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Lindeman v. Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 9, 2018

Todd E. Lindeman Plaintiff- Appellant
Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City Defendant-Appellee

          Submitted: April 11, 2018

          Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri - Kansas City

          Before COLLOTON, SHEPHERD, and STRAS, Circuit Judges.

          SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.

         Over eight years, Todd Lindeman worked in a number of positions for St. Luke's Hospital of Kansas City. Though much of that time was uneventful, he quickly progressed through the stages of St. Luke's disciplinary policy from January to April 2014. After his fourth infraction, Lindeman was terminated. Thereafter, he sued St. Luke's, alleging discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). St. Luke's filed a motion for summary judgment, which the district court[1] granted. Lindeman appeals, and we affirm.


         Lindeman began working for St. Luke's in 2006 when he was 40 years old. Although he enjoyed a good employment record for much of his tenure, this changed when Todd Isbell and Rosa Parodi became his supervisors at some point in 2013. According to Lindeman-who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, bipolar disorder, and other physical limitations-Isbell and Parodi were much more demanding, and much less pleasant to work with, than his previous supervisor, Lorra Embers.[2]

         St. Luke's has a progressive discipline system under which an employee receives a verbal warning for the first infraction, a written warning for a second infraction, a suspension or second written warning for a third infraction, and termination for any subsequent infraction. Further, the hospital has clear rules prohibiting the dissemination of confidential patient information, including patient names. When he began his employment at St. Luke's, Lindeman received copies of these policies, and the hospital also periodically conducted additional training sessions on patient confidentiality.

         On January 1, 2014, Lindeman received a verbal warning after he became argumentative when receiving coaching for failing to answer or return a supervisor's phone calls. Later that month, Lindeman received a written warning for failing to abide by the hospital's timecard and call-in procedures at least five times in two weeks. In late February, Lindeman received a temporary suspension for failing to call in prior to missing a scheduled shift. Finally, in April 2014, Lindeman mentioned the name of a patient to a number of individuals inside and outside of the St. Luke's facility, which violated the hospital's confidentiality policies. This fourth infraction qualified him for termination, which occurred on April 25, 2014.

         Lindeman then brought this suit against St. Luke's, asserting claims under the ADA and ADEA. After discovery, St. Luke's moved for summary judgment, and the district court granted the motion. Lindeman appeals.


         Lindeman asserts that the district court erred in granting St. Luke's motion for summary judgment. We "review[] de novo a grant of summary judgment," Torgerson v. City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011) (en banc), "viewing the evidence and drawing all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to [Lindeman], the nonmoving party." Kirkeberg v. Canadian Pac. Ry., 619 F.3d 898, 903 (8th Cir. 2010). We will affirm if "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). Specifically, Lindeman argues on appeal that he has shown that St. Luke's reason for his termination is pretext for intentional disability discrimination[3] and that he exhausted his administrative remedies on his failure-to-accommodate claim. We address each in turn.


         The ADA prohibits discrimination "on the basis of disability." 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a). When presented only with circumstantial evidence, we analyze ADA claims under the familiar McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis. EEOC v. Prod. Fabricators, Inc., 763 F.3d 963, 969 (8th Cir. 2014). To survive a motion for summary judgment under this analysis, the employee has "the initial burden of proving a prima facie case of discrimination." McNary v. Schreiber Foods, Inc., 535 F.3d 765, 768 (8th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted). The burden then shifts to the employer "to articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). Finally, "the burden shifts back to the plaintiff to show that the employer's proffered reason is merely a pretext for intentional discrimination." Prod. Fabricators, 763 F.3d at 969. Here, on summary judgment and on appeal, the parties have assumed that Lindeman can establish his prima facie case. Further, St. Luke's proffered reason for Lindeman's termination-disclosure of confidential information in violation of hospital policies-is a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action. See Twymon v. Wells Fargo ...

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