Logie v. Mass. Bay Transp. Auth., Civil No. 17-10949-PBS

Decision Date12 July 2018
Docket NumberCivil No. 17-10949-PBS
Citation323 F.Supp.3d 164
Parties Rosalind LOGIE, Plaintiff, v. MASSACHUSETTS BAY TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, Boston Carmen's Union, Local 589, Norman W. Michaud, Scott C. Andrews, John J. Lee, and Larry Kelly, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Massachusetts

Rosalind Logie, Quincy, MA, pro se.

Rebecca J. Sivitz, Proskauer Rose, LLP, Boston, MA, Brian J. Rogal, Rogal & Donnellan, P.C, Norwood, MA, for Defendants.


Saris, U.S.D.J.12 The MBTA defendants have objected to the Report and Recommendation, which recommended that the Court deny the motion to dismiss the claim of employment discrimination under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12132. See Docket No. 35. The MBTA argues that employment discrimination claims must be brought under Title I. The First Circuit has not yet ruled on the subject. See Currie v. Group Ins. Comm'n , 290 F.3d 1, 6, 9 (1st Cir. 2002). However, most circuits have held that employment claims against public entities must be brought under Title I. See Taylor v. City of Shreveport , 798 F.3d 276, 282 (5th Cir. 2015) ("Unlike Title I of the ADA, Title II does not create a cause of action for employment discrimination."); Reyazuddin v. Montgomery Cnty., Md. , 789 F.3d 407, 421 (4th Cir. 2015) ("Based on the text and structure of Title II and the ADA, we agree with the majority of circuits to have considered the question that Title II unambiguously does not provide a vehicle for public employment discrimination claims."); Brumfield v. City of Chicago , 735 F.3d 619, 628 (7th Cir. 2013) ("Title II is clearly inapplicable to employment discrimination because Title I specifically, comprehensively, and exclusively addresses disability discrimination in employment."); Mary Jo C. v. N.Y. State & Local Ret. Syst. , 707 F.3d 144, 171 (2d Cir. 2013) (holding that the ADA "unambiguously limits employment discrimination claims to Title I"); Elwell v. Oklahoma ex rel. Bd. of Regents of the Univ. of Okla. , 693 F.3d 1303, 1309 (10th Cir. 2012) ("[E]ach title does important and independent work -- work that would be diminished, duplicated, even rendered superfluous were we to read Title II as covering employment discrimination."); Zimmerman v. Or. Dep't of Justice , 170 F.3d 1169, 1178 (9th Cir. 1999) ("[W]hen viewed as a whole, the text, context and structure of the ADA show unambiguously that Congress did not intend for Title II to apply to employment."); see also Menkowitz v. Pottstown Mem'l Med. Ctr. , 154 F.3d 113, 118-19 (3d Cir. 1998) (discussing Title III and holding that "it is evident that Congress sought to regulate disability discrimination in the area of employment exclusively through Title I"); Parker v. Metro. Life Ins. Co. , 121 F.3d 1006, 1014-15 (6th Cir. 1997) (discussing Title III and holding that "the statutory framework of the ADA expressly limits discrimination in employment practices to Title I of the ADA"). But see Bledsoe v. Palm Beach Cnty. Soil & Water Conservation Dist. , 133 F.3d 816, 822 (11th Cir. 1998) ("[E]mployment coverage is clear from the language and structure of Title II."). I agree with the majority of the circuits and dismiss the claim of employment discrimination brought under Title II.

For the reasons stated in the Report and Recommendation, I dismiss the other claims as well. The action is DISMISSED.


M. Page Kelley, United States Magistrate Judge

I. Introduction.

This is a dispute about an allegedly unlawful termination based on disability.

Plaintiff Rosalind Logie is a former employee of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). Plaintiff contends that she was wrongfully terminated because of her diabetes in violation of various federal and state laws. As explained below, the only viable claim plaintiff states is for alleged violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by the MBTA. The court therefore RECOMMENDS that defendants' motion to dismiss be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

II. Facts.1

Plaintiff was hired by the MBTA as a part-time Red Line train operator on December 7, 2009. (# 1 at 2.)2 Defendant Norman W. Michaud was the Superintendent of Red Line Transportation for the MBTA. Id. at 2 ¶4. Defendant Scott C. Andrews was the Deputy Director of Red Line Operations for the MBTA. Id. at 2 ¶5. Beginning in 2012, plaintiff took a series of medical leaves because of "brittle" or not-well-controlled diabetes, and did not return to driving the train.

