Maldonado–ortiz v. Juan

Decision Date04 April 2011
Docket NumberCivil No. 09–1771 (SEC).
Citation775 F.Supp.2d 389
PartiesMarta MALDONADO–ORTIZ, Plaintiffv.LEXUS DE SAN JUAN, Defendant.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Puerto Rico


Nicolas Nogueras–Cartagena, Nicolas Nogueras Law Offices, San Juan, PR, for Plaintiff.Diego Ramirez–Bigott, Jimenez, Graffam & Lausell, San Juan, PR, for Defendant.


SALVADOR E. CASELLAS, Senior District Judge.

Pending before the Court is Defendant HVPH Motor Corporation d/b/a Lexus de San Juan's (Defendant or “Lexus”) Motion for Summary Judgment (Dockets 34, 26 & 37), and Plaintiff Marta Maldonado–Ortiz's (Plaintiff) opposition thereto (Dockets 55 & 56). After carefully considering the filings, the evidence on the record, and the applicable law, Defendant's motion is GRANTED.

Procedural Background

On August 7, 2008, Plaintiff filed the present suit against Defendant under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000 et seq., the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq., and several state laws. According to the complaint, Plaintiff was discriminated against due to her medical conditions and was subjected to sexual harassment. Plaintiff further avers that Defendant interfered with her rights under the FMLA.

On September 30, 2010, Defendant moved for summary judgment arguing that Plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case under the ADA because she did not suffer an adverse employment action, she is not disabled within its meaning and she cannot perform the essential functions of her position with or without reasonable accommodation. Docket # 36. Moreover, they aver that her claims under Title VII, the FMLA, and for failure to provide reasonable accommodation also fail. Plaintiff timely opposed.

Standard of Review

The Court may grant a motion for summary judgment when “the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Rule 56(c); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); Ramírez Rodríguez v. Boehringer Ingelheim, 425 F.3d 67, 77 (1st Cir.2005). In reaching such a determination, the Court may not weigh the evidence. Casas Office Machs., Inc. v. Mita Copystar Am., Inc., 42 F.3d 668 (1st Cir.1994). At this stage, the court examines the record in the “light most favorable to the nonmovant,” and indulges all “reasonable inferences in that party's favor.” Maldonado–Denis v. Castillo–Rodríguez, 23 F.3d 576, 581 (1st Cir.1994).

Once the movant has averred that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to establish the existence of at least one fact in issue that is both genuine and material. Garside v. Osco Drug, Inc., 895 F.2d 46, 48 (1st Cir.1990) (citations omitted). “A factual issue is ‘genuine’ if ‘it may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party and, therefore, requires the finder of fact to make ‘a choice between the parties' differing versions of the truth at trial.” DePoutot v. Raffaelly, 424 F.3d 112, 116 (1st Cir.2005) (citing Garside, 895 F.2d at 48 (1st Cir.1990)); see also SEC v. Ficken, 546 F.3d 45, 51 (1st Cir.2008).

In order to defeat summary judgment, the opposing party may not rest on conclusory allegations, improbable inferences, and unsupported speculation. See Hadfield v. McDonough, 407 F.3d 11, 15 (1st Cir.2005) (citing Medina–Muñoz v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 896 F.2d 5, 8 (1st Cir.1990)). Nor will “effusive rhetoric” and “optimistic surmise” suffice to establish a genuine issue of material fact. Cadle Co. v. Hayes, 116 F.3d 957, 960 (1st Cir.1997). Once the party moving for summary judgment has established an absence of material facts in dispute, and that he or she is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the party opposing summary judgment must present definite, competent evidence to rebut the motion.” Méndez–Laboy v. Abbott Lab., 424 F.3d 35, 37 (1st Cir.2005) (citing Maldonado–Denis v. Castillo Rodríguez, 23 F.3d 576, 581 (1st Cir.1994)).

“The non-movant must ‘produce specific facts, in suitable evidentiary form’ sufficient to limn a trial-worthy issue.... Failure to do so allows the summary judgment engine to operate at full throttle.” Id.; see also Kelly v. United States, 924 F.2d 355, 358 (1st Cir.1991) (warning that “the decision to sit idly by and allow the summary judgment proponent to configure the record is likely to prove fraught with consequence.”); Medina–Muñoz, 896 F.2d at 8 (citing Mack v. Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co., 871 F.2d 179, 181 (1st Cir.1989)) (holding that [t]he evidence illustrating the factual controversy cannot be conjectural or problematic; it must have substance in the sense that it limns differing versions of the truth which a factfinder must resolve.”).

