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Enlow v. Covidien LP

United States District Court, D. Colorado

December 30, 2014

B. ENLOW, Plaintiff,
v.
COVIDIEN LP (formerly Tyco Healthcare Group LP), a Delaware limited partnership, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

WILLIAM J. MARTÍNEZ, District Judge.

Plaintiff Brett Enlow ("Plaintiff") brings this action against his former employer, Covidien LP ("Defendant"), for discrimination and related claims in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq., Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq., and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001 et seq. (ECF No. 1.) Before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment ("Motion"). (ECF No. 37.) For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is granted.

I. LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate only if there is no genuine issue of material fact in dispute and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Henderson v. Inter-Chem Coal Co., Inc., 41 F.3d 567, 569 (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 conversely, is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986); Stone v. Autoliv ASP, Inc., 210 F.3d 1132 (10th Cir. 2000); Carey v. U.S. Postal Serv., 812 F.2d 621, 623 (10th Cir. 1987).

A fact is "material" if it pertains to an element of a claim or defense; a factual dispute is "genuine" if the evidence is so contradictory that if the matter went to trial, a reasonable party could return a verdict for either party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. The Court must resolve factual ambiguities against the moving party, thus favoring the right to a trial. Houston v. Nat'l Gen. Ins. Co., 817 F.2d 83, 85 (10th Cir. 1987).

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The following relevant facts are viewed in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, and are undisputed except where noted.

Defendant is a healthcare company that manufactures and distributes medical devices and healthcare products. (Affidavit of Kerry Tehan ("Tehan Aff.") (ECF No. 38-9) ¶ 2.) On May 9, 2011, Plaintiff was hired as a Senior Global Marketing Manager in Defendant's Respiratory and Monitoring Solutions Global Business Unit. (Deposition of Brett Enlow ("Pl.'s Dep.") (ECF Nos. 38-1, 38-2, 38-3, 45-1, 48-2) p. 130.) Dawn Bitz, Director of Ventilation, advocated in favor of hiring Plaintiff. (Pl.'s Dep. pp. 221-22; Deposition of Dawn Bitz ("Bitz Dep.") (ECF Nos. 37-1, 37-2, 45-2) pp. 37-38, 47-48.) Shortly thereafter, Bitz became Plaintiff's supervisor. (Bitz Dep. pp. 37-38, 51-53.)

In July 2011, Plaintiff began seeing Dr. Jose Delgado, M.D., regarding mental health concerns and was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety. (Deposition of Dr. Jose Delgado ("Delgado Dep.") (ECF No. 45-13) pp. 9-10.)

On July 29, 2011, Bitz provided a coaching memorandum ("Action Plan") to Plaintiff that outlined alleged performance deficiencies and set expectations and goals. (Pl.'s Dep. pp. 185-86; Bitz Dep. pp. 165-67.) Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff's supervision was transferred to Eric Middleton, then-Marketing Director for the Ventilation Business, during Bitz's planned maternity leave from August to October 2011. (Bitz Dep. 54-55.) Plaintiff testified that he spoke with Middleton regarding his mental health symptoms in July and August, 2011, and began recording meetings because of short-term memory problems. (Pl.'s Dep. pp. 181-82, 190-93.)

On October 14, 2011, Bitz placed Plaintiff on a Performance Improvement Plan ("PIP") based on alleged continued performance deficiencies after the Action Plan. (Pl.'s Dep. pp. 218, 298; Bitz Dep. pp. 79, 109, 165, 173-74.) Bitz met with Plaintiff to discuss the specifics of the PIP, which was to run through January 2, 2012. (Bitz Dep. 174-77; ECF No. 41 at 1.) In or around October 2011, Plaintiff spoke with Middleton about his depression, and Middleton advised Plaintiff to speak with Kerry Tehan, a Human Resources ("H.R.") representative. (Pl.'s Dep. pp. 159-60.) Plaintiff informed Tehan about his depression, and on October 24, 2011, Plaintiff sent Tehan an email with an attached letter from Dr. Delgado indicating a diagnosis of major depression and anxiety. (ECF No. 41-3.) Tehan and Plaintiff discussed the possibility of an accommodation, but Plaintiff indicated that no accommodation was necessary at that time. ( Id.; Pl.'s Dep. pp. 261-62.)

Plaintiff also spoke with Tehan about Bitz's management style, complaining that she e-mailed him in the middle of the night, did not like the way she spoke to him, and had an abrupt manner. (Deposition of Kerry Tehan ("Tehan Dep.") (ECF Nos. 40-2 & 40-3) p. 31.) In e-mails to Plaintiff, other employees of Defendant also noted disagreements with Bitz's management style, including failure to support and defend her team members, criticism directed at certain individuals over others, and a belittling and arrogant manner. (ECF No. 45-11.)

On December 28, 2011, Plaintiff filed for short-term disability benefits through Aetna, the claims administrator for Defendant's disability benefits plan. (Pl.'s Dep. p. 244; Tehan Aff. ¶¶ 13-15; ECF No. 41-6.) On February 10, 2012, Aetna sent a letter denying Plaintiff's request for short-term disability benefits based on a finding that "[t]he clinical information is not sufficient to recommend an out of work status from your occupation...." (ECF No. 41-7.)

On January 31, 2012, on Bitz's recommendation, Plaintiff was terminated by written letter from Tehan, which stated that Plaintiff had failed to meet the expectations and terms ...


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