233 F.3d 1083 (8th Cir. 2000), 00-1893, Kellogg v. Union Pacific Railroad Co.

Docket Nº:00-1893
Citation:233 F.3d 1083
Party Name:CLYDE M. KELLOGG, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT, V. UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY, A CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.
Case Date:December 04, 2000
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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233 F.3d 1083 (8th Cir. 2000)

CLYDE M. KELLOGG, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

V.

UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY, A CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.

No. 00-1893

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

December 4, 2000

Submitted: October 23, 2000

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Before Wollman, Chief Judge, Lay and Beam, Circuit Judges.

Per Curiam.

Clyde M. Kellogg (Kellogg) appeals the district court's 1 order granting summary judgment to Union Pacific Railroad (Union Pacific) on his claim of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12117 (2000). Kellogg also maintains that summary judgment was improper because an earlier agreement with Union Pacific guaranteed his continued employment with the company. We affirm the judgment of the district court.

I.

Kellogg was a third-generation employee of Union Pacific whose career with the company spanned twenty-six years. Beginning as a switchman/brakeman in 1973, Kellogg ascended through the ranks at Union Pacific to conductor in 1978, and then to management in 1992.

In 1996, Kellogg was promoted to Senior Manager of Intermodal Stack Train Operations at Union Pacific's Harriman Dispatch Center in Omaha, Nebraska. In that position, Kellogg oversaw all freight traffic for Union Pacific's biggest client, American Presidential Lines (APL). His job required him to work sixty to eighty hours per week and to be on call twenty-four hours per day. When he was not at the Harriman Center, Kellogg took calls and monitored business by computer at home, and attended to APL on many of his vacation days. He was commended by APL for his unusual support and dedication.

On September 2, 1997, Kellogg was at work when he experienced symptoms of a heart attack and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. It was later determined that he had suffered a severe panic attack. Doctors diagnosed him with major depression and anxiety, and prescribed counseling, medication, and a leave of absence from work.

Kellogg returned to the Harriman Center on September 29, 1997, temporarily restricted by his doctors to a forty-hour, daylight only work week. About a month later, Kellogg's doctors ordered him off work again so that his medications could be adjusted. When Kellogg attempted to return to work on January 6, 1998 with the

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same conditions as before, 2 his supervisor, Byron Schroeder, said that Union Pacific no longer could accommodate Kellogg's working restrictions.

Four days later, Kellogg wrote a letter to his director at Union Pacific expressing his willingness to return to work and emphasizing that his work restrictions were not absolute. Union Pacific did not respond. Kellogg continued to write to Union Pacific indicating his desire to return to work, to no avail. During the same period, Kellogg unsuccessfully applied, but was not hired, for eight other positions within the company. In March of 1998, Kellogg was placed on Union Pacific's Long-Term Disability Plan. On May 5, 1998, the company sent a letter to Kellogg, informing him that he was entitled to short-term disability benefits. When Kellogg's long-term disability benefits expired on March 4, 1999, Union Pacific terminated him.

Kellogg filed charges with the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission (NEOC) claiming Union Pacific's actions violated the ADA. The NEOC, in turn, issued Kellogg a right-to-sue letter.

Kellogg brought suit against Union Pacific in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, claiming that Union Pacific violated the ADA because, due to his anxiety and depression, the company refused to allow him to return to his job as Senior Manager of Intermodal Stack Train Operations, and failed to hire him to work in any other position for which he applied. Kellogg also alleged that Union Pacific's actions violated a Release and Settlement agreement the parties signed subsequent to a separate injury Kellogg suffered on the job in 1991. The district court granted Union Pacific's motion for summary judgment on grounds that Kellogg had not shown he was disabled under the ADA. The court also found that the Release and Settlement agreement between Kellogg and Union Pacific did not entitle Kellogg to continued employment with Union Pacific. This appeal followed.

II.

This court reviews a district court's grant of summary judgment de novo. See Treanor v. MCI Telecomm. Corp., 200 F.3d 570, 573 (8th Cir. 2000). In doing so, we apply the same standard as the district court. See id. Thus, we will affirm a grant of summary judgment when the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, shows that there are no disputed issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477...

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