United States District Court, D. Colorado
RAYMOND P. MOORE, District Judge.
THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Magistrate Judge's Recommendation on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment ("Recommendation") (ECF No. 121), Plaintiff's Objections to the Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge (ECF No. 126), and Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Supplement Her Objections to the Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge (ECF No. 127). Both the Recommendation and the objections pertain to Defendant Lockheed Martin Corporation's ("LMC") Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 90) on each of pro se Plaintiff Valerie Schlecht's ("Schlecht") various claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-213.
For the reasons stated below, the Court AFFIRMS and ADOPTS the Recommendation, OVERRULES Plaintiff's objections, and GRANTS Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.
I. LEGAL STANDARDS
When a magistrate judge issues a recommendation on a dispositive matter, Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3) requires that the district court judge "determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's [recommendation] that has been properly objected to." In conducting its review, "[t]he district court judge may accept, reject, or modify the recommendation; receive further evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions." Id.
Summary judgment is appropriate only if there is no genuine dispute of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Henderson v. Inter-Chem Coal Co., Inc., 41 F.3d 567, 569-70 (10th Cir. 1994). Whether there is a genuine dispute as to a material fact depends upon whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986); Stone v. Autoliv ASP, Inc., 210 F.3d 1132, 1136 (10th Cir. 2000); Carey v. United States Postal Serv., 812 F.2d 621, 623 (10th Cir. 1987). Once the moving party meets its initial burden of demonstrating an absence of a genuine dispute of material fact, the burden then shifts to the nonmoving party to demonstrate the existence of a genuine dispute of material fact to be resolved at trial. See 1-800-Contacts, Inc. v. Lens.com, Inc., 722 F.3d 1229, 1242 (10th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted). The facts must be considered in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Cillo v. City of Greenwood Vill., 739 F.3d 451, 461 (10th Cir. 2013) (citations omitted).
A pro se litigant's pleadings are to be construed liberally and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). The Court, however, cannot serve as a pro se litigant's advocate and make arguments for her. Walters v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 703 F.3d 1167, 1173 (10th Cir. 2013); Yang v. Archuleta, 525 F.3d 925, 927 n.1 (10th Cir. 2008).
II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
On November 23, 2011, Plaintiff filed a four-count complaint against Defendant alleging ADA violations. (ECF No. 1, Compl.) On April 8, 2013, Defendant moved for summary judgment on each of Plaintiff's claims. (ECF No. 90.) On December 9, 2013, Magistrate Judge Boland issued the Recommendation in favor of summary judgment. (ECF No. 121.) The Recommendation advised the parties that specific written objections were due within fourteen days after being served with a copy of the Recommendation. (ECF No. 121 at 15 n.4.)
On December 20, 2013, Plaintiff filed a motion for extension of time to file objections to the Recommendation. (ECF No. 122.) The Court granted Plaintiff's motion. (ECF No. 123.) On January 1, 2014, Plaintiff filed a second motion for extension of time to file objections to the Recommendation. (ECF No. 124.) On January 2, 2014, with her second motion for an extension of time to file objections to the Recommendation pending, Plaintiff filed objections to the Recommendation. (ECF No. 126.) On January 13, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion to supplement her objections to the Recommendation which contained additional objections to certain of the Magistrate Judge's factual findings. (ECF No. 127.) On March 25, 2014, the Court granted Plaintiff's second motion for extension of time to file objections and granted Plaintiff's motion to supplement her objections. (ECF Nos. 133 & 134.)
On January 16, 2014, Defendant filed a response to Plaintiff's original objections to the Recommendation. (ECF No. 128.) On April 7, 2014, Defendant filed a response to Plaintiff's supplemental objections. (ECF No. 135.)
III. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Plaintiff purports to object to certain factual findings by the Magistrate Judge. (ECF No. 127 at 3-7.) However, most of these objections suffer from the same host of infirmities as affected her responses to the summary judgment motion. Accordingly, to the extent Plaintiff does not object properly to facts, the Court adopts and incorporates the Undisputed Material Facts of the Recommendation (ECF No. 121 at 3-8) as if set forth herein. To the extent any additional facts are necessary for the Court's resolution of the summary judgment motion, such facts are set forth in the analysis section below.
The Court has reviewed the Recommendation, objections to the Recommendation and responses, as well as the relevant motions and responses. The Court concludes that Magistrate Judge Boland thoroughly analyzed the issues and reached correct conclusions. Magistrate Judge Boland recommended that summary judgment be granted for Defendant on Plaintiff's ADA claims alleging (1) a failure to accommodate (ECF No. 1 at 3-5); (2) a hostile work environment (ECF No. 1 at 6-7); (3) retaliation (ECF No. 1 at 8-9); and (4) discriminatory termination (ECF No. 1 at 10-11.) Plaintiff objects to each of these recommendations. (ECF No. 126.)
A. Failure to Accommodate
The Magistrate Judge recommended summary judgment in Defendant's favor on Plaintiff's failure to accommodate claim because she (1) failed to present any evidence that she requested an accommodation that LMC engage only in written communication with her; and (2) she failed to request an assurance that she receive advance notice of a wage garnishment as opposed to actual advanced notice. (ECF No. 121 at 8-11.)
To set forth a prima facie case of a failure to accommodate claim, a plaintiff must show that: (1) he/she is a qualified individual with a disability; (2) the employer was aware of the individual's disability; and (3) the employer failed to accommodate reasonably the disability. Allen v. SouthCrest Hosp., Case No. 11-5016, 455 Fed.App'x., 827, 830 n.2 (10th Cir. 2011) (unpublished); McNeil v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Case No. 12-CV-02064, 2013 WL 6499796, at *6 n.6 (D. Colo. Dec. 11, 2013). The only element of Plaintiff's prima facie case in dispute, for purposes of reviewing the Magistrate Judge's Recommendation, is whether Defendant refused a request for an accommodation made by Plaintiff. (ECF Nos. 121, 126-29, 135-36.)
Plaintiff's "failure to accommodate" claim under the ADA is subject to the burden-shifting framework established in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802-04 (1973) (hereinafter " McDonnell Douglas "). See Smith v. Midland Brake, Inc., 180 ...