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MCINTOSH v. BROOKDALE HOSP. MED. CTR.

October 10, 1996

MONICA MCINTOSH, Plaintiff, against BROOKDALE HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER, Defendant.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SEYBERT

 SEYBERT, District Judge:

 In the instant case, plaintiff Monica McIntosh alleges that she was fired from her job as a registered nurse for defendant Brookdale Hospital Medical Center ["Brookdale Hospital"] in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. [the "ADA"], and section 296 of the New York State Executive Law. According to the plaintiff, the defendant terminated her employment because she had hypertension, and now asserts a violent incident that plaintiff purportedly instigated as a pretext for her termination.

 Pending before the Court is defendant's motion for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons that will be further explained below, defendant's motion is granted and this action is dismissed in its entirety.

 FACTUAL BACKGROUND

 Viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the record shows that plaintiff Monica McIntosh began her employment as a registered nurse with defendant Brookdale Hospital in February of 1981, and was assigned to the Schulman Institute, a section of Brookdale Hospital that operates a nursing home. See Compl. PP 12-13. From February of 1981 through November 20, 1992, plaintiff's employment with the defendant was without incident.

 On November 21, 1992, plaintiff entered the main entrance of Brookdale Hospital, whereupon a security guard, Mr. Garcia, requested to see plaintiff's identification. Plaintiff was unable to find her identification, and continued to walk forward. See McIntosh Aff. P 2.

 Mr. Garcia then grabbed plaintiff by the left hand. Garcia refused plaintiff's request to make a phone call to the unit where she worked to inform her superiors that she would be late. See id. PP 3-4.

 Several other security guards subsequently arrived at the scene. While Mr. Garcia resumed holding plaintiff's left hand, Lieutenant Cirello grabbed plaintiff's right hand. See id. P 5. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Daniels, a supervisor in the nursing office, informed the guards that plaintiff was an employee of the hospital. According to plaintiff, another supervisor told Daniels not to get involved. See id. P 6.

 Plaintiff then remarked that if she were a white nurse she would not be treated in this manner, and attempted to yank her hand away. As she did so, her arm knocked Lieutenant Cirello's glasses off. See id. PP 7-8. Thereupon, Mr. Davis, one of the guards, told the guards holding the plaintiff to let her go, and asked plaintiff to follow him to make out a report. Plaintiff then informed Mr. Davis that she was late for work, and proceeded to exit the building. See id. PP 9-10.

 As plaintiff attempted to exit the building, two of the guards chased her, and one of them grabbed her by the neck and dragged her inside the building. As a result thereof, plaintiff's buttons were pulled off her coat and her blouse, and her bra strap was broken. See id. PP 10-11.

 Shortly thereafter, Ms. Jones, a supervisor, asked plaintiff to prepare a report describing what transpired and handed plaintiff a form. Upon taking this form with her to the floor where she worked, plaintiff began to feel ill. Plaintiff then asked a nurse to take her blood pressure, and it registered 180/120. See id. P 15.

 Plaintiff then called Ms. Jones to inform her that she felt ill and wished to go to the emergency room. See id. P 16. In the emergency room, plaintiff's blood pressure was taken once more and again registered 180/120. Plaintiff was given medication for hypertension, provided a place to rest, and had her blood pressure monitored at regular intervals. After several hours, plaintiff's blood pressure fell to 160/110. At that point, plaintiff was given a prescription by the emergency room physician, sent home, and was instructed to see a private physician. See id. P 17, Ex. A.

 Ms. Jones called plaintiff that evening to inquire if she would be reporting to work the next day. Plaintiff responded that she would not because she still felt ill. Jones did not request that plaintiff provide a statement concerning the incident. See id. P 18. Plaintiff subsequently called in sick the next day. See id. P 19.

 On November 23, 1992, plaintiff visited her private physician who suggested that plaintiff be given two weeks' sick leave as a result of her hypertension. See id. P 20, Ex. B.

 Later on November 23, 1992, Margaret Burke, the Acting Director of Nursing at Brookdale Hospital, telephoned the plaintiff, at the request of Christine Edwards, the Assistant Director of Human Resources at Brookdale Hospital. See McIntosh Aff. P 21; Burke Aff. PP 2, 4, 5; Edwards Aff. PP 1, 2, 6. During this telephone conversation, plaintiff informed Burke of her physician's recommendation that she not return to work for two weeks. Burke did not request at that time that a report of the incident be provided to her. In addition, plaintiff did not make any reference to the necessity of consulting an attorney prior to speaking to her. See McIntosh Aff. P 21; compare Burke Aff. P 5 (testimony refuted by plaintiff's affidavit).

 Approximately one week later, Burke again telephoned the plaintiff to request that she come to Brookdale Hospital. The record is uncontroverted that during this telephone conversation plaintiff told Burke that, upon the advice of her attorney, she would not attend any meeting at Brookdale Hospital or discuss the incident that transpired on November 21, 1992 with either Burke or Edwards. See Burke Aff. P 6.

 Later that same day, Burke reported to Edwards that plaintiff had refused to participate in any discussion of the November 21, 1992 incident. See Burke Aff. P 7. Edwards thereupon suspended plaintiff indefinitely. See Edwards Aff. P 8. In connection with this determination, on December 8, 1992 Edwards wrote a letter to Local 1199 (of which plaintiff was a member) stating that plaintiff "had been suspended indefinitely pending investigation of a serious incident." Edwards Aff. P 9, Ex. C.

 Plaintiff returned to work on December 7, 1992, one day prior to her indefinite suspension. See McIntosh Aff. P 22. According to a note provided by her physician, Dr. Sinha, as of December 7, 1992 plaintiff had recovered sufficiently from her hypertension to enable her to return to work without any restrictions. See id. Ex. B. Upon returning to work, plaintiff reported to the Employees' Health Services Unit where she was examined, registered a blood pressure level of 160/110, and was informed that her blood pressure was too high to permit her to be cleared for work. See id. P 22. Plaintiff thereafter returned to her private physician, who recommended two additional weeks of sick leave. Plaintiff then notified the nursing office at Brookdale Hospital of her physician's recommendation. See id. P 23.

 On December 18, 1992, having not heard from the plaintiff, Edwards notified Local 1199 in writing that she "had reviewed the indefinite suspension of [plaintiff] and said suspension is hereby converted to ...


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