Applicable Law and Analysis

The uncontested facts are as follows. HVPH is a corporation which operates under the business name of Lexus de San Juan and manages a car dealership that sells Lexus cars and provides general car maintenance and repair services.1 Lexus' SUF (“SUF”), Docket # 56, ¶ 1. For Lexus, client satisfaction is paramount, therefore the most important person in the dealership is the client. Id. at 2. Pursuant to their website, Lexus' “commitment to perfection is exceeded only by our commitment to offer you the highest levels of guest services in the luxury automotive industry.” Id. Their service department supports the dealership's business by providing the best possible service to Lexus' clients, and its commitment to maintaining the highest level of service has earned it the recognition of providing the best service in the automotive industry in Puerto Rico. Id.2Plaintiff's employment at Lexus

Plaintiff applied for a position at Lexus on May 23, 2000, and was hired on June 1, 2000, as an Assistant Manager in the Service Department.3 Id. at 3. The Assistant Manager in the Service Department is a very important position for Lexus because he or she is the first in line to attend clients that request car service. Id. at 4. As an Assistant Manager, Plaintiff was directly responsible of making sure that the car service operation fully complied with the clients' expectations regarding the maintenance and repairs of their vehicles. Id. She was also responsible for complying with her sales objectives, as well as the administrative responsibilities of her work team. Id.

Her duties and responsibilities included: (1) receiving the clients when they arrived at the service area of the dealership, asking questions and listening to their comments and/or concerns in order to identify the reasons for the visit; (2) providing service options, make recommendations, and provide an orientation to the client regarding the needed service; (3) preparing a service order (also known as “jobs”), and reviewing it with the client to make sure that it is correct before submitting the order to the Team Leader to start the repairs; (4) calling the clients once she received the repair estimates from the “Team Leader” to explain the estimates and get their approval before commencing the “job”; (5) providing constant follow up as to the status of the “jobs” and maintaining the clients informed; (6) answering client calls immediately and courteously, making an effort to completely fulfill the clients' expectations; (7) recommending disciplinary actions against any individual in her work team, when necessary; and (8) being punctual and carrying out the work day to the fullest. Id. at 5. Pursuant to the employment contract, as Assistant Manager, Plaintiff was paid an hourly wage and additional compensation for overtime work, or production, whichever was greater. Id. at 6. That is, Plaintiff would earn a minimum hourly wage, which could increase, depending on the money earned on servicing clients. Id.

The dealership opens its doors to its clients at 7:30. a.m. in order to allow the clients to bring the cars in for service before they have to report to their respective employments. Id. at 8. Similarly, the dealership remains open until about 6:00 p.m. so that the clients may pick up their vehicles after they finish with their respective professional responsibilities. Id. Usually clients start lining up for service about half hour before the time the dealership opens. Id. The dealership tends to its clients in a first come first serve basis. Id. Thus when the gates open they allow the first set of cars, which are lined up in the street, to drive into a meeting area that fits approximately eight (8) cars at the same time. Id. The hours with the most volume of work at the dealership range from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., when the clients leave their cars for servicing, and from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. when they pick up their cars. Id.

The Assistant Managers have to be working in the dealership from 7:30 a.m. until at least 6:00 p.m. Id. at 6 & 9. Since the Assistant Managers are responsible for the “jobs” of their clients, it is particularly important that they be present during the hours with the most volume of work, which range between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., and 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.4 Id. That is, they have to personally be there when the clients take the car for servicing, usually in the mornings, and when they pick up their vehicle in the afternoon, at whatever time the “job” gets completed, make sure that the “jobs” have been completed and the client is satisfied with the service the dealership provided. Id. at 9. If the “job” cannot be completed in the agreed upon time, they have to make sure that the client understands the reasons, and if necessary provide the clients with service vehicles while their car is being serviced. Id. Plaintiff admits that she worked more than ten (10) hours a...

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    • March 13, 2017
    ...42 U.S.C. § 12112(b)(5)(A) ; see Reed v. LePage Bakeries, Inc. , 244 F.3d 254, 257 (1st Cir. 2001) ; Maldonado–Ortiz v. Lexus de San Juan , 775 F.Supp.2d 389, 407 (D.P.R. 2011). To prevail on a reasonable accommodation claim under the ADA, a plaintiff must show: (1) that she is disabled wit......
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    • May 28, 2015" 42 U.S.C. § 12112(b)(5)(A); see Reed v. LePage Bakeries,Inc., 244 F.3d 254, 257 (1st Cir. 2001); Maldonado-Ortiz v. Lexus de San Juan, 775 F.Supp.2d 389, 407 (D.P.R. 2011). To prevail on a reasonable accommodation claim under the ADA, a plaintiff must show: (1) that he is disable......
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