United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
BRADLEY A. ARNDT, Plaintiff,
FORD MOTOR COMPANY, a Delaware Corporation, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING FORD MOTOR COMPANY'S
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NO. 75)
D. Borman United States District Judge
disability discrimination action, Plaintiff claims that
Defendant Ford Motor Company ("Ford") violated the
Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C.
§§ 12101, et seq. and the Michigan Persons
With Disabilities Civil Rights Act ("PWDCRA"), by
failing to engage in good faith in the interactive process
regarding his request to have his service dog accompany him
to work as an accommodation for his Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder ("PTSD"), and for failing and refusing to
accommodate his PTSD, resulting in Plaintiffs constructive
the Court is Defendant's motion for summary judgment.
(ECF No. 75.) Plaintiff responded (ECF No. 88), and Ford
replied (ECF No. 92). The Court held a hearing on November
28, 2016. Following the hearing on the motion for summary
judgment the parties engaged in facilitation, which was
unsuccessful in resolving the case. For the reasons that
follow, the Court now GRANTS Ford's motion for summary
Bradley Arndt served in the United States Army for 24 years,
with numerous deployments in combat zones. It is undisputed
that, as a result of his military experiences, he suffers
from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ("PTSD") and
mild traumatic brain injury ("mTBI"). (ECF No.
75-2, Def.'s Mot. Ex. A, Oct. 28, 2015 Deposition of
Bradley Arndt 22:20-24; ECF No. 75-5, Def.'s Mot. Ex. D,
February 16, 2016 Deposition of Dr. Carol Lindsay-Westphal
prior to joining Ford as a process coach in August, 2012,
Plaintiff was working as a production supervisor at Faurecia,
an auto supply company. (Arndt Dep. 263:12-19.) In the Spring
of 2012, Plaintiff commenced a disability leave from Faurecia
and ultimately resigned voluntarily from his job at Faurecia.
(Arndt Dep. 240:13-241:8, 263:20-264:24.)
started at Ford in August, 2012, and was hired as a process
coach (a manufacturing supervisor) at Ford's Van Dyke
Transmission Plant. Arndt worked the afternoon to 2:3 0 a.m.
shift in the "clean room" reporting to Vito Evola.
(Arndt Dep. 241:13-242:14.) The "clean room" is a
climate controlled area of the plant where hourly workers
assemble the brains of the transmissions; the parts are
susceptible to quality issues and workers wear lab coats.
(ECF No. 75-7, Def. 's Mot. Ex. F, October 30, 2015
Deposition of Vito Evola 8:5-15.)
February, 2013, Arndt approached Evola and explained that he
was having issues at work due to symptoms from his PTSD and
mentioned the idea of bringing his service dog, Cadence, to
work with him. (Evola Dep. 37:12-38:14.) Evola's first
reaction was positive - he thought the dog could be
"like a mascot." Evola later reconsidered and
thought there might be safety or quality concerns. (Evola
Dep. 38:18-39:16.) On Saturday, February 22, 2013, Plaintiff
sent an email to Human Resource Salaried Personnel
Representative Stephanie Roseman explaining that he had
missed work the previous day due to his PTSD and mTBI and
asking about the possibility of bringing his service dog,
Cadence, to work with him. (ECF No. 88-8, PL's Resp. Ex.
7, February 22, 2014 Email from Arndt to Roseman.) In the
email, Plaintiff explained what service animals are trained
to do, including calming people with PTSD when they have an
anxiety attack, and represented that his service dog is
"highly trained" and carried a "certification
with the ADA" and had "all of his shots."
(Id.) The email explained that he was hesitant
in making the request because he feared being discriminated
against because of his request, which appeared to have no
precedent that he could discover at Ford. (Id.) Ms.
Roseman replied to the email first thing Monday morning,
February 25, 2013, thanking Plaintiff for trusting her with
the information and explaining that she would "do some
research on Ford's policies (including issues with
service animals in the plant)" and would let him know as
soon as possible. (Id.) Plaintiff responded that
evening, thanking her for looking into the issue and asking
if she got "any resistance" to please just stop
pursuing the matter because he did not want his request to
tarnish his name. (Id.)
