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Laurent v. G & G Bus Service, Inc.

United States District Court, Second Circuit

September 25, 2013

GUY LAURENT, Plaintiff,
v.
G & G BUS SERVICE, INC., and FIRST STUDENT, INC., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN G. KOELTL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Guy Laurent brings this action against G & G Bus Service, Inc. ("G & G"), alleging that G & G violated the prohibition of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against pre-employment medical examinations and inquiries, 42 U.S.C. § 12112(d)(2)(A). Because First Student, Inc. ("First Student") subsequently purchased the assets of G & G, the plaintiff also seeks to hold First Student liable under the successor liability doctrine.

The Court has received the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Smith recommending that the defendants' motion for summary judgment be granted. The plaintiff has objected to the Report and Recommendation, and therefore the Court reviews the Report and Recommendation de novo. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); see also DeJesus v. Chater , 899 F.Supp. 1171, 1174-75 (S.D.N.Y. 1995).

I.

The standard for granting summary judgment is well established. "The [C]ourt shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Gallo v. Prudential Residential Servs. L.P. , 22 F.3d 1219, 1223 (2d Cir. 1994). "[T]he trial court's task at the summary judgment motion stage of the litigation is carefully limited to discerning whether there are genuine issues of material fact to be tried, not to deciding them. Its duty, in short, is confined at this point to issue-finding; it does not extend to issue-resolution." Gallo , 22 F.3d at 1224.

The moving party bears the initial burden of "informing the district court of the basis for its motion" and identifying the matter that "it believes demonstrate[s] the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex , 477 U.S. at 323. The substantive law governing the case will identify those facts that are material and "[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

In determining whether summary judgment is appropriate, a court must resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences against the moving party. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp. , 475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986) (citing United States v. Diebold, Inc. , 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962)); see also Gallo , 22 F.3d at 1223. Summary judgment is improper if there is any evidence in the record from any source from which a reasonable inference could be drawn in favor of the nonmoving party. See Chambers v. TRM Copy Ctrs. Corp. , 43 F.3d 29, 37 (2d Cir. 1994). If the moving party meets its burden, the nonmoving party must produce evidence in the record and "may not rely simply on conclusory statements or on contentions that the affidavits supporting the motion are not credible...." Ying Jing Gan v. City of New York , 996 F.2d 522, 532 (2d Cir. 1993); see also Scotto v. Almenas , 143 F.3d 105, 114-15 (2d Cir. 1998) (collecting cases).

II.

The Court assumes the parties' general familiarity with the record and briefly summarizes the facts as follows. Unless otherwise noted, the facts below are undisputed by the parties.

On September 8, 2008, the plaintiff applied for a position with G & G to become a school bus driver. (Clunis Decl. Ex. D.) On the same day, the plaintiff had an interview with Sharon Becz, G & G's vice president at that time. (Okoronkwo Decl. Ex. 2 ("Pl. Dep.") at 22:9-12.) The parties dispute whether Becz made a job offer to the plaintiff on that day with the condition that the plaintiff obtain medical certification, or whether Becz declined to extend an offer until the plaintiff obtained such certification. (Compare Clunis Decl. Ex. B ("Becz Dep.") at 51-52 with Pl. Dep. at 96 and Pl. Aff. ¶ 3; compare Defendants' Rule 56.1 Statement ("Defs.' 56.1") ¶ 15 with Plaintiff's Response to Defendants Rule 56.1 Statement ("Pl.'s 56.1") ¶ 15.) However, it is undisputed that G & G required the plaintiff to take a physical examination and be certified by Partners in Safety, Inc. ("PIS"), an entity that handles all of G & G's needs for pre-employment physical examinations and certifications. (Clunis Decl. Ex. N ¶¶ 9-10.) Becz also asked the plaintiff whether he could pass a "drug test." (Becz Dep. at 54-55.) In addition, the plaintiff alleges, and the defendants deny, that G & G requested that the plaintiff undergo a nuclear stress test in October 2008, which, the plaintiff claims, was "invasive" and caused him emotional distress. (Pl. Aff. ¶¶ 9-10; Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 40; Def.'s Statement in Resp. to Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 40.)

On September 10, 2008, the plaintiff visited PIS for the medical examination. (Okoronkwo Decl. Ex. 4 ¶ 10.) He filled out part of a "Physical Examination Report, " (Okoronkwo Decl. Ex. 5), and underwent a physical examination performed by a PIS employee, Patricia Quinones. (Okoronkwo Decl. Ex. 4 ¶ 10.) On the Physical Examination Report, the plaintiff indicated that he was hospitalized in June 2008 for a "ministroke." (Okoronkwo Decl. Ex. 5.) However, the plaintiff was not sure if he indeed had a stroke, and Quinones asked the plaintiff to obtain a note from his neurologist as well as his hospital records. (Pl. Dep. at 51, 68-69.)

The parties now dispute whether the plaintiff had indeed suffered a stroke around June 2008. In any event, PIS eventually reported to G & G that the plaintiff did suffer a stroke in June, (Becz Dep. at 92-93, 101), and did not certify the plaintiff for a school bus driver position. (Clunis Decl. Ex. N ¶ 11.) In the end, based on the physical examination results provided by PIS, G & G did not hire the plaintiff because he had suffered a stroke within a year prior to applying for the position and thus failed to pass the physical examination.[1] (Becz Dep. at 97-98, 101.) The plaintiff now alleges that, as a result of these medical examinations, he suffered from injuries including lost job opportunities, emotional distress, and two hundred dollars of out-of-pocket expenses. (Pl. Aff. ¶¶ 12-17.)

III.

The ADA provides that "a covered entity shall not conduct a medical examination or make inquiries of a job applicant as to whether such applicant is an individual with a disability or as to the nature or severity of such disability." 42 U.S.C. § 12112(d)(2)(A). However, a covered entity is permitted to "make preemployment inquiries into the ability of an ...


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