The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kaplan, District Judge.
The complaint in this action alleges that defendant violated
the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA")*fn1 when it
terminated plaintiff's employment on January 29, 1993, allegedly
by reason of her disability. Defendant The Chase Manhattan Bank,
sued herein as Chemical/Chase Bank/Manhattan Bank, N.A.
("Chase"), moves for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.
Plaintiff sustained an injury to her left leg in an automobile
accident on February 7, 1992. As the injury prevented her from
doing her job, she stopped working and received short-term
disability benefits from Chase for a period of 26 weeks following
the accident. She thereupon applied for long-term disability
benefits from the bank and from Social Security. She received
Social Security benefits but, after receiving long-term
disability from Chase for one month, the bank's doctor determined
that she was able to work and those benefits terminated. Despite
the view of Chase's doctor, however, plaintiff never returned to
In December 1992, plaintiff was hospitalized for depression and
remained in in-patient psychiatric care through March 1993.
Thereafter, she first was in an acute out-patient program and
then in a long-term program for treatment of her depression
through 1995. It is undisputed that plaintiff has been unable to
work from the date of her accident in 1992 to the present.
On January 21, 1993, Chase wrote to plaintiff at the hospital
in which she then was a psychiatric in-patient. The letter
"Our records indicate you have been absent from the
Bank since February 7, 1992, which is over six
months. There is no information concerning a return
to work in the near future and you are not covered by
Long Term Disability Insurance."
"If you are planning to return to work, please
contact your Human Resources Representative . . .
"If we do not hear from you by January 29, 1993, your
employment will be terminated as of that day."
Chase seeks summary judgment dismissing the complaint on the
grounds that plaintiff has failed to establish that she had a
disability within the meaning of the ADA and, in any case, that
she could not perform the essential functions of her job, with or
without reasonable accommodation. In any case, it argues that
plaintiff never requested a reasonable accommodation. Plaintiff
acknowledges that she was unable to perform her job at any
relevant time, but argues that the bank was obliged to
accommodate her by extending her leave rather than terminating
her. Moreover, she contends that the bank's action in terminating
her aggravated her depression and prevented her from returning to
Broadly stated, the ADA, to the extent relevant here, prohibits
discrimination "against a qualified individual with a disability
because of the disability . . . in regard to . . . discharge of
employees. . . ."*fn2 "`[Q]ualified 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.
. . ."*fn3 "Disability" means (a) "a physical or mental
impairment that substantially limits one or more of ...