Roseman provided Plaintiff with a Disability Reasonable
Accommodation Request form, which Plaintiff completed and
submitted on February 26, 2013. (ECF No, 88-9, PL's Resp.
Ex. 8.) Along with his Reasonable Accommodation Request form,
Plaintiff submitted a letter addressed "to whom it may
concern, " largely reiterating what he had explained to
Ms. Roseman in his February 22, 2013 email and explaining the
following list of functions that his service dog could
provide to Plaintiff in the workplace:
He is trained to sense when an anxiety or panic attack is
going to happen, then he is able to guide me and direct me to
a quiet calmer place, he is trained to keep people at arms
length from my location, he also watches behind me to keep
people from startling me as to not set off a trigger from me,
provide Tactile Stimulation during intense moments of stress
and panic, and "Watch my back, " he also provides a
great deal of comfort and security when he is near, thus
giving me the utmost confidence to perform my job.
(ECF No. 88-9, PL's Resp. Ex. 8 at 2, PgID 3187.)
Plaintiff noted on the request form that his request was
"time sensitive" because any delay could result in
his absence from the work place. (Id.)
March 13 (or 14), 2013, Plaintiff met with the Van Dyke plant
doctor, Dr. Arthelia Brewer, regarding his accommodation
request. (ECF No. 75-6, Def. 's Mot. Ex. E, November 4,
2015 Deposition of Arthelia J. Brewer, M.D. 30:19-31:4.)
Plaintiff testified that at the March 13, 2013 meeting, Dr.
Brewer commented on his extensive resume and suggested that
there was surely some position that would be available for
Plaintiff, perhaps in Dearborn or perhaps "here" at
the Van Dyke plant, and it would all be "open to
discussion." (Amdt Dep. 191:24.-192-19.) Dr. Brewer
completed a Visit Summary Report summarizing the purpose of
the visit, i.e. to discuss Plaintiffs ADA request to bring
his service dog to the workplace due to PTSD. (ECF No. 88-10,
PL's Resp. Ex. 9, 3/14/13 Visit Summary Report.) Dr.
Brewer summarizes Plaintiffs history of PTSD and notes as
follows: "(1) Release of information form given employee
for completion to allow verbal and written communication with
the social worker, psychologist and psychiatrist at the VA.
(2) Will work with HR to see if an accommodation can be made.
However, there are H&S concerns with allowing a dog in
the manufacturing area." (Id. at 2.)
after meeting with Dr. Brewer, on March 15, 2013, Plaintiff
formally withdrew his accommodation request. (Arndt Dep.
191:5-l 1; ECF No. 88-12, PL's Resp. Ex. 11, March 15,
2013 email from Plaintiff to Roseman, PgID 3191-92.)
Plaintiff testified that he withdrew his request because he
received some negative feedback from his supervisor Vito
Evola and because he did not want to transfer to a Dearborn
location. (Arndt Dep. 199:5-21.) He was "scared of going
to a new environment, a new place, a new job." (Arndt
Dep. 199:10-11.) Plaintiff testified that after he met with
Dr. Brewer he went back to Ms. Roseman and was upset that Dr.
Brewer brought up possibly transferring to Dearborn. (Arndt
Dep. 183:21-184:4.) He told Ms. Roseman that he had some
concerns with "the high population of Arabs in Dearborn,
" that "seeing people walking down the street in a
burka" could cause flashbacks - it presented a
"much greater case" for his PTSD than the plant
environment. (Arndt Dep. 184:5-17.) Plaintiff had
"concern that it would cause [him] undue stress and
flashbacks working around a lot of Arabs, " and he was
"angry" when he talked to Ms. Roseman about the
possibility of a move to Dearborn both because he liked his
job at the Van Dyke plant and did not want to relocate and
because he feared "seeing people walking around in
burkas" would set off flashbacks. (Arndt Dep.
185:4-186:12.) Plaintiff testified that he was never formally
offered a transfer to Dearborn as an accommodation, but that
he and Ms. Roseman discussed it and Plaintiff told her that
he was hired to work as a production supervisor, not in the
"Glass House" (Ford World Headquarters). (Arndt
Dep. 201:1-25.) Ms. Roseman testified that Plaintiff told her
he was withdrawing the request because he did not want to be
a bother and she told him it was no bother - that they had to
engage in the interactive process and that he needed to let
the process work and be patient. (ECFNo. 75-4, Def.'sMot.
