Submitted: December 13, 2018
from United States District Court for the Southern District
of Iowa - Des Moines
LOKEN and ERICKSON, Circuit Judges, and MAGNUSON,  District
MAGNUSON, DISTRICT JUDGE.
Raul Gardea appeals the District Court's grant of summary
judgment in favor of Appellees JBS USA, LLC and Swift Pork
Company (collectively, "JBS"). For the following
reasons, we affirm.
Raul Gardea worked at Appellee Swift Pork Company, a wholly
owned subsidiary of Appellee JBS USA, as a maintenance
mechanic at JBS's pork processing facility in
Marshalltown, Iowa. In early 2014, Gardea was treated for
carpal tunnel syndrome in his right wrist. In February 2014,
Gardea's main treating physician, Dr. Paulson, imposed a
temporary work restriction limiting Gardea to lifting no more
than 40 pounds with his right arm.
temporary work restrictions changed multiple times throughout
2014, as his physicians continued to increase and lower the
amount of work he could do with his right arm based upon his
capacity and level of pain. JBS accommodated Gardea's
work restrictions during this time by giving him light duty
in October 2014, Gardea underwent a functional capacity
evaluation ("FCE"). Based on the FCE, the testing
physician imposed new work restrictions: waist to floor
lifting of 35 pounds; waist to crown lifting of 25 pounds;
bilateral carrying of 30 pounds; and right unilateral
carrying of 15 pounds. Gardea's physician also noted that
he had significant difficulty holding, grabbing, and
releasing tools, and doubted his ability to return to work as
a mechanic. In November 2014, Dr. Paulson concluded that
Gardea had reached maximum medical improvement and made the
work restrictions from the FCE permanent.
determined that Gardea could no longer perform the duties of
a maintenance mechanic because of his permanent work
restrictions. Specifically, JBS concluded that it could not
accommodate Gardea's lifting restrictions because his job
duties required him to regularly lift objects weighing more
than 40 pounds. On December 1, 2014, JBS told Gardea that he
was medically disqualified from the maintenance mechanic
position due to his permanent restrictions. JBS offered
Gardea six replacement jobs that would not interfere with his
work restrictions. Gardea had no interest in the jobs for
various reasons, including pay, hours, and job
responsibilities, and he turned down every offer. JBS placed
him on medical leave without pay, stating that he was free to
apply for other jobs as they came open. Instead, Gardea found
other employment and his employment with JBS ended
automatically after 12 months on leave.
filed suit against JBS pursuant to the Americans with
Disabilities Act ("ADA"), the Iowa Civil Rights Act
("ICRA"), and the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law
("IWPCL"). Gardea's complaint contained two
counts: first, a failure-to-accommodate claim and a
termination claim under the ADA and ICRA, and second, an
IWPCL claim, alleging that JBS intentionally failed to pay
Gardea a portion of his earned wages. In March 2017, JBS
sought summary judgment on all issues. In May 2017, the
district court granted JBS's motion for summary judgment.
Standard of Review
review a grant of summary judgment de novo. Torgerson v.
City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011)
(en banc). Summary judgment is proper "if the pleadings,
the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any
affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and ...