In May 2012, plaintiff took medical leave because of her diabetes

. Id. at 3 ¶3. On June 20, 2012, plaintiff's primary care physician, Dr. Joseph Rencic, MD, sent the MBTA a letter describing plaintiff's diabetes and requesting that she not drive the train "for the next month or so, until it is better controlled." Id. at 3 ¶4, Ex. B. Plaintiff requested additional leave on June 26, 2012, and requested to be assigned to a job that did not involve "operation of a train." Id. at 3 ¶5, Ex. C. On August 1, 2012 plaintiff requested to be "returned" to the Customer Service Agent department. Plaintiff noted she had been requalified for "Light Duty" by the MBTA Medical Department on July 18, 2012. Id. at 3 ¶6, Ex. D.

The MBTA "temporarily reassigned" plaintiff to a CSA position, as a "work place accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)," from January 1, 2013 to March 1, 2013, with an extension until April 15, 2013 based on "medical documentation ... that continues your disqualification from your permanent position as a Part-Time Motorperson." Id. at 3-4 ¶¶6-7, Exs. E, F. Plaintiff was "reminded that the purpose of the ADA is to provide, without undue hardship, reasonable accommodations that will assist employees in performing the essential functions of the positions for which they were hired, and, that placement in the alternative positions is strictly temporary."Id. Ex. F. On July 18, 2013, plaintiff was granted an extension of her light duty position until July 31, 2013. Id. Ex. I. The letter stated, "As you were made aware, this accommodation was temporary and would not be permanent or extended indefinitely. Please note that this is the final extension that will be granted to you." Id.

On August 6, 2013, Dr. Rencic provided a letter to the MBTA stating that plaintiff could not safely operate a train but could perform the functions of a CSA safely. Id. Ex. L. Plaintiff was apparently granted medical leave on August 5, 2013. See id. Ex. O (reflecting 105 days of ADA leave beginning August 5, 2013, and sick leave beginning January 7, 2014).

In October 2013, Michaud contacted plaintiff on behalf of the MBTA to note that she had "been absent from work for an extended period" and had not been properly updating the MBTA as to her whereabouts and condition. Id. ¶ 7, Ex. G. Plaintiff was asked to report for an interview on November 7, 2013 and warned that a failure to report or notify the MBTA would "result in a thirty (30) day suspension with recommendation for discharge." On November 6, 2013, Dr. Rencic provided a letter stating plaintiff could perform the tasks of a CSA but not those of a driver due to diabetes

and recent cataract surgery. Id. at 4 ¶8, Ex. H. In an undated letter, plaintiff requested an "ADA [extension] after the 12th of this [month] they are telling me they are going to lay me off. I'm still working with [union representative] Larry Kelly." Id. at 4 ¶8, Ex. J. On November 18, 2013, the MBTA extended plaintiff's "continuous leave accommodation under the [...] ADA" to January 6, 2014. Id. at 4 ¶8, Ex. K.

Once leave expired January 6, 2014, plaintiff apparently did not return to work. Michaud, on behalf of the MBTA, contacted plaintiff on January 27, 2014. Id. Ex. M. Michaud noted that plaintiff had "been absent from work for an extended period" and was ordered to, again, appear for an interview on February 11, 2014, or face a thirty-day suspension with recommendation for discharge. Id. On Feb. 11, 2014, Dr. Rencic provided a letter stating that it was medically necessary for plaintiff to perform only a CSA role rather than driving a train. Id. Ex. N. Dr. Rencic stated further that "with continued care [...] we think this is a temporary situation and these issues will resolve." Id. On February 12, 2014, plaintiff a received discipline slip and was interviewed for possible termination. Id. at 5 ¶10, Ex. O. Plaintiff stated "[s]he would like light duty under the recommendation of her doctor." Id. Plaintiff was suspended for thirty days after this hearing and recommended for discharge. Id. at 5 ¶10, Ex. O.

Dr. Rencic provided another letter on February 18, 2014, stating plaintiff could perform the position of CSA safely, and "will be able to recover to be fully functioning and become a motor person within 6-8 months. Id. at 5 ¶10, Ex. F. Dr. Rencic sent a substantially similar letter February 24, 2014. Id. at 5, ¶10, Ex. Q. On March 11, 2014, the MBTA extended plaintiff's medical leave to May 6, 2014. Id. at 5 ¶8, Ex. R.

On June 24, 2014, Dr. Rencic wrote that plaintiff would not be able to work as train operator for at least three additional months. Id. at 5 ¶11, Ex. S.

On July 1, 2014, plaintiff filed a grievance with her union. Id. at 5 ¶12, Ex. T. The MBTA denied the grievance based on plaintiff's absence from August 5, 2013 to June 25, 2014, and her failure "to provide the Authority with an expected return to work date during her absence."Id. at 5 ¶12, Ex. U.

The MBTA sent a letter to plaintiff on July 23, 2014, stating plaintiff had not contacted the MBTA regarding her leave but that the MBTA had received information from her doctor. Id. at 13, Ex. V. The letter noted that the MBTA had provided plaintiff with accommodation since she was medically disqualified as a train operator in ...

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