Ex. C, January 19, 2016 Deposition of Stephanie Lovinger
Roseman 40:24-41:10.) Ms. Roseman told him if he insisted on
withdrawing his request he should put that in writing, and
formally retract his request, which Plaintiff did on March
15, 2013. (Roseman Dep. 43:9-12; ECF No. 88-12, Pl.'s
Resp. Ex. 11.)
Plaintiff's withdrawal of his February 26, 2013
accommodation request, Ms. Roseman sent an email to Maria
Conliffe, the Manager of Equal Employment Planning at Ford,
to inform her of what had transpired with Plaintiffs
withdrawn request. (ECF No. 88-11, PL's Resp. Ex. 10,
March 27, 2013 Email from Roseman to Conliffe.) Ms. Roseman
explained in her follow-up email to Ms. Conliffe that because
there were concerns with having a service animal (even a
trained one) in the plant environment, they asked Dr. Brewer
to review the request and Plaintiff s medical file and to
meet with Plaintiff to advise on "other feasible and
reasonable accommodations." (PL's Resp. Ex. 10,
3/27/13 Email.) Ms. Roseman explained to Ms. Conliffe that
Dr. Brewer met with Plaintiff, requested him to provide
medical release forms so that Dr. Brewer could speak with his
personal physician to discuss the request, and Plaintiff left
the meeting with Dr. Brewer and immediately withdrew the
request. (Id.) The email explains that Plaintiff
indicated to Ms. Roseman that there was information in his
personal medical file that no one at Ford needed to know
about and that was not relevant to his work and "might
scare us, " (Id.) Ms. Roseman was seeking Ms.
Conliffe's advice on how to proceed. (Id.) Ms,
Roseman was surprised that Plaintiff so abruptly withdrew his
request and she sent his retraction request to a number of
individuals asking "what do we do with this?" (ECF
No. 88-12, PL's Resp. Ex. 11, March 15, 2013 Email from
Roseman to Mark Willis, Joan Treves, Arthelia Brewer, Linda
Beggs and Vito Evola.) There is no evidence in the record
that any further action was taken with regard to Plaintiffs
February 26, 2013 accommodation request by either Plaintiff
early April, 2013, Plaintiff took a medical leave of absence
because of factors related to his PTSD. (ECF No. 89-16,
PL's Resp. Ex. I, February 16, 2016 Deposition of Carol
Lindsay-Westphal, PhD. 39:5-22.) Plaintiff reported to his
treating psychiatrist, Dr. Lindsay-Westphal, that he feared
at that time that he would "lose his temper and
unexpectedly hurt someone." (Lindsay-Westphal Dep,
39:23-25.) Dr. Lindsay-Westphal issued Plaintiff a return to
work letter on or about May, 202013, when his symptoms had
lessened and he was "back at his baseline
symptomology." (Lindsay-Westphal Dep. 50:19-51:14;
PL's Resp. Ex. 14, May 20, 2013 Letter from Dr.
Lindsay-Westphal "to whom it may concern, "
explaining that Plaintiffs exacerbation of his PTSD symptoms
had subsided and he was fit to return to work.) Plaintiff
returned to work and continued to work in the "clean
October, 2013, Plaintiff was reassigned by Ford to Machining
and began reporting to Steve Sowers. (Arndt Dep. 242:15-23.)
Plaintiffs job duties in Machining involved periodically
being on the plant floor, checking for safety issues and
monitoring productivity and otherwise being at a desk
monitoring data regarding production on a computer. (ECF No.
89-19, PL's Resp. Ex. L, October 30, 2015 Deposition of
Steven Sowers 9:2-11:7.) When on the plant floor, Plaintiff
experienced loud noises from machines and startling
interactions with people that were "problematic"
for him. (Arndt Dep. 246:6-247:20.) He also was bothered when
in his office space, which "closed him in" and
exacerbated his PTSD. (Arndt Dep. 247:21-249:8.)
