United States District Court, D. Kansas
DEANNA M. LEE, Plaintiff,
TRANSAM TRUCKING, INC., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
MURGUIA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Deanna M. Lee claims that defendant TransAm Trucking, Inc.
violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended by
the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (“ADA”), which
prohibits employers from discriminating against employees
based on disability, including pregnancy, and Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy
Discrimination Act, which prohibits employers from
discriminating based on gender, including pregnancy. 42
U.S.C. §§ 2000e-2(a)(1), 2000e(k). This matter
comes before the court upon defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. 50). For the reasons explained below,
defendant's motion is granted.
following facts are either stipulated in the pretrial
order-now the operative pleading-are uncontroverted in the
parties' briefing, or where controverted, are viewed in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Employment with Defendant
is a transportation company that primarily uses tractor
trailers to transport refrigerated product throughout the
United States. Plaintiff worked for defendant's wholly
owned subsidiary TAFS-formerly TransAm Financial Services,
Inc.- starting around June 22, 2015 as a Sales Account
Manager. TAFS is a factoring company, meaning it targets
smaller transportation companies, and buys their accounts
receivable. Plaintiff's job duties were “among
other things, to make cold calls, bring in new business, and
collect supporting documents to set up the new
clients.” (Doc. 55, at 2.) Plaintiff was expected to do
2.5 hours outbound call time known as “talk time”
or 70-75 outbound dials daily and she was required to meet a
sales quota of closing five new clients each month.
Defendant's telephone system automatically recorded and
generated daily reports of each sales account manager's
daily usage, including: each manager's name; extension;
time logged into the system; outbound calls made; and
outbound call time.
McWilliams supervised plaintiff between June 2015 and
December 2015. Ryan Haase supervised her from January 2016
through May 2016, when her employment was terminated. Nick
Bird, Emily Eagan, Jessica Nelson, Josh Goode, and Jaime
Heredia were also employed by defendant as management while
plaintiff worked there.
became pregnant in November 2015 and informed defendant that
same month. During her pregnancy, plaintiff was not entitled
to Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) leave
because she had not been employed by defendant for one year.
Regardless, defendant approved discretionary intermittent
leave for plaintiff to attend pregnancy-related doctor
appointments. Despite plaintiff's failure to provide
defendant with a Certification of Health Care Provider form
until February 2016- the form was requested on November 24,
2015- defendant did not deny plaintiff permission to attend
any pregnancy-related appointments, and she did attend
several between November 2015 and May 2016.
could perform all essential job functions of her job and in
February 2016 provided a physician's note to defendant
that stated she was able to work without restriction.
Plaintiff testified that she had a high-risk pregnancy,
gestational diabetes, and preterm labor, and that these were
the only disabilities she suffered while working for
defendant. Plaintiff managed her gestational diabetes by
monitoring her blood sugar levels and watching her diet.
Plaintiff testified that her pregnancy was high-risk because
she had preterm contractions and could have had preterm
labor. Plaintiff took medication to manage her preterm
contractions. Plaintiff's baby was born May 18, 2016. Any
and all preterm contractions she had before May 17, 2016 were
nonproductive or non-labor contractions.
testified that in May 2016, Mr. Haase asked her, in front of
co-workers, whether she was going to need to put puppy pads
around her chair in case her water broke. Plaintiff testified
that on May 16, 2016, Mr. Haase asked her how she was feeling
and whether she thought her doctor was going to put her on
bed rest. Plaintiff responded that she did not know. He had
previously asked her how she managed her gestational
16-17, 2016-The Termination of Plaintiff's
16, 2016, defendant's director of sales, Jaime Heredia,
reported to human resources that plaintiff's talk time
was “considerably low, ” that she only had one
closed deal for the month, and that she would not meet the
monthly expectations at her current pace. (Id. at
8.) Defendant issued a Disciplinary Report dated May 17,
2016, the day after Mr. Heredia's email detailing
plaintiff's performance. It stated, “Disciplinary
action taken: Written Warning.” (Id. at 9.)
around 2:00 p.m. on May 17, 2016, Ryan Haase and Nick Bird
met with plaintiff in a private room to discuss the written
warning. Plaintiff refused to sign the report because she
believed it contained false information, including the amount
of talk-time she had accrued. Plaintiff claims that she
repeatedly received good feedback from management about her
performance at work. Plaintiff claims that her preterm labor
and contractions started because of the meeting and that she
told Mr. Haase and Mr. Bird about her condition. She claims
they responded that the meeting would only take a minute.
