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Morel v. Chevron Mining, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

June 17, 2015

KEITH A. MOREL, Plaintiff,
v.
CHEVRON MINING, INC., Defendant.

SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM OPINION

MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA, District Judge.

This case is before the Court on defendant Chevron Mining, Inc.'s motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 20). On March 31, 2015, the Court entered summary judgment in favor of CMI on all of plaintiff Keith Morel's claims except for interference and retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. (Doc. 38). By separate order, the Court requested additional briefing on Mr. Morel's FMLA claims. (Doc. 39). After careful consideration of the record and the supplemental briefing, the Court enters summary judgment in favor of CMI on Mr. Morel's FMLA claims.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

"The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows 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). To demonstrate that there is a genuine dispute as to a material fact that precludes summary judgment, a party opposing a motion for summary judgment must cite "to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). When considering a summary judgment motion, the Court must view the evidence in the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Hill v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 510 Fed.Appx. 810, 813 (11th Cir. 2013). "The court need consider only the cited materials, but it may consider other materials in the record." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3). For purposes of this supplemental opinion, the Court adopts the facts set out in the Court's initial memorandum opinion. (Doc. 38, pp. 2-12).

II. DISCUSSION

A. Mr. Morel's FMLA Interference Claim

Mr. Morel asserts that CMI denied him full benefits and rights under the FMLA. (Doc. 1, p. 6). To establish a claim for FMLA interference, Mr. Morel "must demonstrate that he was denied a benefit to which he was entitled under the FMLA." Martin v. Brevard Cnty. Pub. Sch., 543 F.3d 1261, 1266-67 (11th Cir. 2008). The FMLA provides that covered employers must provide to eligible employees 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period to allow employees to address serious health conditions. 29 U.S.C. § 2612(a)(1).[1] Following leave, eligible employees also have the right to have their employers restore them to the position that they held when they took FMLA leave. 29 U.S.C. § 2614(a)(1).

Mr. Morel's FMLA interference claim fails because he cannot demonstrate that CMI denied him FMLA leave. In his deposition, Mr. Morel testified that he did not request FMLA leave, and CMI never denied his requests for paid medical leave:

Q: Did you ever request FMLA leave at any time when you were at North River?
A: No.
Q: Did anybody ever tell you not to take it?
A: No.
Q: Was there any leave - let's just leave FMLA out. Was there any leave that you ever ...

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