The opinion of the court was delivered by: Buchwald, District Judge.
Plaintiff, Hyacinth Broderick Scott ("plaintiff" or "Scott"),
has sued defendant Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
("defendant" or "Memorial"), alleging that defendant failed to
make a reasonable accommodation for her disability in violation
of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"),
42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. She also claims that the defendant discriminated
against her on the basis of her gender and race, in violation of
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, and
on the basis of her age, in violation of the Age Discrimination
in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., by creating
a hostile work environment and by firing her in retaliation for
complaints she made about her supervisor. Defendant has moved
for summary judgment on all claims. For the reasons discussed
below, defendant's motion is granted.
Plaintiff first began working for defendant in July 1984 as a
secretary before being promoted in 1986 to senior administrative
secretary and again in 1988 to administrative assistant. In
1990, plaintiff voluntarily resigned from Memorial but returned
in 1995. She was promoted to Administrative Coordinator in 1998
and given a pay increase. Memorial reimbursed plaintiff for her
full tuition and fees for the cost of completing a doctorate in
healthcare education, which she attained in September
Plaintiff alleges that her November 15 return to work was
contrary to her doctor's instruction and was prompted by Dr.
Bertino's November 8 threat to fire her if she did not return by
the 15th. She alleges that Dr. Bertino complained about her
absences and threatened to fire her when she did not work a full
day, all the while constantly pressing her to voluntarily
resign. Plaintiff also alleges that, in November 1999, Dr.
Bertino gave her a "Below Expectation" job evaluation, but that
he changed it to "Clearly Outstanding" after plaintiff
confronted him. In February 2000, after Dr. Bertino threatened
to give her a negative reference, plaintiff reported him to the
Employee Relations Department. Plaintiff also alleges that Dr.
Bertino threatened to re-staff plaintiffs position as early as
November 1999, with a younger white female. Memorial has stated
that the staffing request filed in November, which was never
filled, was for an "overlap" employee, not a replacement.
Plaintiffs position was not actually filled until July 31, 2000,
and then by a 47 year-old female.
On February 14, 2000, plaintiff went on short-term disability
leave again because of severe back and leg pain. Memorial
informed plaintiff on March 28, 2000, that she would reach the
maximum 26 weeks of disability leave allowable in a 52 week
period on June 30, 2000, and that plaintiff could apply for
long-term disability benefits. Plaintiff applied for long-term
disability benefits from defendant's provider, First UNUM Life
Insurance Company on April 10, 2000. On that application, she
stated that she was in excruciating pain but that she expected
to return to work full-time on April 17, 2000. Plaintiff did
return to work on that date, but she worked for only one week
before going back onto short-term disability leave. On June 23,
2000, First UNUM denied plaintiffs application for long-term
disability benefits because she had not demonstrated that she
was totally disabled and unable to work. Plaintiff appealed the
decision and, on June 23, 2000, informed Memorial that she was
moving back to Florida on June 30, 2000, to continue her
Memorial states that its practice is to terminate employees
who do not return to work upon the expiration of their
short-term leave unless the employee requests some type of
accommodation. This practice was not included in the March 28
letter sent to plaintiff.*fn2 On May 16, 2000, Memorial sent
plaintiff a letter stating that her short-term disability
benefits would expire on July 6, 2000.
When plaintiffs short-term disability benefits expired on July
6, 2000, Memorial administratively terminated plaintiff. On July
30, 2000, Memorial sent plaintiff a final check to account for
her accumulated vacation days. On August 4, 2000, First UNUM
informed Memorial that it had denied plaintiffs request for
long-term benefits, but plaintiff declined to permit the
insurance company to provide the details of its denial to
On September 1, 2000, Memorial sent plaintiff a letter
reiterating that her employment had been terminated as of July
6, 2000, and that it was discontinuing plaintiffs medical,
prescription, and dental benefits because plaintiff had been
denied long-term disability benefits. This letter was sent to
7606 Harbour Boulevard, rather plaintiffs proper address, which
was 7607 Harbour Boulevard. Plaintiff claims never to have
received this letter. On September 18, 2000, plaintiff sent a
letter to Memorial requesting that defendants provide a
reasonable accommodation for her disability under the ADA,
although she did not suggest any particular accommodation. On
October 4, 2000, Memorial sent plaintiff a fax stating that she
had been terminated as of July 6, 2000.
Plaintiff filed her complaint in this action on August 8,
2001. At an initial pretrial conference held on October 5, 2001,
plaintiffs counsel revealed that plaintiff had been unable to
work since she was terminated and had only begun to look for a
new job in the last three to four months, beginning
approximately in June or July of 2001. Based on the state of the
record at the time of the conference, defendant made this motion
for summary judgment on all of plaintiffs claims.
I. Summary Judgment Standard
Summary judgment is properly granted where the "`pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file,
together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no
genuine issue as to material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'" R.B. Ventures, Ltd.
v. Shane, 112 F.3d 54, 57 (2d Cir. 1997) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)). The court may not make any credibility determinations or
weigh the evidence and must make all reasonable inferences in
favor of the non-moving party. Lytle v. Household Mfg. Inc.,
494 U.S. 545, 554-55, 110 S.Ct. 1331, 108 L.Ed.2d 504 (1990).
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure mandate the entry of
summary judgment "against a party who fails to make a showing
sufficient to establish the ...