GLORIA M. ORTIZ-MARTÍNEZ, Plaintiff, Appellant,
FRESENIUS HEALTH PARTNERS, PR, LLC; FRESENIUS MEDICAL CARE EXTRACORPOREAL ALLIANCE OF PUERTO RICO, INC., Defendants, Appellees.
FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
PUERTO RICO [Hon. Bruce J. McGiverin, U.S. Magistrate Judge]
Aimée Roldán Márquez for appellant.
Alfredo M. Hopgood-Jovet, Patricia M. Marvez-Valiente, and
McConnell Valdés LLC for appellees.
Torruella, Lipez, and Thompson, Circuit Judges.
THOMPSON, Circuit Judge.
Gloria Ortiz-Martínez worked as a social worker for
appellees Fresenius Health Partners, PR, LLC and Fresenius
Medical Care Extracorporeal Alliance of Puerto Rico, Inc.
(together, "Fresenius"). After suffering a
work-related injury, Ortiz-Martínez sued Fresenius for
failing to accommodate her disability in violation of the
American with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C.
§§ 12101-12213. The district court granted summary
judgment finding, first, that Ortiz-Martínez did not
qualify as a "disabled" individual under the ADA
and, second, that she was the cause of the breakdown in
communications concerning her accommodations. After careful
consideration, we affirm the district court's ruling.
case facts are largely undisputed and we summarize them in
the light most favorable to the appellant. See Gillen v.
Fallon Ambulance Serv., 283 F.3d 11, 17 (1st Cir. 2002).
January 25, 2010, Ortiz-Martínez was hired as a social
worker at Fresenius, a health care services provider that
administers dialysis treatment to patients with kidney
disease or impaired renal function. As part of her duties,
Ortiz-Martínez was required to regularly write and
document various aspects of her work, including documenting
all interventions and services she rendered to patients, and
completing a monthly report for each patient under her care.
During the course of her employment, Ortiz-Martínez
suffered a hand injury while preparing written notes in her
subsequently went to see a doctor with the State Insurance
Fund ("SIF") on July 30, 2012 regarding her
work-related injury and was placed on rest until August 9,
2012. Ortiz-Martínez went back to the SIF for several
follow-up appointments over the course of the next year, and
each time she was placed on additional rest and not permitted
to return to work. Following a doctor's appointment on
July 12, 2013 where the doctor once again extended
Ortiz-Martínez's order of rest until July 22,
2013, Ortiz-Martínez returned to the SIF five days
later (on July 17, 2013) to inquire about returning to work
while she continued treatment for her injury. Her doctors
agreed that she could return to work while continuing her
treatments and, with the blessing of her doctors, she
reported in on July 18, 2013.
her return, Ortiz-Martínez provided her supervisor and
Clinical Manager, Priscilla Ortiz ("Priscilla"),
with a copy of the SIF form which indicated that
Ortiz-Martínez had been diagnosed with a sprained left
shoulder, arm, forearm, and hand, as well as bilateral carpal
tunnel syndrome. The SIF form also indicated that after her
medical examination on July 17, 2013, Ortiz-Martínez
was cleared to return to work while she continued to receive
medical treatment for her injuries. The SIF form did not
indicate what specific accommodations were necessary to
assist Ortiz-Martínez in the completion of her daily
tasks while continuing treatments for her injury.
Priscilla informed Ortiz-Martínez that without more
information regarding Ortiz-Martínez's medical
restrictions and what specific accommodations she was
requesting, Fresenius would not be able to reinstate her.
That same day (July 18, 2013), Ortiz-Martínez returned
to the SIF in an effort to obtain the additional information
requested by Priscilla. The SIF provided
Ortiz-Martínez with a letter that, in pertinent part,
stated the following:
The following diagnosis was made at our agency: Sprained Left
Shoulder and Arm. Sprained Left Forearm. Sprained Left Hand,
Bilateral Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. These conditions produce
constant pain, numbness in [Ortiz-Martínez's]
upper extremities, and difficulty in performing the
activities that require exercising force or pressure in the
affect [sic] area.
Dr. Miguel Rivera-González, Occupational Physician who
is in charge of the case, recommends that this employee be
provided with an occupational adjustment. The medical
evidence shows that Mrs. Ortiz[-Martínez] has
difficulty in performing repetitive tasks, lifting, holding
and manipulating heavy and large objects for a prolonged
length of time. She also has difficulty in holding, pulling,
gripping and she shows problems related to restriction of
movement and ...