals with a disability.
Plaintiff claims Defendants constructively discharged him because of a disability. Defendants move for summary judgment on the grounds that Plaintiff is not an individual with a disability.
Under the ADA "disability" is: (1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; (2) a record of such an impairment; or (3) being regarded as having an impairment. 42 U.S.C. § 12102(2).
An individual must satisfy at least one of these parts to be considered an individual with a disability.
Plaintiff alleges that his hypertension and depression, indirectly through his medication, substantially limited his ability to breath.
Breathing is unquestionably a major life function. 29 C.F.R. 1630.2(j). It makes no difference whether the major life function is affected directly by a disability or indirectly by the side effects of medication taken for a medical or physical condition. Guice-Mills v. Derwinski, 967 F.2d 794, 797 (2d Cir. 1992)(plaintiff's medication regime interfered with ability to arrive at work on time); Overton v. Reilly, 977 F.2d 1190, 1195 (7th Cir. 1992)(medication caused plaintiff to be drowsy at work). Whether Plaintiff suffered a substantial limitation of breathing in warm confined areas is a question of fact which precludes the Court from granting this motion as long as Plaintiff has presented a modicum of evidence to support its position. Plaintiff's ...