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Davis v. Burwell

United States District Court, D. Arizona

January 5, 2016

Glenn Davis, Plaintiff,
v.
Sylvia Matthews Burwell, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Defendant.

ORDER

Honorable Eileen S. Willett United States Magistrate Judge

Pending before the Court is Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 36). The District Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The parties have consented to proceeding before a Magistrate Judge pursuant to Rule 73, Fed.R.Civ.P. and 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (Docs. 6, 10).

After reviewing the parties’ submissions, the Court finds that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment will be deemed moot, and Plaintiff’s Complaint will be dismissed with prejudice.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff filed a Complaint (Doc. 1) in Federal Court on January 21, 2014. Defendant filed an Answer (Doc. 8) on May 5, 2014. All issues are joined. On June 8, 2015, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and Statement of Facts (Docs. 36, 37). Plaintiff responded (Docs. 39, 40) on July 17, 2015. Defendant filed a Reply (Doc. 42) on August 3, 2015. The matter is deemed submitted for decision.

Defendant seeks summary judgment on all of Plaintiff’s claims. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Sylvia Burwell, while acting in her official capacity as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, discriminated against Plaintiff due to his disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.[1] Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he was denied reasonable accommodations and terminated or constructively discharged due to discrimination on the basis of his back, knee, and leg disabilities, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a).

Defendant moves for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff’s claims because (i) Plaintiff’s physical limitations prevent him from performing the essential functions of his job with or without reasonable accommodations; (ii) Plaintiff’s physical limitations prevent him from performing the accommodations Plaintiff proposes; and (iii) the accommodations Plaintiff proposes place an undue hardship on the employer.

Plaintiff urges the Court to deny Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment because (i) Defendant failed to respond to Plaintiff’s request for accommodation as required by the ADA; and (ii) genuine issues of material fact exist regarding whether Plaintiff could have performed available and existing light duty work.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

1. Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is appropriate if the evidence, when reviewed in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, demonstrates “that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Substantive law determines which facts are material in a case and “only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). “A fact issue is genuine ‘if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.’” Villiarimo v. Aloha Island Air, Inc., 281 F.3d 1054, 1061 (9th Cir. 2002) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). Thus, the nonmoving party must show that the genuine factual issues “‘can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party.’” Cal. Architectural Bldg. Prods., Inc. v. Franciscan Ceramics, Inc., 818 F.2d 1466, 1468 (9th Cir. 1987) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250).

Because “[c]redibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge . . . [t]he evidence of the nonmovant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor” at the summary judgment stage. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255 (citing Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59 (1970)); Harris v. Itzhaki, 183 F.3d 1043, 1051 (9th Cir. 1999) (“Issues of credibility, including questions of intent, should be left to the jury.”) (citations omitted).

When moving for summary judgment, the burden of proof initially rests with the moving party to present the basis for his motion and to identify those portions of the record and affidavits that he believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the movant fails to carry his initial burden of production, the non-movant need not produce anything further. The motion for summary judgment would then fail. However, if the movant meets his initial burden of production, then the burden shifts to the non-moving party to show that a genuine issue of material fact exists and that the movant is not entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248, 250; Triton Energy Corp. v. Square D. Co., 68 F.3d 1216, 1221 (9th Cir. 1995). The nonmovant need not establish a material issue of fact conclusively in his favor. First Nat’l Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 288-89 (1968). However, he must “come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v.Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (internal citation and emphasis omitted); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1).

Conclusory allegations unsupported by factual material are insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989); see also Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 502 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007) (“[c]onclusory, speculative testimony in affidavits and moving papers is insufficient to raise genuine issues of fact and defeat ...


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