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Gill v. Wandres Corp.

United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division

March 6, 2015

Janet Gill, Plaintiff,
v.
Wandres Corp., Defendant.

Mona K. Majzoub, Mag. Judge

OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT’S [17] MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

JUDITH E. LEVY, United States District Judge

Plaintiff Janet Gill bring this suit against her former employer, defendant Wandres Corp. (“Wandres”), for discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (“ADA”). (Dkt. 1, Compl. ¶¶ 24-32.) Before the Court is Wandres’ Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. 17.) Gill was originally represented by counsel, but is now proceeding in this matter pro se. The Court referred this case to the Eastern District of Michigan’s pro bono program administrator to attempt to find counsel for Gill, and stayed the case for 90 days. (Dkt. 25.) The administrator was unable to locate counsel for Gill, despite multiple attempts to do so. (See Dkt. 26.) Pursuant to E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f), the Court will decide the motion without oral argument. For the reasons discussed below, the Court will grant the motion.

I. Background

Wandres was incorporated in Michigan in 1998, with its principal place of business in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Wandres manufactures cleaning systems that use brushes and compressed air to clean industrial machinery. Wandres is a subsidiary of Wandres GmbH, a German corporation located in Buchenbach, Germany. Gill was hired by Wandres in 2003 to do clerical work, although she performed a variety of jobs during her time at Wandres, including customer service and assembly of machines.

In 2010, Gill’s physician placed her on certain restrictions because of tears in both of her rotator cuffs and because of a deteriorating spinal condition. Gill was restricted from lifting more than 10 pounds. In 2013, Gill’s physician restricted her from lifting more than 15 pounds and from doing overhead work because of “severe spinal degeneration.” (Dkt. 24, Ex. 1 at 3.)

Gill resigned her employment with Wandres on March 26, 2013. Gill alleges she did so because Justin Elsley, the Vice President and manager of Wandres, threatened to cut her hours and pay if she would not perform machine assembly tasks that violated her weight lifting restrictions. Gill’s ADA claim is based on Wandres’ alleged failure to accommodate her disabilities.

Wandres moved for summary judgment on the ground that it does not qualify as an employer under the ADA. (Dkt. 17.) Gill filed a response pro se and then, with the Court’s leave, a supplemental response. (Dkt. 19, 24.)

II. Analysis

A. Standard

Summary judgment must be granted where “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). The Court may not grant summary judgment if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248. The Court “views the evidence, all facts, and any inferences that may be drawn from the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.” Pure Tech Sys., Inc. v. Mt. Hawley Ins. Co., 95 F.App'x 132, 135 (6th Cir. 2004) (citing Skousen v. Brighton High Sch., 305 F.3d 520, 526 (6th Cir.2002)).

The non-movant cannot, however, “rely on the hope that the trier of fact will disbelieve the movant’s denial of a disputed fact, but must present affirmative evidence” to defeat the motion. Street v. J.C. Bradford & Co., 886 F.2d 1472, 1479 (6th Cir. 1989). The “mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [non-movant’s] position will be insufficient.” Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 252. “If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted.” Id. at 249-250.

B. Wandres’ motion for summary judgment

Wandres maintains it is not covered by the ADA and is entitled to ...


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