United States District Court, D. Arizona
James D. Rancourt, Plaintiff,
OneAZ Credit Union, Defendant.
Honorable John J. Tuchi United States District Judge.
issue is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc.
67, MSJ), to which Plaintiff filed a Response (Doc. 71,
Resp.) and Defendant filed a Reply (Doc. 73, Reply). The
Court resolves the Motion without oral argument. See
James D. Rancourt worked as an Investigations/Security
Manager for Defendant OneAZ Credit Union. On March 27, 2015,
Plaintiff informed his manager, Robert Gibboni, that he was
diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Defendant accommodated
Plaintiff's subsequent requests related to his treatment,
including time off for physicians' appointments and work
from home. Plaintiff received Defendant's approval for
leave from work under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA),
and his FMLA leave ran until June 19, 2015. He then received
Defendant's approval for an extended leave of absence for
an additional 30 days. Plaintiff applied for and received
short-term disability insurance benefits, followed by
long-term disability insurance benefits, followed by Social
Security disability benefits. In July 2015, Plaintiff
expressed to Defendant's human resources representative,
Thea Ammon, that he was not able to return to work and that
his survival was questionable, but that he hoped to return to
work if his treatment was successful. Ammon informed
Plaintiff that he remained an active employee on approved
leave. Plaintiff's extended leave ended on July 20, 2015,
at which time Defendant informed him he was eligible for
rehire. But Plaintiff never applied for or sought
re-employment. Later in 2015, Defendant ensured
Plaintiff's COBRA medical insurance coverage continued
through 2015, while Plaintiff underwent chemotherapy
doctors have never released him for a return to work.
Moreover, Plaintiff collects long-term disability insurance
benefits, which require that he certify that he is unable to
work, and Social Security disability benefits, which require
that he is not able to engage in substantial gainful
filing a charge of disability discrimination with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on December 24,
2015, and receiving a right-to-sue letter on September 19,
2016, Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant in Arizona state
court on December 16, 2016. Defendant removed the action to
this Court on January 20, 2017. (Doc. 1.) In his Complaint
(Doc. 1-1 at 7-14, Compl.), Plaintiff raises four claims
against Defendant: (1) failure to accommodate in violation of
the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §
12112; (2) failure to accommodate in violation of the Arizona
Civil Rights Act (ACRA), A.R.S. § 41-1461 et
seq.; (3) unlawful discrimination in violation of the
ADA; and (4) unlawful discrimination in violation of the
ACRA. Defendant now moves for summary judgment on all of the
claims against it.
Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary
judgment is appropriate when: (1) the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact; and (2) after
viewing the evidence most favorably to the non-moving party,
the movant is entitled to prevail as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Eisenberg v. Ins. Co. of N.
Am., 815 F.2d 1285, 1288-89 (9th Cir. 1987). Under this
standard, “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect
the outcome of the suit under governing [substantive] law
will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). A “genuine issue” of material fact arises
only “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury
could return a verdict for the non-moving party.”
considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must
regard as true the non-moving party's evidence if it is
supported by affidavits or other evidentiary material.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Eisenberg, 815
F.2d at 1289. The non-moving party may not merely rest on its
pleadings; it must produce some significant probative
evidence tending to contradict the moving party's
allegations, thereby creating a material question of fact.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256-57 (holding that the
plaintiff must present affirmative evidence in order to
defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment);
First Nat'l Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Serv. Co.,
391 U.S. 253, 289 (1968).
summary judgment motion cannot be defeated by relying solely
on conclusory allegations unsupported by factual data.”
Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989).
“Summary judgment must be entered ‘against a
party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's case,
and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial.'” United States v. Carter, 906 F.2d
1375, 1376 (9th Cir. 1990) (quoting Celotex, 477
U.S. at 322).
provides that “[n]o covered entity shall discriminate
against a qualified individual with a disability because of
the disability of such individual in regard to . . .
discharge of employees . . . and other terms, conditions, and
privileges of employment.” 28 U.S.C. § 12112. To
establish a prima facie case of discrimination under
the ADA, a plaintiff must show that he: 1) is disabled; 2) is
qualified; and 3) suffered an adverse employment action
because of his disability. Menchaca v. Maricopa Comm.
College Dist., 595 F.Supp.2d 1063, 1067 (D. Ariz. 2009).
Court's resolution of Defendant's Motion begins and
ends with the second element of the prima facie ADA
An ADA plaintiff bears the burden of proving that [he] is a
“qualified individual with a disability”-that is,
a person “who, with or without reasonable
accommodation, can perform the essential functions” of
[his] job. A totally disabled person who cannot
“perform the essential functions of the employment
position” with or without reasonable accommodations