The plaintiff continued to perform her usual job responsibilities until November 27, 1993, when she fell and sustained an on-the-job back injury while on patrol. Lehmuller reported the accident and was taken to the Southampton Hospital emergency room where she received limited treatment due to her pregnant condition. Subsequently, Lehmuller's personal orthopedic physician instructed her not to return to work. Lehmuller filed a workers' compensation claim and, on December 6, 1993, the Village prepared an "Employer's Report of Work-Related Accident/Occupational Disease."
On December 15, 1993, Chief Ialacci mailed a certified letter to Lehmuller asking that she submit to an examination by Dr. Reese at Suffolk County Headquarters to evaluate her back injury. Lehmuller complied with the Chief's request. Dr. Reese concluded, contrary to Lehmuller's personal doctor, that Lehmuller could perform light-duty work. The plaintiff was notified of the decision and subsequently returned to work on or about January 17, 1994. She was assigned to "Headquarters-schedule" light-duty with responsibilities that consisted of taking walk-in window complaints and assisting with clerical work as a result of her on-the-job injury.
Lehmuller continued to work until she gave birth to her son on April 21, 1994 and used her holiday, sick, vacation, and personal time to remain at home until September 15, 1994 when she returned to work.
Lehmuller filed this lawsuit alleging that the Village discriminated against her because of her pregnancy in violation of both Title VII and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. In addition, the plaintiff claims discrimination because of her back-injury disability in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA"). Finally, the plaintiff maintains that the defendants deprived her of her federal right to free speech based on the alleged retaliation against her for filing the EEOC claim. Specifically, Lehmuller contends that the Village unlawfully required a second examination of her back injury that resulted in her return to work contrary to her own doctor's advice. Further, Lehmuller asserts that her EEOC claim is a protected right to petition the government for redress under the First Amendment and, therefore, the Village's alleged retaliatory actions violated her constitutional right.
A. Standard for Summary Judgment
A court may grant summary judgment "only if the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion, presents no genuine issue of material fact," Cable Science Corp. v. Rochdale Village, Inc., 920 F.2d 147, 151 (2d Cir. 1990), and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c) (summary judgment standard). The court must, however, resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. See Quaratino v. Tiffany Co., 71 F.3d 58, 64 (2d Cir. 1995); Twin Lab., Inc. v. Weider Health & Fitness, 900 F.2d 566, 568 (2d Cir. 1990); Knight v. U.S. Fire Ins. Co., 804 F.2d 9, 11 (2d Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 480 U.S. 932, 94 L. Ed. 2d 762, 107 S. Ct. 1570 (1987).
According to the Second Circuit "summary judgment is a tool to winnow out from the trial calendar those cases whose facts predestine them to result in a directed verdict." United Nat'l Ins. Co. v. The Tunnel, Inc., 988 F.2d 351, 355 (2d Cir. 1993). Once a party moves for summary judgment, to avoid the granting of the motion, the non-movant must come forward with specific facts showing that a genuine issue for trial exists. See Western World Ins. Co. v. Stack Oil, Inc., 922 F.2d 118, 121 (2d Cir. 1990) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)); see also Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co. v. Turtur, 892 F.2d 199, 203 (2d Cir. 1989). A genuine issue of material fact exists if "a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 248; see Vann v. New York City, 72 F.3d 1040, 1048 (2d Cir. 1995).
Mere conclusory allegations, speculation or conjecture will not, however, avail a party resisting summary judgment. See Western World, 922 F.2d at 121. If there is evidence in the record as to any material fact from which an inference could be drawn in favor of the non-movant, summary judgment is unavailable. See United Nat'l, 988 F.2d at 354-55; Rattner v. Netburn, 930 F.2d 204, 209 (2d Cir. 1991). Finally, the court is charged with the function of "issue finding," not "issue resolution." Gallo v. Prudential Residential Servs., Ltd. Partnership, 22 F.3d 1219, 1224 (2d Cir. 1994).
It is within this framework that the Court addresses the grounds for the present motions for summary judgment.
B. Title VII of the Civil Rights of Act of 1964
Section 2000e-2 of Title VII provides that:
(a) it shall be an unlawful employment practice
(1) to . . . discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of such individual's race, color, religion, or sex . . . .