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Timothy W. Schillaci v. Cargill Meat Solutions

December 17, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo


Presently before the Court is Defendant Cargill Meat Solutions' ("Cargill") Partial Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Timothy W. Schillaci's ("Schillaci") Amended Complaint. (Doc. 18.) Schillaci claims that Cargill, his former employer, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq., the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"), 43 Pa. Stat. Ann. §§ 951, et seq., and wrongfully discharged him in violation of Pennsylvania common law. Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Cargill has moved to dismiss Schillaci's ADA failure to accommodate claim, the PHRA failure to accommodate claim, and the state-law wrongful discharge claim. Because the failure to accommodate claims lack sufficient factual allegations to state claims upon which relief can be granted, and because the PHRA forecloses the wrongful discharge claim based on disability discrimination, the partial motion to dismiss will be granted.

I. Background

The facts as alleged in the Amended Complaint are as follows: Schillaci was hired by Cargill in May 2006 to work in the Dehider Area of the Dressing Floor. (Am. Compl., ¶ 7.) Schillaci worked in this position until October 2006, at which time he left his employment with Cargill due to the birth of his child. (Id. at ¶ 8.)

Cargill subsequently rehired Schillaci in April 2008 to work in the Offal Area of the Dressing Floor. (Id. at ¶¶ 8-9.) While working in the Offal Area, Schillaci injured his left wrist, and, as a result, he was reassigned to another position. (Id. at ¶¶ 10-11.) At this time, management's attitude towards Schillaci changed, as he started to receive write-ups for not wearing the proper protective equipment, for injuring his thumb when he was not on company time, and for horseplay. (Id. at ¶¶ 12-20.) Ultimately, Schillaci was terminated. (Id. at ¶ 21.)

Cargill rehired Schillaci in November 2009. (Id. at ¶ 24.) When he was rehired, Schillaci worked in the Head Line Area of the Dressing Floor doing tongue and cheek wash. (Id. at ¶ 27.) Upon being rehired, Schillaci was subject to immediate harassment. (Id. at ¶ 25.) For example, Schillaci was automatically placed on restriction, as Cargill said he "had trigger finger which was untrue." (Id. at ¶ 28.) Schillaci was upset that he was not given a knife job, and he felt degraded by the decision. (Id. at ¶ 30.) He remained in this position for four months, during which he expressed his feelings of low esteem. (Id. at ¶ 31.) Eventually, Schillaci visited Dr. Web, and Dr. Web lifted Schillaci's work restrictions. (Id. at ¶ 32.)

Once the restrictions were lifted, Schillaci bid on a knife position in the Blood Pit Area of the Dressing Floor. (Id. at ¶ 33.) Schillaci was assigned to pull snouts. (Id. at ¶ 34.) However, the two employees tasked with his training, Mike Crawn and Chris Clark, constantly harassed him and refused to train him. (Id. at ¶¶ 35-37.) Other employees also insulted Schillaci and made it difficult for him to perform his job. (Id. at ¶¶ 40-46.)

Thereafter, Schillaci's supervisor, Bob Vanderpool, reassigned him to work on bovine vac and tail clip. (Id. at ¶ 47.) When Schillaci's wife asked Vanderpool why her husband was on tail clip, he responded that "Tim is slow [and] I know he has ADD, or something like that, but he has to focus." (Id. at ¶¶ 48-49.)

Due to how he was being treated at work, Schillaci began feeling suicidal. (Id. at ¶ 50.) Schillaci was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, and he was placed on prozac, wellbutrin, buspar, klonopin, and risperdal. (Id. at ¶¶ 51-52.)

After Schillaci came back to work, the harassment continued, as other employees called him names and verbally abused him. (Id. at ¶¶ 53-61.) Thereafter, Schillaci was given a job pulling bags and skinning legs, but he never received any training. (Id. at ¶¶ 62-63.) Rather, he had to train himself. (Id. at ¶ 63.) One day, Schillaci was removed from the line due to an allegation that he was doing drugs. He was given a drug test, and the results came back negative. (Id. at ¶¶ 64-65.) And, when Schillaci and his wife complained to Vanderpool about the harassment, Vanderpool responded that Schillaci needed to set higher goals and standards and to focus on his job responsibilities. (Id. at ¶¶ 66-68.)

In August 2010, Schillaci's depression worsened, and he was admitted to the hospital. (Id. at ¶ 69.) Schillaci was hospitalized for two weeks. (Id. at ¶ 70.)

Upon his return to work, the harassment resumed, as other employees yelled at Schillaci and threw debris at him. (Id. at ¶¶ 73-76.) Nevertheless, these employees were not disciplined. (Id. at ¶ 76.) Conversely, Schillaci was ultimately terminated for allegedly harassing a co-worker, even though Cargill never conducted an investigation of the accusation. (Id. at ¶¶ 77-78.) And, Schillaci never received a warning about harassment prior to his termination. (Id. at ¶ 81.) Schillaci asserts that the adverse employment action was taken against him due to his inability to concentrate based on his depression and attention deficit disorder ("ADD"). (Id. at ¶¶ 84-85.)

As a result of the foregoing events, Schillaci commenced this action against Cargill alleging: (1) violation of the ADA (Count I); (2) retaliation under the Age Discrimination Act and the ADA (Count II); hostile work environment under the ADA (Count III); (4) violation of the PHRA (Count IV); and wrongful discharge (Count V). (Doc. 1.) After Cargill moved to dismiss the Complaint, Schillaci filed the Amended Complaint in an effort to cure the defects identified by Cargill. (Am. Compl.) Thereafter, Cargill filed a partial motion to dismiss seeking dismissal of the failure to accommodate claims under the ADA and the ...

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