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Thomas v. Mettie

United States District Court, D. Oregon

February 17, 2015


Nathan Lee Thomas, Portland, OR. Pro se.

Michael Porter, Andrea M. Barton, MILLER NASH GRAHAM & DUNN LLP, Portland, OR. Of Attorneys for Defendants.


MICHAEL H. SIMON, District Judge.

Plaintiff Nathan Lee Thomas, pro se, filed a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), alleging that Angela Mettie, David Bearden, Jeri Hemmer, Roni Sue, Angelo Gomez, and Edward Ray (collectively, "Defendants") (1) forced him to identify as disabled, (2) discriminated against him on the basis of his disability by failing to provide him with reasonable accommodations in the work place, and (3) failed to hold employees accountable for discriminatory practices. Defendants move for summary judgment. For reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion is granted.


A party is entitled to summary judgment if the "movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party has the burden of establishing the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant and draw all reasonable inferences in the non-movant's favor. Clicks Billiards Inc. v. Sixshooters Inc., 251 F.3d 1252, 1257 (9th Cir. 2001). Although "[c]redibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge... ruling on a motion for summary judgment, " the "mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position [is] insufficient...." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252, 255 (1986). "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (citation and quotation marks omitted).


Nathan Thomas ("Plaintiff") was employed as an Office Specialist 1 at Oregon State University ("OSU") from 2003 to 2013. Plaintiff's primary duties were to serve as a receptionist and to support faculty members and students at the Oregon Health and Services University ("OHSU") campus. Plaintiff was tasked with directing students and visitors, helping faculty members prepare their equipment and classrooms, giving information to students, and assisting campus faculty with student examinations. Written and oral communication with students and staff was an important part of Plaintiff's position as an Office Specialist 1.[1]

On June 19, 2007, OSU issued a letter of reprimand ("2007 Reprimand") to Plaintiff for his alleged behavior towards faculty and students. The 2007 Reprimand asserted that Plaintiff refused to notarize Intern Log Hours and argued with his supervisor, Angela Mettie, and other OSU staff. It further noted that students and faculty were reluctant to approach Plaintiff and that the university had received complaints from OSU visitors about him. As a part of the 2007 Reprimand, OSU provided Plaintiff with access to seminars regarding working through conflict and effective communication in the workplace.

On July 13, 2011, OSU issued another letter of reprimand to Plaintiff and suspended him without pay ("2011 Reprimand"). The 2011 Reprimand was in response to several incidents. First, Plaintiff was escorted out of the OHSU building by a campus officer after the officer found Plaintiff locked in an OHSU conference room, which Plaintiff did not have authority to be in, with Post-it® notes covering the window. Second, OSU concluded that Plaintiff failed to follow the instructions of his supervisor and failed to perform tasks within his duties as an Office Specialist 1.

On July 19, 2011, Portland Police responded to a report that Plaintiff was walking on the sidewalk with a machete a few blocks away from OHSU. The police report described Plaintiff as indifferent to the police presence and using the machete to chop nearby grass as he was walking. Portland Police subsequently arrested Plaintiff. After OHSU Public Safety informed Ms. Mettie about Plaintiff's arrest, she placed Plaintiff on paid administrative leave pending a Human Resources investigation.

During the investigation, Ms. Mettie mentioned that she believed Plaintiff had stopped taking his medication. In response to this information, on October 17, 2011, OSU rescinded the 2011 Reprimand and placed Plaintiff on leave under the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") from October 14, 2010 to January 13, 2012. OSU notified its Office of Equity and Inclusion ("OEI") about Plaintiff's actions. Roni Sue was then assigned as the case administrator for the ADA assessment of Plaintiff. Ms. Sue obtained permission from Plaintiff to contact his treating psychologist, Dr. Ray Tatyrek. Dr. Tatyrek opined to Ms. Sue that Plaintiff's behavior would improve with treatment.

In February 2012, Plaintiff returned to work. Upon Plaintiff's return, OSU allowed Plaintiff time off each week to attend treatment, assigned a new supervisor, Dr. David Bearden, to Plaintiff, moved Plaintiff's workstation away from his previous supervisor, Ms. Mettie, and closer to his new supervisor, and emphasized the performance of certain duties of Plaintiff's position.[2] Dr. Bearden provided Plaintiff with a written memorandum of work expectations.

On October 12, 2012, Dr. Bearden gave Plaintiff an annual performance evaluation that expressed concerns regarding Plaintiff's communication skills. Due to continued complaints and communication issues, Ms. Sue contacted Dr. Tatyrek to request an assessment to determine if Plaintiff ...

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