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Parada v. Banco Indus. de Venezuela, C.A.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

March 25, 2014

CARMEN PARADA, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
BANCO INDUSTRIAL DE VENEZUELA, C.A., ALEXANDRA BERMEO, EVP General Manager, OSCAR RECINOS, Operations Manager, DAIHANA FERNANDEZ, Letters of Credit Supervisor, IRIS ROSA, IT Officer, FRANKLYN FELIX, Paying and Receiving Department, DANIEL BETANCES, Compliance Officer, FLOR VALERDI, Compliance Officer, Defendants-Appellees

Argued August 29, 2013.

Page 63

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 64

DAVID THOMAS AZRIN, Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, LLP, New York, NY, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

GREGORY SETH GLICKMAN (Maureen Maria Stampp, on the brief), Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, New York, NY, for Defendants-Appellees.

Before: RAGGI, LYNCH, and LOHIER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

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LOHIER, Circuit Judge:

The primary question presented by this appeal is whether an employee's inability to sit for a prolonged time may constitute a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (" ADA" ), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Stein, J.) granted summary judgment in favor of Banco Industrial de Venezuela, C.A. (" BIV" or " the Bank" ), dismissing Carmen Parada's claims of discrimination and retaliation under the ADA and analogous State and local laws, as well as her claim for overtime pay and penalties under the Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA" ), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. In dismissing the discrimination claim, the District Court held that Parada's inability to sit for a prolonged period of time, due to a spinal injury that she sustained in 2007, could not constitute a disability under the ADA as a matter of law. For the reasons explained herein, we conclude that such a categorical legal determination is unwarranted and, accordingly, we vacate that portion of the judgment and remand for further proceedings. The District Court's disposition of Parada's remaining federal claims is affirmed.

Background

1. Facts

In reviewing the District Court's grant of summary judgment in favor of BIV, " we construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, drawing all reasonable inferences and resolving all ambiguities in [her] favor." In re Omnicom Grp., Inc. Sec. Litig., 597 F.3d 501, 504 (2d Cir. 2010) (quotation marks omitted).

Parada worked for BIV as a Senior Letters of Credit Specialist, a largely sedentary job that involved organizing credit letter applications, ensuring that certain documents complied with various standards,

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and issuing credit letters. Parada regularly worked more than forty hours per week. She initially submitted her overtime hours until BIV informed her that she was in fact exempt from receiving overtime payments under the FLSA.

Nearly six months into her job, in April 2007, Parada fell on a sidewalk and hurt her back severely enough that she could no longer sit for long periods of time. Her injury prompted her to stand for portions of the workday and to ice her neck and back. After diagnosing Parada with lumbosacral and cervical sprains and several spinal disc herniations, Parada's doctors directed her to avoid sitting for prolonged periods.

Soon afterward, Parada requested an ergonomic chair from BIV's Operations Manager, a bank supervisor. There is no dispute that an ergonomic chair might have enabled Parada to remain at work.[1] In October 2007, having received no response, Parada asked again for a chair and even offered to pay for it, to no avail. In late October or early November 2007 Parada complained to the Bank that she could not continue working without a better chair. Finally, the Operations Manager promised to respond when he returned from a business trip, but advised Parada to speak with another bank supervisor in the interim. Parada's exchange with the Operations Manager appears to have been the last straw. It prompted her to complain to BIV's Compliance Officer that the Bank had failed ...


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