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BRIL v. DEAN WITTER

September 9, 1997

BERTA BRIL, Plaintiff, against DEAN WITTER, DISCOVER & CO., Defendant.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SCHEINDLIN

 SHIRA A. SCHEINDLIN, U.S.D.J.:

 Berta Bril ("Bril" or "Plaintiff") brings this action against her former employer Dean Witter Reynolds Inc., sued herein as Dean Witter, Discover & Co. ("Dean Witter" or "Defendant"), alleging a violation of Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. (the "ADA"). Dean Witter has moved to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below, Defendant's motion is granted and the complaint is dismissed.

 I. Facts

 Bril was hired by Dean Witter in 1983 as an accountant and received satisfactory ratings for her work performance throughout her employment. Complaint ("Cmpl."), PP 7-8. On December 27, 1993, Plaintiff suffered a nervous breakdown and never returned to work. Id. at P 12. In May of 1994, Plaintiff applied for long-term disability benefits under Dean Witter's long-term disability insurance plan. *fn1" Id. P 16. In June of 1994, Dean Witter's insurance carrier determined that Plaintiff had a disability and approved her claim for long-term disability benefits. Id. at P 17.

 Defendant's insurance plan differentiates between psychiatric and physical illnesses. Id. at P 14. Coverage is provided to people with physical disabilities without limit until age 65 whereas coverage for people with disabilities caused by "mental, psychoneurotic and personal disorders" is limited to two years. Id. Accordingly, Plaintiff's benefits were discontinued on June 21, 1996. Id. at P 18.

 Plaintiff filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on August 2, 1996 claiming that the long-term disability insurance provided by Dean Witter discriminates on the basis of disability in violation of Title I of the ADA. Id. at P 21. The EEOC issued a "right-to-sue" letter to Plaintiff on August 26, 1996. Id. at P 23. This action followed.

 II. The Legal Standard

 A motion to dismiss must be decided based on the allegations contained on the face of the complaint. Kramer v. Time Warner, Inc., 937 F.2d 767, 773 (2d Cir. 1991). In deciding such a motion, the Court must accept as true all of plaintiff's factual allegations. Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 283, 92 L. Ed. 2d 209, 106 S. Ct. 2932 (1986). Moreover, the Court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Kaluczky v. City of White Plains, 57 F.3d 202, 206 (2d Cir. 1995). Such a motion cannot be granted simply because recovery appears remote or unlikely; "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). Rather, dismissal is only warranted where "'it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.'" Id. (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957)).

 III. Discussion

 A. The Statute

 With regard to discrimination, the ADA provides that:

 
No covered entity shall discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability because of the disability of such individual in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a) (emphasis added). The regulations expressly prohibit discrimination with respect to "fringe benefits available by virtue of employment, whether or not administered by the covered entity. . . ." 29 C.F.R. § 1630.4. Title I of the ADA, however, is only applicable to a "qualified individual with a disability" *fn2" which has been defined as "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." 42 U.S.C. § 12111(8). The issue presented is whether Plaintiff, who ...


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