United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Paul Greene brought this action against defendant Railcrew
Express, LLC (“Railcrew”), alleging that Railcrew
retaliated against him in violation of the Family and Medical
Leave Act of 1993 (“the Act”) when it terminated
him at the end of his unpaid leave period. Railcrew moved for
summary judgment (#34). Greene did not oppose the motion.
Thus, the matters in Railcrew's statement of
uncontroverted facts (#35-1) are deemed admitted for the
purposes of this motion. E. D. Mo. L. R. 7-4.01(E). For the
reasons explained below, the motion will be granted.
early 2016, Greene was a general manager for Railcrew.
Railcrew provides transportation for crews that work for
railroads and barges. Each general manager oversees the
locations in his or her assigned division. In early 2016,
Greene's division comprised around twenty-two locations
in six states.
job involved a lot traveling. As a general manager, he was
required to do the following in his assigned locations: (1)
attend safety meetings, (2) visit all railroad management on
a regular basis, and (3) attend quarterly service unit
reviews. Given all this traveling, one of the physical
requirements of Greene's job was the ability to sit for
extended periods of time, usually driving. Greene hoped to
visit each of his locations at least once a month. He was on
the road weekly until November 2015, when he began having
shoulder pain. From November 2015 to February 2016, Greene
spent about half his time on the road.
early February 2016, Greene had shoulder surgery. He took the
full twelve weeks' unpaid leave provided by the Act.
Then, his doctor released him to return to work with three
restrictions. Greene was not to engage in (1) overhead
lifting more than five pounds, (2) below the shoulder lifting
more than fifteen pounds, or (3) long distance driving.
Greene told Railcrew's Human Resources Department about
restrictions prevented Greene from performing his job duties.
So Railcrew's Vice President of Human Resources
terminated Greene. The Vice President noted six reasons why
Railcrew could not accommodate Greene's restrictions: (1)
Greene's division requires distance travel to manage the
locations, (2) there was no set return-to-work date, (3)
Railcrew was understaffed in the area, (4) Railcrew was
stretched thin for management capacity, (5) Greene's
position required the ability to lift more than his
restriction, and (6) extended periods and distances of
driving were required to cover trips for driver shortages.
then filed this action against Railway, alleging violations
under the Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“the ADA”). He voluntarily dismissed his count
under the ADA (#21). As of June 2017, Greene's pain
prevented him from working in any position. He receives
long-term disability benefits because he is unable to perform
the main duties of his occupation.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, a district court may
grant a motion for summary judgment if all of the information
before the court demonstrates that “there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and  the moving party is
entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Poller
v. Columbia Broadcasting Sys., Inc., 368 U.S. 464, 467
(1962). The burden is on the moving party. City of Mt.
Pleasant v. Assoc. Elec. Coop., Inc., 838 F.2d 268, 273
(8th Cir. 1988). After the moving party discharges this
burden, the nonmoving party must do more than show that there
is some doubt as to the facts. Matsushita Elec.
Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586
(1986). Instead, the nonmoving party bears the burden of
setting forth specific facts showing that there is sufficient
evidence in its favor to allow a jury to return a verdict for
it. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
249 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must
review the facts in a light most favorable to the party
opposing the motion and give that party the benefit of any
inferences that logically can be drawn from those facts.
Buller v. Buechler, 706 F.2d 844, 846 (8th Cir.
1983). The court is required to resolve all conflicts of
evidence in favor of the nonmoving party. Robert Johnson
Grain Co. v. Chem. Interchange Co., 541 F.2d 207, 210
(8th Cir. 1976).
provides eligible employees with up to twelve weeks'
unpaid leave during a twelve-month period if “a serious
health condition  makes the employee unable to perform the
functions” of the employee's position. 29 U.S.C.
§ 2612(a)(1)(D). Usually, an employee must be restored
to the employee's pre-leave position (or an equivalent
one) at the end of the leave period. Id. §
2614(a)(1). But “an employee is not entitled to
restoration if, at the end of the  leave period, the
employee is still unable to perform an essential function of
the job.” Hatchett v. Philander Smith College,
251 F.3d 670, 677 (8th Cir. 2001); see also Battle v.
United Parcel Serv., Inc., 438 F.3d 856, 864 (8th Cir.
2006); Bloom v. Metro Heart Grp. of St. Louis, Inc.,
440 F.3d 1025, 1031 (8th Cir. 2006).
“does not require an employer to allow an employee to
stay in a position that the employee cannot perform. This
type of claim is addressed ...