October 23, 2013, just weeks after beginning to work in
Machining under Mr. Sowers, Plaintiff commenced another
medical disability leave. (ECF No. 89-9, PL's Resp. Ex.
B, November 4, 2015 Deposition of Arthelia Brewer, M.D.
66:18-20.) This leave extended to February 20, 2014, when
Plaintiff was authorized by Dr. Lindsay-Westphal to return to
work with the "presence of a service dog, Cadence."
in early 2014, prior to his return to work, Plaintiff sent
Cadence for training with Joseph Tullier, a veteran with
PTSD, who trained dogs for the military. In an undated letter
addressed "to whom it may concern, " Mr. Tullier
confirms that his company, Acadian Canine Training, LLC,
agreed to train Cadence in three general areas: (1)
"general service dog behavior" including
"basic obedience, environmental training, socialization
training;" (2) "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
service dog behavior, " such as cue owner's anxiety
and redirecting focus, wake owner during nightmares, cue
owner when unsuspecting individual walks towards him;"
and (3) "Traumatic Brain Injury Service Dog"
behavior including "carrying a pack with owner's
personal effects, stability assistance, " and location
and reminder services." (PL's Resp at 8, Ex. 20,
Dec. 2, 2013 letter from Joe Tullier of Acadiana Canine
Training, LLC "To Whom It May Concern" at the
Department of Veteran's Affairs regarding upcoming
training of Cadence.) Plaintiff relies Tullier's
testimony to support the claim that Cadence was well trained
specifically to handle the stressors that might arise in the
Ford Van Dyke factory environment. (ECF No. 88, PL's
Resp. 17-18, PgID 3108-09; ECF No. 89-21, PL's Resp. Ex.
N, January 28, 2016 Deposition of Joseph Tullier.)
Tullier's deposition testimony describes the training
that Cadence received in late December and early January of
2014, some of it specific to handling loud noises and several
of the stressors that Plaintiff identifies as triggers for
his PTSD. Tullier testified that Cadence was undistracted by
loud noises, different floor surfaces, bubble wrap underfoot,
etc. and passed her "environmental test" with no
problems. (Tullier Dep. 62:8-68:9.) Tullier testified that as
"far as environmental, [he] did everything possible that
[he] needed to do to ensure Brad that he was going to work in
any environment." (Tullier Dep. 68:7-10.) Tullier
expressly acknowledged, however, that "he didn't
have a factory" to test Cadence in but did everything
possible to "make loud noises, fast movement, people
walking around, etc." (Id. at 68:23-69:2.)
Tullier could not recall exactly what Plaintiff had told him
about the plant environment at Ford but he was generally
aware that Cadence would be going into a plant environment,
although he did not know the specifics of the Van Dyke plant,
so he did the "max possible" noises, explosions and
distractions to ensure Cadence would be good in any
environment. (Id. at 70:15-74:13.) Tullier testified
that Cadence would survive any environment but that the real
concern would be the effect of the environment on his
handler, the Plaintiff. (Id. at 74:13 -75:1.)
According to Tullier, Cadence was not aggressive and did not
have a mean bone in his body. (Id. at 76:7-9.)
Tullier could not recall exactly what Plaintiff explained to
him about the environment on the plant floor but Tullier
expected that the dog would be with Plaintiff at all times on
the plant floor and there was no reason why he should not be
allowed to accompany him there. (Id. at
87:15-88:25.) In preparation for what Plaintiff might
encounter at work, Tullier trained Cadence to be vocal - make
a high pitched whine - if people were getting too close to
Brad. (Id. at 114:2-21.) He is not a
"vice" dog - not going to react in a threatening
way - just going to cue Brad that someone is near.
(Id. at 117:9-118:1.) If Brad has an anxiety or
panic attack, Cadence will nudge Brad so Brad knows he is not
alone - it's the two of them - and it snaps Brad out of
it and winds him down. (Id. at 118:2-19, ) Tullier
knew that Plaintiff had been diagnosed with PTSD but did not
recall the particulars of Plaintiff s condition.
