that she was restricted in terms of the jobs available in her geographic region which required the same skill, knowledge, training and ability. Id. Because the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that she was foreclosed from an entire class or broad range of jobs as a result of her injuries, the court held that she had not established that she was significantly limited in the major life activity of working. Id.
To the extent that Horth relies upon the workers' compensation determination that he had a "temporary total disability," such reliance is misplaced. Courts have noted that "social security determinations . . . are not synonymous with a determination of whether a plaintiff is a 'qualified person for purposes of the ADA." Robinson, 94 F.3d at 502 n.2; (citing Overton v. Reilly, 977 F.2d 1190, 1196 (7th Cir. 1992); Smith v. Dovenmuehle Mortgage., Inc., 859 F. Supp. 1138, 1141-42 (N.D. Ill. 1994). Similarly, because the criteria in determining a workers' compensation award are different from those applied under the ADA, a workers' compensation award is not dispositive in an ADA case. In any event, findings by the workers' compensation judge support the conclusion that Horth is not "disabled" within the intent of the ADA. For example, the workers' compensation judge found that Horth was capable or performing sedentary or light duty work. (Plf's S. J. Mot. (Dkt. Entry 23) Exhibit C, P 14(d).) Horth has not presented any medical or vocational evidence tending to show a significant limitation in the major life activity of working. Instead, he relies on summaries of the medical evidence presented in the workers' compensation proceeding. Even assuming that the workers' compensation judge's characterization of the medical evidence is competent on a summary judgment motion, it does not suffice to create a triable issue. Horth's own physician, Dr. Krywicki, opined that Horth could perform light duty work, a conclusion with which a consulting physician, Dr. Feinstein, concurred. (Id. PP 9 & 11.)
Although Horth's injuries certainly preclude a narrow field of jobs, he has failed to demonstrate that his injuries have eliminated him from an entire class or broad range of jobs within his geographic region based upon his skill, education, training, and knowledge. See, e.g., McKay, 878 F. Supp. at 1015 (noting that a court should consider a plaintiff's education background to determine the positions for which the plaintiff would be qualified). The record reflects that Horth was capable of performing "light duty" status at the time that he was laid off. Thus, Horth cannot show that his injuries have led to the elimination of an entire class or a broad range of jobs for which he is qualified.
In this regard, the record reflects that Horth has several advanced degrees, suggesting that he would be able to perform tasks of a less physical nature than his employment with General Dynamics. Horth has a Bachelor of Arts degree from DePauw University, a Bachelor of Foreign Trade degree from the American Graduate School of International Management, and a Master of Science degree in International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management. (Plf's Dep. (Dkt. Entry 20) at 7-8.) Horth also had positions utilizing his international management expertise with several companies over a fourteen year period: Sears, Roebuck & Company, Singer Sewing Machine Company, Smith, Corona, Marshom (SCM), and XM World Trade. (Id. at 10-20.) Although Horth indicated that his skills were not marketable in this region, there is no evidence in the record that Horth has attempted to obtain a job in a field that would utilize his management training. Given Horth's established ability to continue work in his previous field, albeit on "light duty" status, along with his impressive educational background, the record cannot support a finding that Horth's injuries have precluded him from employment in an entire class or a broad range of jobs. Moreover, the medical evidence reflected in the workers' compensation decisions essentially concerned the nature, severity and duration of Horth's impairments, but failed to address the significant factors of vocational history, educational background, the labor market for which Horth is suited, and the number and types of jobs from which Horth may be disqualified. In the absence of evidence on these significant matters, Horth has not presented a triable issue on whether he is significantly restricted in the major life activity of working. See Bolton, 36 F.3d at 944. Because Horth has failed to establish that he has a disability which substantially limits one of his major life activities, General Dynamics motion for summary judgment will be granted.
D. The Discriminatory Intent Issue
Even if there was a triable issue on the existence of a disability, summary judgment in favor of General Dynamics would be warranted because the undisputed facts presented on the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment could not support a reasonable inference that General Dynamics intended to discriminate against Horth because he had a "disability." Because the purpose of the ADA is to proscribe intentional discrimination based on disability, the absence of any evidence tending to show either (1) that General Dynamics' explanation for its decision is a post hoc fabrication to conceal its discrimination, or (2) that General Dynamics intended to discriminate against Horth because of his disability, compels entry of judgment in favor of General Dynamics.
It is undisputed that the Plan was negotiated with the UAW as a means through which General Dynamics' unemployed workers could be protected as a result of corporate downsizing. (Def's Stat. of Facts (Dkt. Entry 22) P 37.) Thus, the Plan was never intended to compensate employees receiving other benefits from General Dynamics. (Id. P 38.) Thus, General Dynamics maintains that Horth is not entitled to any early retirement benefits under the Plan because he was receiving workers' compensation benefits. (Id.) Convincingly, the UAW, Horth's union, also declared that Horth was not entitled to benefits under the Plan, a fact that Horth does not contest. (Id. PP 43-44; cPlf's Answer (Dkt. Entry 27) PP 43-44.)
Horth does not claim that the reason he was denied benefits -- his receipt of workers' compensation -- is a pretext for the real reason why General Dynamics denied him early retirement benefits. Instead, Horth relies solely upon the theory that General Dynamics has impermissibly excluded the entire class of General Dynamics' employees receiving workers' compensation from participation in the Plan.
Essentially, Horth argues that the exclusion of workers' compensation recipients evidences an intent to discriminate based on disability.
Although it is true that every employee receiving workers' compensation benefits is ineligible for special early retirement benefits under the Plan, it does not follow that every employee receiving workers' compensation benefits has a "disability" under the ADA. A determination of disability by a workers' compensation judge does not equate to a "disability" under the ADA. Robinson, 94 F.3d at 502 n.2; (citing Overton v. Reilly, 977 F.2d 1190, 1196 (7th Cir. 1992); Smith v. Dovenmuehle Mortgage, Inc., 859 F. Supp. 1138, 1141-42 (N.D. Ill. 1994)).
Further, General Dynamics' preclusion of those persons receiving workers' compensation benefits from participation in the Plan does not create an impermissible classification based on disability because General Dynamics has a business justification for its action. In the context of health insurance plans, the EEOC has provided that benefit plans can be based upon permissible economic considerations:
It is important to note that not all health-related plan distinctions discriminate on the basis of disability. Insurance distinctions that are not based on disability, and are applied equally to all insured employees, do not discriminate on the basis of disability and so do not violate the ADA.