Plaintiff left the meeting for a pre-scheduled and approved
pregnancy-related doctor's appointment, at which her
doctor put her on bed rest.
the meeting, both Mr. Haase and Mr. Bird reported that
plaintiff said the report was “bullshit” multiple
times during the meeting. Plaintiff claims that the memoranda
allegedly submitted by Mr. Haase and Mr. Bird were drafted by
Emily Eagan, defendant's human resources VP.
to defendant's written policies, signed by plaintiff,
insubordination or disrespectful conduct are grounds for
immediate termination of an employee's employment.
Defendant claims that after the 2:00 p.m. meeting, before
plaintiff's doctor placed her on bed rest, human
resources had decided to terminate plaintiff's employment
based on her insubordinate and disrespectful behavior. Ms.
Eagan e-mailed Mr. Haase, Mr. Bird, Mr. Heredia, Ms.
Vilarreal, and Mr. Goode on May 17, 2016 at 3:17 p.m. asking
for Mr. Haase and Mr. Bird's “very detailed,
accurate, description of what happened in the meeting today
with Deanna.” (Doc. 51-15.) The e-mail stated that
“We will be discharging her IF she returns to work
tomorrow due to her insubordination. It's pretty apparent
that she intended to end her employment. I will plan on being
down at TAFS tomorrow before 8am so we can terminate her
claims this decision was made after plaintiff texted Mr.
Haase on May 18, 2016, to inform him that she had been placed
on bed rest. Mr. Haase responded to plaintiff's text, as
dictated by Ms. Eagan, “FYI - After our meeting
yesterday, we considered your employment to be terminated.
You will be receiving a letter from HR.” (Doc. 58-8.)
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is appropriate if the moving party demonstrates that
there is “no genuine issue as to any material
fact” and that it is “entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In applying this
standard, the court views the evidence and all reasonable
inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. Adler v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 144
F.3d 664, 670 (10th Cir. 1998) (citing Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587
party moving for summary judgment has the burden to show
“the lack of a genuine issue of material fact.”
Ascend Media Prof'l Servs., LLC v. Eaton Hall
Corp., 531 F.Supp.2d 1288, 1295 (D. Kan. 2008) (citing
Spaulding v. United Transp. Union, 279 F.3d 901, 904
(10th Cir. 2002) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986))). Once the moving party meets this
initial burden, the burden then shifts to the nonmovant to
“set forth specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.” Id. (citing
Spaulding, 279 F.3d at 904 (citing Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
nonmovant may not rest on his pleadings or “rely on
ignorance of the facts, on speculation, or on suspicion and
may not escape summary judgment in the mere hope that
something will turn up at trial.” Id. (citing
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 259
(1986)); Conaway v. Smith, 853 F.2d 789, 794 (10th
Cir. 1988). Instead, the nonmovant is required to set forth
specific facts, by referencing affidavits, deposition
transcripts, or exhibits, from which a rational trier of fact
could find for him. Fed R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1); see also
Ascend Media, 531 F.Supp.2d at 1295 (citing Adams v.
Am. Guar. & Liab. Ins. Co., 233 F.3d 1242, 1246
(10th Cir. 2000)). Summary judgment is not a
“disfavored procedural shortcut”-it is an
“integral part of the Federal Rules as a whole, which
are designed to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive
determination of every action.” Celotex Corp.,
477 U.S. at 327 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 1).
makes six claims in the pretrial order: (1) Defendant
violated the ADA by terminating her employment based on her
pregnancy and related disabilities; (2) by harassing her
based on her pregnancy and related disabilities; (3) by
retaliating against her for requesting leave for her
pregnancy or related conditions by terminating her employment
for requesting such leave; (4) and by falsifying her work
performance records; (5) that defendant violated Title VII by