(Id. at 120:17-121:12.) He put booties and goggles
on Cadence and he tolerated them well. (Id. at
122:18-124:10.) Tullier had never worked or even been in a
manufacturing facility when operations were up and running,
apart from a middle school field trip. (Id. at
109:19-110:20.) Tullier issued his own
"registration" certificate for Cadence sometime in
early 2014, but there is no official national registry or
certification for a dog once it is trained. (Id. at
95:11-97:5.) Tullier testified that no one from Ford ever
contacted him about Cadence's training in 2013 or 2014.
(Id. at 129:3-25.) While Ford did possess a
single-page certificate regarding Cadence's training,
there is no evidence that Plaintiff attempted to make Ford
aware of all of these details of Cadence's training with
Tullier during the interactive process.
February 21, 2014, Plaintiff reported to work at the Van Dyke
medical department with a medical release from Dr.
Lindsay-Westphal authorizing a "return to work with the
restriction of presence of a service dog, Cadence." The
Return to Work was effective February 20, 2014 and had
"no end point." (ECF No. 88-24, PL's Resp. Ex.
23, Return to Work Certification for Ford Motor Company
SALARIED Employees.) Plaintiff submitted his formal
Disability Reasonable Accommodation Request on February 21,
2014. (ECF No. 88-25, PL's Resp. Ex. 24, "Disability
Reasonable Accommodation Request" form.) The specific
accommodation he was requesting was "service dog at
work." (Id.) The request was marked "time
sensitive" so that Plaintiff could "return to work
 possible to be productive for the company."
(Id.) In response to the question on the form that
asked "what, if any, job function are you having
difficulty performing, " Plaintiff responded:
"hyper-sensitivity/emotional control/fear loud
noise/closed in spaces/people surprising you/all these issues
effect [sic] my ability to function daily/my dog takes this
away." (Id.) In response to the question on the
form "what limitation is interfering with your ability
to perform your job or access an employment benefit, "
Plaintiff responded: "facing life's small overlooked
issues traveling in car anxiety of being around people and
startling." (Id.) In response to the question
on the form that asked, "If you are requesting a
specific accommodation, how will that accommodation assist
you, " Plaintiff responded: "Bring my PTSD service
dog to work so I can be as productive as possible."
(Id.) Plaintiff provided the following additional
information:" 1) Traveling to work - issues with traffic
to and from with cars on side of the road . . . create
hostile memories, service dog enables this travel; 2) my
abilities are not impaired to work, it is the environment in
which I'm present that causes severe
anxiety/fear/transferred memories "flashbacks" to
war time environment. Service dog is trained to sense these
issues and acts to prevent these issues occurring."
(Id. at 2.)
Humes had replaced Stephanie Roseman as Ford's salaried
personnel representative in February, 2014, and Ms. Humes
became the point person on Plaintiffs accommodation request.
(ECF No. 89-15, PL's Resp. Ex. H, October 29, 2015
Deposition of Karen Humes 31:23-32:11.) Ms. Humes received a
phone call from Kathy Shartreau from Unicare, Ford's
third party administrator for medical benefits, that
Plaintiff was returning to work, moving off of medical leave
status and back to active status, (Humes Dep. 27:11-30:3.)
The decision to move Plaintiff back to active status was made
by Ms. Humes boss, Joan Treves, who was the head of Human
Resources for the Van Dyke plant. (Humes Dep. 30:4-6; ECF No.
89-20, PL's Resp. Ex. M, November 5, 2015 Deposition of
Joan Treves 6:15-25; 22:3-18.) Because the request to bring a
service animal to the plant was a novel issue, and was going
to take time for the company to determine, Plaintiff was
placed on "no work available" or "unfit to
work" status while his request was under consideration.
This classification was necessarily so that Plaintiff could
continue to receive his full salary and benefits while the
company researched and worked through his request to bring
the dog to the plant. Ms. Treves explained to Plaintiff that
they were in "kind of a limbo state" and were
classifying him that way to make sure that his compensation
would be continued. (Treves Dep. 78:5-80:14.)
