United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
William E. Smith, Chief Judge.
the Court is Defendant Electric Boat Corporation's Motion
for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 16. After considering the
evidence and arguments presented by the parties, for the
reasons set forth herein, Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment is GRANTED.
Fernando Pereira applied for a job as an “Outside
Electrician” with Electric Boat in May 2014. Def.
Statement of Undisputed Material Facts (“Def.'s
SUF”) ¶ 11, ECF No. 18. Electric Boat, a
government contractor, has a facility in Quonset Point, Rhode
Island, where it manufactures submarine components and
outfits submarines. Id. at ¶¶ 4-5. Outside
Electricians are responsible for installing lighting,
components, cabinets, hangers, and cable, as well as
hooking-up electrical components, fiber-optics and testing.
Id. at ¶ 7. Both parties agree that Pereira
accepted a conditional job offer from Electric Boat
contingent upon his completion of Electric Boat's
physical examination. Id. at ¶ 13.
applicants for positions at Electric Boat are required to
undergo this post-offer pre-employment physical exam to
determine whether the applicant is medically able to perform
the functions of the position. Id. at ¶ 17.
Concentra Medical, an outside contractor, conducted
Pereira's physical in July 2014. Id. at
¶¶ 18-19. Due to his medical history, Electric Boat
requested additional medical information from Pereira.
Id. at ¶ 19 (quoting Damien M. DiGiovanni
Decl., Exhibit D, Andrews Dep. 14:5-14). Dr. Susan Andrews,
the medical director at Electric Boat's Quonset Point
facility, obtained further documentation of Pereira's
medical conditions, including records going back two years.
Def.'s SUF ¶ 14, ¶ 20, ¶ 25; Pl.'s
Resp. to Def.'s Undisputed Facts (“Pl.'s
RSUF”) ¶ 21, ECF No. 25-2. Pereira's medical
history included a knee injury from 2011, carpal tunnel
syndrome, and degenerative joint disease in both knees and
ankles. Def.'s SUF ¶¶ 27-33.
on these records, his physical exam by Concerta, and Dr.
Andrews' discussions with Pereira, Dr. Andrews determined
that Pereira would require restrictions, specifically that he
could not stand for an entire shift and had significant
limitations in certain movements such as bending, crouching,
and gripping. Id. at ¶ 35. Dr. Andrews
relayed these restrictions to Brian Shields, the Manager of
Electric Operations at the facility. Id. at
¶¶ 35-39. Shields, who had no role in determining
the restrictions themselves, ultimately found that
Pereira's restrictions could not be accommodated due to
the nature of the Outside Electrician Job, which requires
standing or walking for an entire day, using one's hands
repetitively, and bending and squatting constantly.
Id. at ¶ 39.
Shields made this determination, Electric Boat's
Accommodation Review Committee (“ARC”) was
convened to conduct an individualized assessment, which
included interviewing Pereira. Id. at ¶¶
40-43. Electric Boat claims that Pereira stated during the
interview that he needed an hour-long break after performing
several hours of repetitive tasks; Pereira denies admitting
he could not do the job or that he needed specific
restrictions. Id. at ¶ 44; Pl.'s RSUF
¶ 44. The parties also dispute whether Pereira admitted
in that meeting that no accommodations would enable him to
perform the job functions. Def.'s SUF ¶ 45;
Pl.'s RSUF ¶ 45. The ARC found that Pereira could
not be accommodated, and Pereira was told he could apply for
other positions at Electric Boat that might be a better fit.
Def.'s SUF ¶¶ 46-7.
January 2015, Pereira applied again for an Outside
Electrician job at Electric Boat. Id. at
¶¶ 48-49. As part of his second application
process, Electric Boat was provided with updated medical
information regarding Pereira's carpal tunnel syndrome.
Id. at ¶ 49. Based on that, Dr. Andrews
determined that she could lift some of the previous
restrictions related to Pereira's carpal tunnel syndrome
if he wore a wrist brace, and presented those updates to
Shields. Id. at ¶¶ 52-53. However, without
any changes to his other restrictions, his offer was again
rescinded. Id. at ¶ 53. A second ARC interview
and discussion took place in April and May 2015, at which
time it was again determined that Pereira could not be
accommodated. Id. at ¶ 54.
filed suit against Electric Boat, alleging two causes of
action: (1) that Electric Boat intentionally discriminated
against him on account of his disability by refusing to
hire him, in violation of the Rhode Island Civil Rights Act,
R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-112-1 et seq (“Count
I”); and, (2) that Electric Boat intentionally
discriminated against the Plaintiff on account of his age by
refusing to hire him (“Count II”).
Plaintiff's Complaint (“Pl. Compl.”), Exhibit
1, ECF No. 1. Electric Boat filed this motion for Summary
Judgment (“Def. Mot.”), ECF No. 16, and
Memorandum in Support of its Motion, ECF No. 17. Plaintiff
filed an Objection to Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment (“Pl. Obj.”), in which he dropped Count
II of his Complaint. ECF No. 25-1. Defendant filed a Reply in
Further Support of its Motion for Summary Judgment
(“Def. Reply”). ECF No. 29.
Summary Judgment Standard
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). In ruling on a motion for summary
judgment, the Court “construe[s] the record in the
light most favorable to the nonmovant and resolv[es] all
reasonable inferences in that party's favor[, ] . . . we
can safely ignore conclusory allegations, improbable
inferences, and unsupported speculation.” Mulloy v.
Acushnet Co., 460 F.3d 141, 145 (1st Cir. 2006),
quoting Carroll v. Xerox Corp., 294 F.3d 231, 237
(1st Cir. 2002).
Plaintiff's Prime Facie Case
employment discrimination cases based on disparate treatment,
the Court usually applies the three-part burden-shifting
paradigm set forth by the Supreme Court in McDonnell
Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802-04 (1973)
(“McDonnell Douglas”). However, the instant case
falls into a particular sub-genre of disparate treatment
cases - ones in which the plaintiff alleges that an employer
failed to hire him because of a protected
disability. In this context, to make out a prime facie
case, the plaintiff must show that he “(1) suffers from
a disability . . . as defined by the ADA . . . that (2) he
was nevertheless able to perform the essential functions of
the job, either with or without reasonable accommodation, and
finally (3) that [the employer] took an adverse employment
action against him because of . . . his protected
disability.”Carroll, 294 F.3d at 237 (citing
Lessard v. Osram Sylvania, Inc.,175 F.3d 193, 197
(1st Cir. 1999)). Where there is no direct evidence of the
third element, ...