United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant T-Mobile USA, Inc.
(“T-Mobile”)'s Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment, Dkt. #29. T-Mobile seeks summary judgment on
whether Plaintiff Arthur Roness, as a matter of law, was
qualified to perform the essential functions of his Senior
Technician, Data Center position. Plaintiff opposes
T-Mobile's Motion in its entirety. Dkt. #40.
reviewed the Motion, Plaintiff's Response,
Defendant's Reply, and all documents submitted in support
thereof, the Court GRANTS T-Mobile's Motion for Partial
started working for T-Mobile around September 2000 and
currently holds the position of Senior Technician, Data
Center at the Snoqualmie Data Center. Dkt. #23 at
¶¶ 1-2. T-Mobile has two data centers in
the western half of the United States, East Wenatchee and
Snoqualmie, which are both located in Washington state. Dkt.
#30-1 at 69-70. T-Mobile's data centers are facilities
that house the company's computer servers for its
telecommunications system, which routes traffic for banking,
government contracts, and Enhanced 911-a system mandated by
the Federal Communications Commission that is used to provide
emergency dispatchers the location of 911 callers. Dkt. #32-1
at 96; Dkt. #29 at 2.
technicians at Snoqualmie maintain the facilities and respond
to abnormal conditions as they arise. One data technician
must be “on call” at all times outside the data
technicians' regularly-scheduled day shifts. Dkt. #30-1
at 14, 16-17, 19. When a data technician is on-call, he
typically does not work a full day shift because of the hours
he worked at night. Id. at 59. During
Plaintiff's time at Snoqualmie, the on-call
responsibility was assigned on a rotating basis among the
three data technicians. Determining who was on-call was a
“fly-by-the-night type of thing” as opposed to a
set schedule, and technicians would have to cover for one
another if someone was sick or on vacation. Id. at
26. On-call rotation was not a desirable task, and data
technicians typically did not volunteer to take on more
rotations. Id. at 34.
worked at T-Mobile's Nexus Data Center
(“Nexus”) until it closed around 2016, after
which he moved to the Snoqualmie Data Center
(“Snoqualmie”). Dkt. #30-1 at 19. The Snoqualmie
Data Center distinguishes between data technicians on the
“facilities” side versus the
“network” side, but on-call rotation was a
requirement for both sides. Plaintiff covered the on-call
responsibility for both the “facilities” and
“network” sides since 2006. Id. at 8.
Plaintiff's work schedule was typically 5:00 or 5:30am to
2:00 or 3:00pm, but his hours shifted depending on whether he
worked at night to fix a network server issue. Id.
at 29-30. Plaintiff had on-call responsibilities every third
week and would have to respond to an emergency almost every
time he was on call. Id. at 34.
has used third-party contractors to assist with
“racking and stacking” of the servers, replacing
switches, troubleshooting, or helping with electrical and
cabling work. Plaintiff states that while he was at Nexus,
contractors from third-party company Telcoprime participated
in on-call rotation at the Snoqualmie Data Center. Dkt. #30-1
at 19. Once Nexus shut down, T-Mobile stopped using the
contractors from Telcoprime. Now, contractors from a
different third-party company, BlueStream, cover excess work
on an as-needed basis, but they only perform physical labor
and are not given internal access to the T-Mobile network.
Dkt. #30-1 at 62. Supervisor, Robert Okrie, relies on his
staff to handle the emergency work at night and would only
use contractors “if there was more work than what [his]
staff could do.” Id. at 64. Plaintiff is not
aware of any current or former T-Mobile data technicians at
Snoqualmie who have been “permanently” relieved
from their on-call responsibilities. Dkt. #32-1 at 22-23.
March 22, 2018, Plaintiff provided T-Mobile with a letter
from his doctor, Dr. Randip Singh, which states that he
diagnosed Plaintiff with Obstructive Sleep Apnea and requests
that T-Mobile allow Plaintiff to “work Monday thru
Friday 05:00am - 03:00pm excluding weekends.” Dkt.
#30-1 at 45. The week after Plaintiff provided his
doctor's letter to T-Mobile, T-Mobile placed Plaintiff on
unpaid leave of absence. Dkt. #16-1 at ¶¶6-7. On
the basis that Plaintiff's medical documentation
indicated his work restrictions were “permanent,
” and because Plaintiff represented the same,
T-Mobile's Accommodations Manager determined that
T-Mobile could not reasonably accommodate Plaintiff in his
current position as a Senior Technician at the Snoqualmie
Data Center due to mandatory on-call rotation
responsibilities. Dkt. #33 at ¶¶10-11. Starting May
9, 2018, T-Mobile placed Plaintiff in its Alternative
Placement Program where he would meet regularly with an
Accommodation Manager for ninety days to help find him
alternative employment with T-Mobile. Id. at
13, 2018, Plaintiff filed this action in King County Superior
Court. Dkt. #1-1. Plaintiff claims that T-Mobile violated his
rights under the Washington Family Leave Act
(“WFLA”), the federal Family and Medical Leave
Act (“FMLA”), and the Washington Law Against
Discrimination (“WLAD”) by placing him on
continuous unpaid leave of absence rather than accommodate
his disability or allow him to use intermittent leave. Dkt.
#1-1. On July 13, 2018, T-Mobile timely removed the action to
this Court. Dkt. #1.
now moves for summary judgment on whether Plaintiff, as a
matter of law, was qualified to perform the essential
functions of his Senior Technician, Data Center position.
judgment is appropriate where “the movant shows that
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); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986). Material facts are those which
might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In ruling on summary
judgment, a court does not weigh evidence to determine the
truth of the matter, but “only determine[s] whether
there is a genuine issue for trial.” Crane ...