Treves was the person directing Ms. Humes through the ADA
process. Ms. Treves would be assisting Ms. Humes with
understanding the process, knowing what steps needed to be
taken to evaluate the request, and checking to see the
progress of the exchange. (Treves Dep. 22:3-18.) Ms, Humes
would be the individual interfacing with the Plaintiff to
understand what the request was and to follow the processes
associated with data collection. (Treves Dep. 23:17-23.) Ms.
Treves was responsible for interacting with members of
management, analyzing data that was collected and ultimately
working through to a recommendation. (Treves Dep. 22:13-15.)
Ms. Treves had multiple meetings, conversations and email
exchanges with Ms. Humes regarding Plaintiff s request. Ms.
Treves was responsible for assisting Ms. Humes in making sure
that Ms. Humes understood what the processes were. Ms. Humes
was a relatively recent hire and was still familiarizing
herself with the Ford processes, but Ms. Treves felt that Ms.
Humes was very capable of data gathering on Plaintiffs
request as she had come from another automotive manufacturing
company where she had been an HR professional. (Treves Dep.
fact, this was Ms. Humes's first instance dealing with a
request for accommodation under the ADA and Ford put together
a team of people, (Joan Treves (HR), Les Harris (personnel
relations), Maria Conliffe (HR management), Tony Dalimonte
(Ford legal), Dr. Heckman (company physician)), to assist her
in carrying out the interactive process. (Humes Dep.
32:12-35:2; Treves Dep. 26:19-29:15.) Ms. Humes relied on Les
Harris, Ford's head of personnel relations, who directed
her to Ford's policies dealing with the ADA, and she
relied on Ms. Treves, who instructed Ms. Humes to use the
team as a foundation, to take information she received back
to the team as she gathered data from the Plaintiff. (Humes
Dep. 46:14-49:8; ECF No. 89-13, PL's Ex. F, January 26,
2016 Deposition of Leslie Harris 12:9-18.)
Humes and Plaintiffs supervisor Steve Sowers met with
Plaintiff on March 4, 2014, to gather information about
Plaintiffs specific limitations and how those limitations
interfered with his work tasks. (Humes Dep. 79:2-80:3.) Ms.
Humes asked Plaintiff what aspects of his job he was unable
to do and Plaintiff continually responded that he could
perform all aspects of his job but that there were
environmental factors that become problematic and he just
needed to have his dog with him to alleviate those
environmental factors - but Plaintiff kept insisting that
there was no aspect of his job that he was unable to perform
if he had Cadence with him, Ms. Humes found this
contradictory because Plaintiff never could articulate what
aspects of his job he was specifically unable to perform.
(Humes Dep. 82:17-85:11, 86:17-22.) Plaintiff testified that
Mr. Sowers commented at this meeting that Cadence looked like
"a lazy dog." (Arndt Dep. 161:16-25.) Plaintiff
felt that Ms. Humes continually asking him the same question
over and over, "what he could not do, " was
condescending. (Arndt Dep. 158:14-160:17.)
the March 4, 2014 meeting, on March 5, 2014, Ms. Humes sent a
questionnaire to Dr. Lindsay-Westphal which was incorrectly
addressed and was returned to Ford as undeliverable. (ECF No.
88-29, PL's Resp. Ex. 28; Lindsay- Westphal Dep.
156:15-157:10.) Plaintiff states that rather than take
affirmative steps to follow up with Dr. Lindsay-Westphal when
the return questionnaire was not forthcoming, Ms. Humes
dispatched a certified letter to Plaintiff advising that his
doctor had not responded to Ford's questions and that
Ford had been unable to proceed with his request in the
meantime. (ECF No. 88-30, PL's Resp. Ex. 29, 3/25/14
Letter to Arndt from Humes.) In response, Plaintiff
personally delivered Ford's questionnaire to Dr.
Lindsay-Westphal, which she completed and Plaintiff delivered
to Ms. Humes on April 4, 2014. (ECF No. 89-1, PL's Resp.
Ex. 31, Primary Care Physician Accommodation Questions and
Answers; Humes Dep. 135:21- 136:18.) The following questions
were posed by the Ford questionnaire and the following
answers were given by Dr. Lindsay-Westphal:
Q: After having examined the employee and reviewed the
attached summary of the employee's job, is the employee
able to perform the essential functions of the job without
any accommodation? If not, what functions is the employee
unable to perform?
