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Monfils v. Weston Investment Company, LLC

United States District Court, D. Oregon

December 3, 2018

CASEY STEPHEN MONFILS, Plaintiff,
v.
WESTON INVESTMENT COMPANY, LLC dba AMERICAN PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, Defendant.

          Casey Stephen Monfils. Pro se plaintiff.

          Peter S. Hicks, Jordan Ramis PC, Robyn L. Stein, Jordan Ramis PC, Of Attorneys for Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          MICHAEL H. SIMON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Casey Stephen Monfils, pro se, filed claims against his former employer American Property Management under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Oregon workplace anti-discrimination law. He alleges that Defendant failed to accommodate his disability by making him work more than eight hours per day and by making him lift heavy objects. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant discriminated against him by failing to promote him. Finally, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant discriminated against him for filing a workers compensation claim. Plaintiff moves for summary judgment on his failure to accommodate claim. Defendant moves for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is denied and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is granted.

         STANDARDS

         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).

         When parties file cross-motions for summary judgment, the court “evaluate[s] each motion separately, giving the non-moving party in each instance the benefit of all reasonable inferences.” A.C.L.U. of Nev. v. City of Las Vegas, 466 F.3d 784, 790-91 (9th Cir. 2006) (quotation marks and citation omitted); see also Pintos v. Pac. Creditors Ass'n, 605 F.3d 665, 674 (9th Cir. 2010) (“Cross-motions for summary judgment are evaluated separately under [the] same standard.”). In evaluating the motions, “the court must consider each party's evidence, regardless under which motion the evidence is offered.” Las Vegas Sands, LLC v. Nehme, 632 F.3d 526, 532 (9th Cir. 2011). “Where the non-moving party bears the burden of proof at trial, the moving party need only prove that there is an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case.” In re Oracle Corp. Sec. Litig., 627 F.3d 376, 387 (9th Cir. 2010). Thereafter, the non-moving party bears the burden of designating “specific facts demonstrating the existence of genuine issues for trial.” Id. “This burden is not a light one.” Id. The Supreme Court has directed that in such a situation, the non-moving party must do more than raise a “metaphysical doubt” as to the material facts at issue. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. A pro se litigant is held to the same standard in responding to a motion for summary judgment as a represented party, and thus must go beyond bare allegations in the pleadings and establish with evidentiary support that there exists a genuine dispute of material fact. See Bias v. Moynihan, 508 F.3d 1212, 1219 (9th Cir. 2007).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff worked as a residential property manager for American Property Management from May 2007 until November 2015. Plaintiff has a permanent injury in his neck and right thigh that seriously restricts his ability to lift heavy objects and causes him pain. Plaintiff underwent surgery in 1989, which resulted in two fused discs in his neck, and again in 2005 for three more fused discs and currently has five fused discs in his neck. Plaintiff also developed nerve damage that resulted in a permanent injury to his right thigh. He experiences weakness when walking and standing. Plaintiff was accepted into the Oregon Preferred Worker Program (“OPWP”) for permanently disabled workers. OPWP provides various subsidies and benefits for employers of disabled workers and their disabled employees.

         In May 2007, Plaintiff applied for a position with Defendant and interviewed with Larry Bricker (“Bricker”). When Defendant hired Plaintiff in May 2007 as a residential manager for one of Defendant's apartment complexes, Plaintiff disclosed his Preferred Worker status and provided Bricker with a note from his doctor describing Plaintiff's vocational restrictions. Those restrictions prohibited Plaintiff from lifting more than ten pounds and limited his standing and walking to what was tolerable. Plaintiff was given a description of his job duties and answered “no” when asked if he was aware of any condition that could impair his ability to perform the duties listed. OPWP provided Plaintiff with a special ergonomic desk and chair to address his neck disability, and Bricker provided Plaintiff with a light hand-truck to accommodate Plaintiff's lifting restrictions and a Bluetooth headset to accommodate his neck injuries.

         Shortly after starting his employment with Defendant, however, Plaintiff realized that the income from the residential manager position would not be enough to meet his financial obligations. He began to take on other jobs for Defendant. In 2007, he was assigned the task of inspecting and installing smoke alarms in 2, 400 apartments. This involved carrying a backpack containing smoke alarms, a 25-pound drill, and a stepladder.

         In late 2007, Plaintiff was involved in a car accident that caused additional injury to his neck. Five weeks after the accident, Plaintiff's doctor advised that he could return to work, but could only work two hours per day. Later, his doctor permitted him to work four hours per day, and eventually, sometime in July of 2008, Plaintiff returned to work with a medical restriction allowing no more than eight hours per day. Plaintiff filed a workers' compensation claim in connection with the accident, but his claim was denied by Defendant's insurer.

         In 2008, Plaintiff received a new project that involved cleaning swimming pools, which required him to lift 50-pound containers and work 60-70 hours per week. Defendant's Bricker repeatedly told Plaintiff not to lift heavy items, but Plaintiff saw no alternative that would get the job done. In early 2008, Bricker moved to a different department and Plaintiff submitted a letter of interest for Bricker's position. Plaintiff did not get the job, and Mike Williamson (“Williamson”) was hired and became Plaintiff's supervisor. Around the same time, Plaintiff sought, and received, a position managing one of Defendant's larger apartment complexes.

         From 2008 until 2014, Plaintiff continued to volunteer for additional tasks, and was assigned additional tasks, beyond his eight hour per day (40 hour per week) work restriction. Plaintiff also states that he had “down time” during the day and could take on additional sedentary work for Defendant from his apartment. In 2014, Plaintiff went to Williamson's office and told Williamson that Plaintiff's medical restrictions prevented him from ...


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