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Mpoyo v. FIS Management Services, LLC

United States District Court, D. Arizona

December 6, 2019

Kolela Mpoyo, Plaintiff,
v.
FIS Management Services, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER

          HONORABLE STEVEN P. LOGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 71) For the following reasons, the Court will grant the Motion.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff was employed by Defendant as a “Systems Administrator II” from 2013 to 2017. (Docs. 1 at 1; 72 at 1) In late 2015, Defendant requested that its employees participate in a health assessment program, which included a biometric screening to test for height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol levels. (Docs. 1 at 2; 72-2 at 28) Defendant hired a third-party vendor, Health Fitness, to administer the testing. (Docs. 72 at 2; 72-2 at 27) Plaintiff participated, and his biometric results were flagged as “high risk” for prostate cancer. (Doc. 1 at 2) Health Fitness recommended that Plaintiff follow-up to receive additional testing. (Docs. 1 at 3; 72-2 at 54, 58-59) Plaintiff underwent additional testing in February and March of 2016. (Doc. 1 at 3) In order to undergo the testing, Plaintiff requested time off from work in March 2016. (Doc. 72-2 at 48-50) Plaintiff did not tell Defendant that he was undergoing cancer testing. (Doc. 72-2 at 48-50) Instead, Plaintiff simply told his supervisor that he was “sick.” (Doc. 72-2 at 48-50)

         In January of 2016-unbeknownst to Plaintiff-Defendant began a plan to reduce its operating costs through a reduction in its workforce. (Doc. 72 at 4) After looking at past performance reviews for everyone in Plaintiff's department, Defendant decided to terminate Plaintiff and one other employee. (Doc. 72 at 4-5) Defendant terminated the other employee during the last week of March, but Plaintiff was out “sick” at that time. (Doc. 72 at 5) A few days later, on April 4, 2016, Defendant informed Plaintiff of his termination over the phone. (Doc. 72 at 5) Plaintiff received a diagnosis of prostate cancer on April 27, 2016. (Doc. 72-2 at 55)

         Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on August 11, 2016. (Docs. 1 at 8-9; 72-2 at 85) Subsequently, Plaintiff filed the Complaint and commenced this action on November 27, 2017. (Doc. 1) In count one, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant unlawfully terminated him in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. In count two, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant unlawfully discriminated against him based on his genetic information in violation of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000ff et seq. In count three, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant unlawfully discriminated against him based on his age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. In count four, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant unlawfully interfered with his rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq. Defendant answered the Complaint on March 26, 2018. (Doc. 11)

         On April 5, 2019, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 71) The Court issued an Order on April 15, 2019, notifying Plaintiff of the Motion and specifically instructing Plaintiff to respond by May 15, 2019. (Doc. 74) Plaintiff did not file the Response until October 8, 2019. (Doc. 92) Defendant filed a Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Response. (Doc. 95) The Court granted the Motion and struck Plaintiff's untimely Response. (Doc. 98)

         II. Standard of Review

         After viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, summary judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is clearly entitled to prevail as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). A fact is “material” when, under the governing substantive law, it could affect the outcome of the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A genuine dispute of material fact arises “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. “If the evidence is merely colorable, . . . or is not significantly probative, . . . summary judgment may be granted.” Id. at 249-50 (citation omitted).

         The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion and identifying the portions of the pleadings, depositions, interrogatories, admissions, or affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. The moving party need not disprove matters on which the opponent has the burden of proof at trial. Id. When a party fails to respond to a motion for summary judgment, the moving party still has an “affirmative duty under Rule 56 to demonstrate its entitlement to judgment as a matter of law.” Martinez v. Stanford, 323 F.3d 1178, 1182 (9th Cir. 2003).

         III. Discussion

         Defendant asserts that the Court is required to analyze Plaintiff's ADA, GINA, and ADEA discrimination claims under the burden-shifting framework outlined in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973).[1] (Doc. 71 at 9) The framework generally applies to a plaintiff who alleges retaliatory conduct by his or her employer after the plaintiff participated in a protected activity. See Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prod., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 142 (2000). The framework is also appropriate when a plaintiff attempts to establish a claim of discrimination by using only circumstantial evidence. Id. at 141. The Court finds that the record in this case only contains circumstantial evidence to support Plaintiff's various claims of discrimination. Therefore, the Court will apply McDonnell Douglas to analyze whether the record supports a genuine dispute of material fact for each discrimination claim. See Smith v. Noah Webster Basic Sch., 389 Fed.Appx. 698, 699 (9th Cir. 2010) (evaluating an ADA claim based on circumstantial evidence of discrimination under McDonnell Douglas); Diaz, 521 F.3d at 1207 (evaluating an ADEA claim based on circumstantial evidence of discrimination under McDonnell Douglas); Punt v. Kelly Serv., No. 14-cv-02560-CMA-MJW, 2016 WL 67654, at *12-13 (D. Colo. Jan. 6, 2016) (evaluating a GINA claim based on circumstantial evidence of discrimination under McDonnell Douglas).

         A.ADA Claim

         “To prevail on an ADA claim of unlawful discharge, the plaintiff must establish a prima facie case by showing that: (1) he is a disabled person within the meaning of the statute; (2) he is a qualified individual with a disability; and (3) he suffered an adverse employment action because of his disability.” Hutton v. Elf Atochem N. Am., Inc., 273 F.3d 884, 891 (9th Cir. 2001) (citation omitted). “It follows that the plaintiff must show that the defendant had knowledge of ...


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