A: In my professional opinion, Mr. Arndt is very capable of
the skills required for a process coach. His biggest obstacle
is the ordinary events that come with maintaining a full time
job, such as transportation and unexpected negative
interactions with strangers and co-workers. For example, most
of us take our commute as a matter of routine, but for Mr.
Amdt who may well experience flashbacks of an IED when he
sees a broken car parked on the side of the road, these
otherwise ordinary incidents become significant obstacles to
work. The presence of his trained service dog enables him to
maintain his high level of functioning by sensing tension and
calming him before the tension becomes problematic.
Q: Please describe the nature of the impairment that prevents
the employee from performing the functions of the job
identified in your response to (1) above. Describe with
specificity the nature and severity of the impairment, and
the specific ways in which the impairment prevents the
employee from fulfilling the relevant j ob requirements.
A: As indicated in my response to question #1, and verified
by the excellent performance reviews he received while
working at Ford Motor Company, I am unaware of any functions
of the process coach that Mr. Arndt is unable to do. Were he
to return to work today, I believe he would again perform the
duties well. Over time, however, unless he has his service
dog to help him remain calm and well-focused on tasks at
hand, his longevity in the workplace is doubtful. In respect
to specificity, problems may arise if, for example, Mr. Arndt
has a flashback en route to work, is especially distracted
and emotionally distressed by intrusive thoughts, feelings
and memories around the anniversary of traumatic combat
events. In such cases, he may have a difficult time making it
to work. In respect to severity, without his service dog, his
symptoms are very severe, with the presence of his service
dog, these symptoms would probably go unnoticed to all but
Mr. Arndt or a mental health professional well trained in
Q: Please list any other maj or life activities, other than
working, that are substantially limited by the employee's
medical condition. .
A: Without his service dog, Mr. Arndt's hypervigilance to
danger impairs his ability to relax and venture into new
places. With his service dog he is actively working on going
into stores, movie theaters, and other public places that
previously generated excessive anxiety over potential
Q: Are there any accommodations that you believe would permit
this employee to perform the requirements of the job? . . .
A: Were Mr. Arndt allowed to have his service dog in his
vehicle on his commute to and from work, and under his desk
in his office during his shift, the dog would provide the
calming interventions that will enable him to complete his
Q: Please describe with specificity the nature of the medical
examination or other measures taken to diagnose the employee
with the impairments listed in (2) above.
A: Mr. Arndt has been diagnosed with Postraumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD) by myself, another licensed clinical
psychologist at the John D. Dingell VAMC
(Pl's Resp. Ex. 31, dated April 1, 2014.)
Lindsay-Westphal testified that although she supplied the
return to work for Plaintiff with the restriction of a
service dog, Plaintiffs was the first accommodation request
she had ever addressed and she did not do any independent
research into the service dog's ability to negate
Plaintiff s PTSD symptoms but relied solely on Plaintiffs
representations of what the dog could do for him. It was
Plaintiff who suggested the service dog as an accommodation,
not Dr. Lindsay-Westphal, as she had no independent
professional knowledge of how the service dog was trained or
what he was capable of doing to eliminate the symptoms of
Plaintiffs PTSD. (Lindsay-Westphal Dep. 68:5-69:17,
117:17-118:10.) At a session with Plaintiff on February 25,
2014, Plaintiff was accompanied by Cadence and he explained
that the dog had just returned from special training in
Louisiana and that Plaintiff was happy with the training the
dog received. Plaintiff did not describe for Dr.
Lindsay-Westphal what he expected the dog to do for him in
the context of his work at the plant. (Lindsay-Westphal Dep.
119:10-120:4.) At this session on February 25, 2014,
Plaintiff asked Dr. Lindsay-Westphal to sign a medical
release so that the Ford doctors could speak with her.
(Lindsay-Westphal Dep. 120:5-16.) She testified that she
based her opinion that Plaintiff could return to work and
perform his job duties on Plaintiffs representations about
what his dog could do for him - she has never been on a
manufacturing plant floor and thus had no opinion regarding
how the dog would assist Plaintiff in that environment. In
fact, based on the number of medical leaves Plaintiff had
taken from work, she doubted his "longevity" in the
workplace and did not know if the service dog could correct
his need for frequent absences. (Lindsay-Westphal Dep.
