MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Richard Christopher ("Christopher") brings this action against his former employer, Laidlaw Transit Inc. ("Laidlaw"), under The Americans with Disabilities Act ("the ADA"), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq. Presently before the Court is Laidlaw's motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below, Laidlaw's motion is granted.
Christopher has been an insulin dependent diabetic for the past 25 years. From 1976 through 1994, he had been working for Laidlaw, an $ 860 million company in the business of contract school busing, healthcare transportation and public transit system management. While the complaint does not indicate Christopher's job title, his duties primarily included driving a school bus. On February 18, 1994, while on Laidlaw property, Christopher suffered a diabetic incident of hypoglycemic shock. He was not driving the bus, and nobody was hurt. The United States Department of Transportation Regulations ("the DOT") prohibit insulin dependent diabetics from driving a commercial vehicle weighing 10,001 or more pounds or designed to carry 15 or more passengers. See 49 C.F.R. § 383 et seq., 391.41(b)(3). Moreover, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicle Regulations mandate that insulin dependent diabetics who have had incident of hypoglycemic shock within two years are disqualified from driving school buses. N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. Title 15, part 6, 6.11(b)(3).
On the day of the accident, Laidlaw terminated Christopher's position as bus driver. Christopher asked on several occasions if Laidlaw could accommodate his disability by training him for maintenance work on the bus fleet. Laidlaw refused, and, instead, offered him a bus monitor position. As of February 18, 1994, Christopher was earning $ 12.50 per hour. The bus monitor position pays approximately $ 5.33 per hour.
A complaint must be dismissed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) only if "it appears beyond a reasonable doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957); see also Easton v. Sundram, 947 F.2d 1011, 1014 (2d Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 504 U.S. 911, 118 L. Ed. 2d 548, 112 S. Ct. 1943 (1992). In addition, in deciding a motion to dismiss, the court must read the facts alleged in the complaint "generously" drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of the party opposing the motion. Cosmas v. Hassett, 886 F.2d 8, 11 (2d Cir. 1989). The trial court's role is to appraise the legal merits of the complaint and not to weigh the evidence which might be introduced at trial. See Ricciuti v. New York City Transit Authority, 941 F.2d 119, 124 (2d Cir. 1991) (plaintiff is not compelled to prove his case at the pleading stage). The issue "is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims." Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 40 L. Ed. 2d 90, 94 S. Ct. 1683 (1974). Finally, the trial court should grant a Rule 12(b)(6) motion "only if is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations." Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 81 L. Ed. 2d 59, 104 S. Ct. 2229 (1984) (citing Conley, 355 U.S. at 45-46).
To state a prima facie case of disability discrimination under the ADA, Christopher must establish: (1) that he is a disabled person within the meaning of the ADA; (2) that he is qualified, that is, with or without reasonable accommodation, he is able to perform the essential functions of the job; and (3) that the employer terminated him because of his disability. White v. York International Corp., 45 F.3d 357, 360-61 (10th Cir. 1995). The parties agree that Christopher is a handicapped individual.
The conflict concerns the related issues of whether Christopher is qualified and to what extent Laidlaw must accommodate him.
A qualified individual with a disability means an individual with a disability who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the employment position that 'such individual holds or desires.' Id. § 12111(8). Qualification standards may include a requirement that an individual shall not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation. Id. § 12111. Discrimination includes "not making reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, unless such covered entity can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of a business of such covered entity. Id. § 12112(b)(5)(A). "The term 'reasonable accommodation' may include . . . reassignment to a vacant position'" Id. § 12111(9).
Laidlaw argues that Christopher is not a qualified individual with a disability. Generally, the determination of whether an individual is otherwise qualified and to what extent he needs an accommodation requires an individualized factual inquiry. As our Supreme Court has advised:
Such an inquiry is essential if [the Act] is to achieve the goal of protecting handicapped individuals from deprivations based on prejudice, stereotypes, or unfounded fear, while giving appropriate weight to such legitimate concerns [such as] exposing others to significant health and safety risks.