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Adigun v. Express Scripts, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division

November 21, 2017




         Presently before the Court are Defendant Express Scripts, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 73) and Plaintiff Loretta C. Adigun's Motion for Reconsideration (Dkt. No. 71). These motions have been fully briefed and are ripe for review. For the reasons stated below, Defendant's Motion is GRANTED, and Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED.


         Plaintiff Adigun sued Express Scripts, Inc. on March 21, 2016, and amended her complaint on June 13, 2016. Dkt. Nos. 1, 7. Adigun alleges that Defendant violated the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") by denying her request for a reasonable accommodation in the form of additional medical leave. Id. She was diagnosed with coronary artery disease, which limits her ability to breathe, walk, bend, and lift. Dkt. No. 7 ¶ 3. After Plaintiff suffered a heart attack on August 23, 2014, she was on Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") leave through November 14, 2014. Dkt. No. 73-2, p. 146. She also received paid short-term disability leave from her employer through November 5, 2014, after being granted multiple extensions. Dkt. No. 73-2, 166:11-167:4, 176:1-7, 95:10-24.

         While the parties dispute the date of Plaintiff's termination, they agree that she was employed at least until February 25, 2015. Dkt. No. 73-2, 75:18-20. That same month, Adigun applied for Social Security Disability Insurance ("SSDI") benefits based on her heart attack. Dkt. No. 66-1, p. 11. In that application, Plaintiff supplied, ''No." next to "Now able to work." Id., p. 5. The Social Security Administration ("SSA") determined that Plaintiff was disabled and granted her monthly SSDI benefits, which she continues to receive (at least until the time of her deposition in this case). Dkt. No. 73-2, 229:9-11, 234:12-14.

         Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment with this Court on December 19, 2016. Dkt. No. 21. The Court denied that motion on March 30, 2017, explaining that the motion was premature because discovery had not been concluded. Dkt. No. 49. Plaintiff then asked the Court to reconsider that denial in a motion for reconsideration filed on April 20, 2017. Dkt. No. 50. The Court denied that motion, too, explaining that Plaintiff had not met the standards for reconsideration. Diet. No. 58. Plaintiff then filed a new motion for summary judgment on May 22, 2017. Dkt. No. 59. This Court denied that motion, too, on June 27, 2017, because discovery was not completed. Dkt. No. 69. A few days later, on July 3, 2017, Plaintiff filed the present Motion for Reconsideration. Discovery is now complete.


         The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). To satisfy this burden, the movant must show the court that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case. Id. at 325. If the moving party discharges this burden, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to go beyond the pleadings and present affirmative evidence to show that a genuine issue of fact does exist. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 257 (1986). The nonmovant may satisfy this burden in two ways. First, the nonmovant "may show that the record in fact contains supporting evidence, sufficient to withstand a directed verdict motion, which was 'overlooked or ignored' by the moving party, who has thus failed to meet the initial burden of showing an absence of evidence." Fitzpatrick v. City of Atlanta, 2 F.3d 1112, 1116 (11th Cir. 1993) (quoting Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 332 (Brennan, J., dissenting)). Second, the nonmovant "may come forward with additional evidence sufficient to withstand, a directed verdict motion at trial based on the alleged evidentiary deficiency." Id. at 1117. Where the nonmovant instead attempts to carry this burden with nothing more "than a repetition of his conclusional allegations, summary judgment for the defendants [is] not only proper but required." Morris v. Ross, 663 F.2d 1032, 1033-34 (11th Cir. 1981).


         I. Defendant's Summary Judgment Motion

         Defendant argues that it is entitled to summary judgment because it is not Plaintiff's employer, that Plaintiff did not request a reasonable accommodation from it, and that Plaintiff is not a "qualified individual." The Court takes up each argument in turn in finding that Defendant's Motion should be granted.

         A. Identity of Plaintiff's employer

         A plaintiff may only bring an employment discrimination claim-including a claim under the ADA-against her employer. 42 U.S.C. § 12111(2) & (4) ('''[C]overed entity' means an employer . . . ."). Parent companies of an entity are not the entity itself. Hegre v. Alberto-Culver USA, Inc., 508 F.Supp.2d 1320, 1333-34 (S.D. Ga. 2007), aff'd 275 F.Appx. 873 (11th Cir. 2008) (dismissing an ADA claim against a parent entity who was not the plaintiff's actual employer).

         The undisputed evidence in this case shows that Express Scripts, Inc. has never employed Plaintiff. Defendant has brought forth unrefuted proof that Plaintiff was employed by Express Scripts Services Company. In support of this contention, Defendant points to Plaintiff's paychecks, IRS W-2 forms, earnings statements, and employment benefits, all of which identify Express Scripts Services Company as Plaintiff's employer. Dkt. No. 73-3, pp. 8-13. She cannot claim ignorance of her employer's identity in light of all these documents evidencing it with which she regularly interacted. See Allocco v. City of Coral Gables, 221 F.Supp.2d 1317, 1359 (S.D. Fla. 2002), aff'd 88 F.Appx. 380 (11th Cir. 2003) ("The plaintiffs cannot justifiably ...

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