United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
Nora Barry Fischer Judge
action involves allegations by Plaintiff Nicholas Von Bialy
that Defendant Chipotle Mexican Grill
(“Chipotle”) terminated his employment on the
basis of his partner's disability. In his Amended
Complaint, Plaintiff asserts a claim against Chipotle for
discrimination in violation of the Americans with
Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12112. (Docket No. 13).
Presently before the Court is Chipotle's Motion for
Summary Judgment. (Docket No. 68). The matter has been fully
briefed and oral argument, after which the parties filed
supplemental briefing. (See Dockets Nos. 68-72, 76,
78-83, 92-93). Having considered the parties' positions
and evaluated all of the evidence in light of the appropriate
standard governing motions for summary judgment, for the
following reasons, Chipotle's Motion for Summary Judgment
will be GRANTED.
Plaintiff's Employment Background
following facts are not contested. On or about October 28,
2013, Plaintiff began working for Chipotle. (Docket No. 69 at
¶ 1; Docket No. 83 at ¶ 1). After training at other
Chipotle restaurants, Plaintiff began working as the General
Manager in June 2014 at the Chipotle restaurant located at
20024 Route 19, Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania 16066.
(Docket No. 69 at ¶ 2; Docket No. 83 at ¶ 2).
DiCenzo, a Chipotle Area Manager and Plaintiff's
supervisor, oversaw Cranberry Township and submitted
“The Area Manager Report, Plan for Building a
Restaurateur Culture” (the “Restaurateur
Plan”) on December 15, 2014. (Docket No. 69 at
¶¶ 3-4; Docket No. 83 at ¶¶ 3-4). The
Restauranteur Plan is a diagnosing planning tool that is used
to evaluate issues occurring in Chipotle restaurants that
prevent the restaurant's success. (Docket No. 69 at
¶ 5; Docket No. 83 at ¶ 5). The Restaurateur Plan
cited twenty-six managerial deficiencies and issues with
Cranberry Township and Plaintiff's performance. (Docket
No. 69 at ¶ 6; Docket No. 83 at ¶ 6).
Plaintiff's Restaurateur Plan was the second worst review
in which Chipotle Team Director Rob Anderson had
participated. (Docket No. 69 at ¶ 7; Docket No. 83 at
¶ 7). Area Manager Christopher Bruni considered the
Restaurateur Plan to be “very bad” and Cranberry
Township to be one of the most challenged stores for which he
had reviewed a Restaurateur Plan. (Docket No. 69 at ¶ 8;
Docket No. 83 at ¶ 8). Bruni's general take-away
from the Restaurateur Plan was that Plaintiff was running
Cranberry Township “very poorly” and that
Plaintiff was not performing up to speed, and that Plaintiff
was not doing what his supervisors needed him to do. (Docket
No. 69 at ¶ 9; Docket No. 83 at ¶ 9).
Events of January 16-18, 2015
January 16, 2015, Plaintiff and his partner, Jamie Pittner,
attended a work function and awards ceremony at the Rivers
Casino in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Docket No. 69 at ¶
11; Docket No. 83 at ¶ 11). During same, Pittner
collapsed, was rushed to Allegheny General Hospital, and was
admitted to the emergency room and intensive care unit.
(Docket No. 69 at ¶ 12; Docket No. 83 at ¶ 12).
Upon her admission, Pittner had a blood alcohol level of
.213. (Docket No. 69 at ¶ 15; Docket No. 83 at ¶
15). While in the intensive care unit, Pittner was seen by
Dr. Mark Lega, who diagnosed her as being intoxicated and
discharged her from the intensive care unit on January 17,
2015. (Docket No. 69 at ¶¶ 13-14, 16; Docket No. 83
at ¶¶ 13-14, 16). At approximately 11:52 a.m.,
Pittner was discharged. (Docket No. 69 at ¶ 19; Docket
No. 83 at ¶ 19).
January 18, 2015, at approximately 5:12 p.m., Pittner
admitted herself to the emergency room at the University of
Pittsburgh Medical Center Passavant because she did not
believe that she should have been discharged from Allegheny
General Hospital. (Docket No. 69 at ¶ 20; Docket No. 83
at ¶ 20). Pittner was seen by Dr. Alan Shapiro, who
discharged her on January 18, 2015, at approximately 7:31
p.m. (Docket No. 69 at ¶ 21, 24; Docket No. 83 at ¶
Chipotle's Knowledge and Notice of Pittner's
January 16, 2015, at 6:26 p.m., Plaintiff sent a text message
to DiCenzo stating, “My wife just got rushed to the
hospital.” (Docket No. 69 at ¶ 25; Docket No. 83
at ¶ 25). Later that evening, Plaintiff spoke to DiCenzo
on the telephone, the content of which he described during
Q. What did you discuss?
A. Well, the fact that my wife had collapsed and that I would
not be -- you know, I would be taking care of this for a few
days. I had the whole weekend off, so I wasn't missing
any of my shifts.
. . . . Q. So you were informing him as a courtesy because it
wasn't because you were going to be missing work; is that
. . . . Q. Pardon me. Do you remember exactly what you said
A. No. I just said that my wife had collapsed and I'm at
the hospital and just to let him know that if he needed me
for anything, I probably wouldn't be available for 24
hours, if I can even recollect that. Like I said, I was an
Q. Did you describe to him at all what happened to your wife,
do you recall?
A. Just that she collapsed and that we took an ambulance to
the hospital and that she's in the emergency room.
Q. Did you tell him what you thought it was, if anything?
A. I had no idea what it was.
Q. Other than that she had collapsed, did you make any other
description of what had happened to her?
A. The fact that she collapsed and stopped breathing is all I
Q. Did you ever discuss what had happened to her in he
hospital that she was being intubated?
A. Not to my knowledge, but maybe.
Q. Other than collapsed and wasn't breathing, were there
any other descriptions of your wife's condition that you