United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
MICHAEL F. REESE, SR., Plaintiff,
KRONES, INC., Defendant.
DECISION AND ORDER
WILLIAM E. DUFFIN, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Michael Reese filed this action against defendant Krones,
Inc., his employer, alleging violations of Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 for failure to accommodate his
disability. (ECF No. 39.) Both Reese (ECF No. 55) and Krones
(ECF No. 57) have moved for summary judgment. Reese has also
asked the court to strike Krones's corrected documents or
to apply Krones's previously filed responses. (ECF No.
79.) The court construes this request as a motion to strike.
All parties have consented to the full jurisdiction of a
magistrate judge. (ECF Nos. 4, 18.) Briefing on the motions
is closed and all are ready for resolution.
Facts and History
motion for summary judgment Krones complied with Civ. L. R.
56(a)(1)(A) and 56(a)(1)(B). (ECF No. 57 at 3-8.) However, by
not responding to Krones's proposed findings of fact (ECF
No. 58), Reese's response (ECF No. 65) failed to comply
with Civ. L. R. 56(b)(2)(B). Accordingly, the court deems
Krones's proposed findings of fact admitted. See
Civ. L. R. 56(b)(4) (“The Court will deem
uncontroverted statements of material fact admitted solely
for the purpose of deciding summary judgment.”).
located in Franklin, Wisconsin, manufactures fully integrated
packaging and bottling line systems, as well as integrated
brew house and processing systems, IT solutions, and
warehouse logistics systems. (ECF No. 58, ¶ 5.) Reese
has worked as Maintenance Support Staff in the Facilities
Maintenance Department of Krones since April 19, 2010.
(Id., ¶ 4.) The job requirements include
“lifting/carrying objects weighing a maximum of 50
pounds; climbing, sitting, bending, and reaching; frequent
standing and walking; extensive physical exertion
approximately 50% of the workday; and using dollies, mowers,
floor sweepers, automobiles, trucks, and forklifts to
accomplish tasks.” (Id., ¶ 8.) Mark
Doolittle was Reese's supervisor from December 30, 2012,
to March 23, 2017. (Id., ¶ 9.)
his time at Krones Reese had issues with his performance,
attendance, and behavior. (ECF No. 58, ¶ 11.) He was
given two written warnings in 2014 about attendance issues
and abusing his sick time. (Id., ¶¶
14-15.) In 2015 Reese hurt his ankle while playing tennis.
(Id., ¶ 16.) He told Doolittle about this
injury the next day but continued to both work and play
tennis. (Id.) On December 29, 2015, he was put on
work restrictions by Dr. Robbin Papendick, Krones's
occupational medicine physician, and Dr. Patrick Spiering,
Reese's primary care doctor. (Id., ¶ 18.)
Reese was not permitted to climb ladders, climb stairs if
carrying anything, lift anything over twenty pounds, and
could only squat for one hour each day. (Id.) These
restrictions were in place until February 2, 2016.
(Id.) Whenever Krones could, it gave Reese lighter
or alternative work or put him on paid leave if there was not
work for him to do. (Id., ¶ 20.) Reese was
released to work full-time without any restrictions on June
20, 2016. (Id., ¶ 22.) Reese knew he was no
longer subject to any work restrictions (Id., ¶
23), and Krones believed that Reese's ankle and foot were
better (Id., ¶ 24).
2016 Reese talked with Doolittle about Krones buying a
motorized cart for him to use at work. (ECF No. 58, ¶
25.) Krones determined that the cart was not in the budget
and not something that was used in the department where Reese
worked. (Id.) Reese never told Krones that having a
motorized cart was necessary for him to do his job.
(Id., ¶ 30.)
August 2016 Reese received a warning about his performance
and conduct during an emergency for his department. (ECF No.
58, ¶ 27.) During a power outage throughout the facility
Reese was not available to help because he was in the
January 2017 Reese's ankle was bothering him again,
although not to the point where he needed medical attention
or work restrictions. (ECF No. 58, ¶ 28.) Reese asked
Doolittle about replacing the flooring of the bucket lift.
(Id.) Krones decided to not replace the flooring
because doing so would require replacing the entire bucket
lift, which was not within the budget. (Id.) Reese
never told Krones that replacing the flooring was necessary
for him to do his job. (Id., ¶ 30.)
January and February 2017 Reese was reprimanded for not
following directions, not wearing appropriate eye protection,
not cleaning up his break area, and not completing his work
in a timely manner. (ECF No. 58, ¶¶ 31, 32, 34.) On
February 28, 2017, he was suspended for three days “for
failing to follow directions, violating the Company's
safety standards, and overall performance issues.”
(Id., ¶ 33.) He was not suspended because of
any alleged disability. (Id.)
though Reese was supposed to return to work on March 2, 2017,
he used vacation and sick time and did not return until March
20, 2017. (ECF No. 58, ¶ 36.) On March 20, 2017, one of
Reese's jobs was to move twenty-five banker's boxes.
(Id., ¶ 37.) This was not the first time Reese
had completed this task, and after finishing he worked for
the rest of the day. (Id.) Reese worked on March 21,
2017, but called in sick the next day. (Id., ¶
38.) He also called in sick on March 23, 2017, but did come
in to complete an incident report. (Id., ¶ 39.)
March 23, 2017, was the last day Reese was at work.
(Id., ¶ 40.)
25, 2017, Dr. Jamie Edwards told Krones that Reese was
“totally disabled due to neck and back pain.”
(ECF No. 58, ¶ 41.) Dr. Edwards said Reese could return
to work in June 2017, depending on how his treatment went.
(Id.) Reese received short-term disability benefits
from Krones's benefit carrier from March 24, 2017, to
September 17, 2017, and long-term disability benefits from
September 18, 2017, to the present. (Id.,
¶¶ 46-47.) Beginning on October 1, 2017, Reese
began receiving Social Security disability benefits because
it was “found that [Reese] has a long-term medical
condition that prevents him from any job for which he is
qualified.” (Id., ¶ 48.) As of June 26,
2019, Krones's accounting system listed him as an
employee on inactive status. (Id., ¶ 49.)
filed a discrimination complaint on March 3, 2017, with the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the State
of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Equal Rights
Division (ERD). (ECF No. 58, ¶ 50.) His complaint
alleged discrimination by Krones on the basis of his age and
disability. (ECF No. 58, ¶ 51; ECF No. 62-1 at 1.) It
contained the following alleged occurrences of
On 2-24-17, I was very loudly screemed at by two different
bosses from 2 different department. I was humiliated because
it was unjustified and there were 8 other coworks present. My
depression began again. Then on ...