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Posey v. Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

August 29, 2018

DANIEL POSEY, Plaintiff,
v.
HYUNDAI MOTOR MANUFACTURING ALABAMA, Defendant.

          RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          WALLACE CAPEL, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         After prior developments and rulings, the lone remaining claim presented in Plaintiff Daniel Posey's (“Plaintiff”) Amended Complaint (Doc. 37) is his claim that Defendant, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (“Defendant” or “HMMA”), unlawfully terminated his employment on the basis of his disability, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).[1] See Doc. 37 at ¶¶ 40-43, 49-54. Presently before the court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 57). Plaintiff has filed a Response (Doc. 63) and Defendant has filed a Reply (Doc. 65). The District Judge has referred this matter to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge “for consideration and disposition or recommendation on all pretrial matters as may be appropriate.” Doc. 7. The motion is fully briefed and is ripe for recommendation to the United States District Judge. For the reasons that follow, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 57) be GRANTED.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Under Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a reviewing court shall grant a motion for “summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Only disputes about material facts will preclude the granting of summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). “An issue of fact is ‘genuine' if the record as a whole could lead a reasonable trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party. An issue is ‘material' if it might affect the outcome of the case under the governing law.” Redwing Vehicleriers, Inc. v. Saraland Apartments, 94 F.3d 1489, 1496 (11th Cir. 1996) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248).

         Under Rule 56, summary judgment is appropriate “if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The party asking for summary judgment “always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of ‘the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Id. at 323. The movant can meet this burden by presenting evidence showing there is no dispute of material fact, or by showing that the nonmoving party has failed to present evidence in support of some element of his case on which he bears the ultimate burden of proof. Id. at 322-23.

         Once the movant has satisfied this burden, the nonmoving party must “go beyond the pleadings and by his own affidavits, or by the ‘depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file,' designate ‘specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'” Id. at 324. In doing so, and to avoid summary judgment, the nonmovant “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). The parties must support their assertions “that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed” by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations[], admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials” or by “showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A) & (B).

         If the nonmovant “fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact” as required by Rule 56(c), then the court may “consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion” and “grant summary judgment if the motion and supporting materials - including the facts considered undisputed - show that the movant is entitled to it.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2) & (3).

         In determining whether a genuine issue for trial exists, the court must view all the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmovant. McCormick v. City of Fort Lauderdale, 333 F.3d 1234, 1243 (11th Cir. 2003). Likewise, the reviewing court must draw all justifiable inferences from the evidence in the nonmoving party's favor. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. However, “mere conclusions and unsupported factual allegations are legally insufficient to defeat a summary judgment motion.” Ellis v. England, 432 F.3d 1321, 1326 (11th Cir. 2005) (per curiam). Furthermore, “[a] mere ‘scintilla' of evidence supporting the opposing party's position will not suffice; there must be enough of a showing that the jury could reasonably find for that party.” Walker v. Darby, 911 F.2d 1573, 1577 (11th Cir. 1990); see also Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50 (“If the evidence [on which the nonmoving party relies] is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted.”) (internal citations omitted).

         III. STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED FACTS

         In the court's Order setting guidelines for the filing of dispositive motions, the parties were directed, prior to filing dispositive motions and responses thereto, to “confer and agree upon the facts which are uncontested, ” and were further advised that the court would “rely upon the parties' representations in its determination of whether there is a genuine issue of material fact.” Doc. 54 at 2. Consistent with this directive, the parties have presented identical agreed “uncontested” facts, which are as follows:

HMMA manufactures automobiles in Montgomery, Alabama. Posey was employed by HMMA from June 20, 2005, until his December 1, 2014 discharge was affirmed by peer review on December 9, 2014.
At all relevant times, HMMA maintained EEO, attendance, disciplinary, and discharge policies. The EEO policy in relevant part provides:
It is the policy of HMMA to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities. HMMA will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities when necessary to enable them to perform the job's essential functions and enjoy the job's benefits. The individual Team Member, job applicant or other individual should identify themselves as an individual with a disability when seeking an accommodation, demonstrate how the disability impacts their job, and suggest an effective means of accommodation. Supporting medical documentation will be kept confidential.
The attendance policy in relevant part provides:
Attendance will be calculated using a rolling calendar year using the following formula:
• Calculate the number of workdays. Workdays will include all scheduled workdays minus all excused absences.
• Calculate the number of unexcused workdays.
• Subtract the number of unexcused workdays from the number of workdays and divide the remainder by the number of workdays to arrive at the Team Member's attendance percentage.
• Example:
237 Scheduled workdays
- 15 Excused absences (holidays, vacation, etc.)
222 Workdays
- 5 Unexcused workdays
217 Days worked
217/222 = 97.7%
* * *
When a Team Member's attendance falls below 98% at any time during the first year or subsequent years of employment during any rolling twelve-month period, corrective action will be considered. The rolling twelve-month period is a 365-day period. The following will be considered when issuing corrective action for attendance:
• Cause
• Frequency
• Patterns
• Failure to report

• Time pattern of ...


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