Humes returned to the team after she received Dr.
Lindsay-Westphal's responses on or about April 3, 2014,
and, after consulting with other team members who had been
doing their own research into other aspects of the issue, the
team collaboratively came up with a list of specific
questions to ask Plaintiff at a second meeting to be
scheduled to try to address the missing information still
necessary in their view to address Plaintiffs request. (Humes
Dep. 200:16-202:6, 216:10-217:25; 266:8-12.) As can be seen
by the privilege log produced by Ford, there were several,
indeed multiple weekly, meetings/emails/conferences among the
team members between April 3, 2014 and the next scheduled
meeting specifically addressing Plaintiffs request. (ECF No.
73, Second Amended Privilege Log.)
Humes contacted Plaintiff on May 8, 2014, to schedule a
second meeting. (Humes Dep. 222:19-224:9.) Ms. Humes gave
Plaintiff three dates from which to choose, ultimately
agreeing on May 13, 2014, and explained to him that he was
expected to come to the plant to attend the meeting. (Humes
Dep. 227:8-228:13.) Ms. Humes did not recall whether she told
Plaintiff, who was on full paid leave at the time, that a
failure to appear on one of those dates could result in
disciplinary action, but she did recall that she was having
trouble getting him to come to the plant. (Humes Dep.
218:16-10.) Plaintiff states that he was "ordered"
to come to the plant and was threatened with discipline if he
did not attend the meeting. (Arndt Dep. 46:19-47:6,
138:23-139:12.) Plaintiff was upset by the tone of Ms. Humes
email confirming that he would attend the meeting on May 13,
2014, and responded to her email asking about the purpose of
the meeting and explaining that it was giving him great
anxiety to be kept in the dark about what was going on and
asking why he was being summoned and threatened. Ms. Humes
never responded to Plaintiffs email, in which he expressed
confusion and concern over how long the process was taking
and how much trouble he was obviously causing the company.
(Arndt Dep. 139:23-143:2; ECF No. 89-2, PL's Resp. Ex.
32, May 10, 2014 Email from Plaintiff to Humes.)
meeting took place on May 13, 2014, with Ms. Humes and Mr.
Sowers, to go over the questions generated by the team and to
gather additional information. (ECF No. 89-4, PL's Resp.
Ex. 34, May 13, 2014 Interoffice Memorandum Re: Brad
Amdt/List of Questions ("the List"); Humes Dep.
236:12-238:2; 266:8-16.) As of May 13, 2014, there had been
no resolution either way regarding Plaintiffs request to
bring the dog to work and the process was still ongoing.
(Humes Dep. 91:10-92:4.) Plaintiff appeared at the meeting on
May 13, 2014, with his service dog Cadence, and Plaintiff
felt that Mr. Sowers was disengaged and judgmental of
Plaintiff s request in a negative way because Mr. Sowers
would not look Plaintiff in the eye, (Arndt Dep.
220:1-221:8.) Ms. Humes began the May 13, 2014 meeting with
the first question on the List, which was: "What job
functions, if any, do you believe you are not currently able
to perform without accommodation?" (Humes Dep. 236:12-23
8:2; Arndt Dep. 221:6-25.) Plaintiff was very offended by
this question which he felt he had answered clearly in their
first meeting in March:
Q: All right, so what happened next.
Aradt: Karen said she had more questions to ask. And then she
asked the first question, and I said, "I've already
answered these questions over and over and over again. I
don't feel that you're treating me properly, I
don't - you're just asking the same thing of what
can't I do, what can't I do, what can't I
do." So I reached in my wallet, pulled out my Ford ID,
put it on the table, and I said, "This is probably for
the best, " and I gave them my Ford ID.
Q: All right. So what - did she get out a full question or
did you recognize the question kind of midway through and
tell her that that -that's the same thing?
Arndt: No. She said, "What is it can't you do?"
Q: All right. And that's when you said I've heard
this before ...