from the United States District Court for the Middle District
of Tennessee at Nashville. No. 3:17-cv-00677-Aleta Arthur
Trauger, District Judge.
BRIEF: Constance Mann, THE LAW OFFICES OF CONSTANCE MANN,
Franklin, Tennessee, for Appellant.
Peake III, William E. Shreve, Jr., PHELPS DUNBAR LLP,
Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee.
Before: CLAY, McKEAGUE, and BUSH, Circuit Judges.
McKEAGUE, Circuit Judge.
Brumley injured her back while unloading heavy packages from
a United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) truck. After receiving
workers' compensation and taking a leave of absence,
Brumley returned to work without any injury-related
restrictions. Several months later, she sued UPS for failure
to accommodate, in violation of the Americans with
Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.
(ADA), as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. The
district court granted UPS's motion for summary judgment
and denied Brumley's motion for summary judgment as moot.
works primarily as a "sorter" at a UPS warehouse in
Franklin, Tennessee. Sorters do what the title suggests: they
sort mail in preparation for delivery. A subset of the sorter
position relevant to this case is called "local
sort." That position involves taking small packages,
weighing 10 pounds or less, from a conveyer belt and placing
them in various slots depending on their final destination.
The sorter then bundles the sorted packages into a bag and
lifts the bag onto another conveyer belt for transportation
to a delivery car. According to UPS, filled bags frequently
weigh between 20 and 50 pounds and occasionally weigh between
51 and 70 pounds. Brumley claims that, in her five years
working local sort, she never lifted a full 70 pounds. But
Brumley admits that when she was hired, she knew that working
as a sorter might require her to lift packages weighing that
much or more. The written job description of
"sorter" provides that sorters in all sorting
positions must frequently lift 20 to 50 pounds and
occasionally lift 51 to 70 pounds.
she injured her back, Brumley also worked as a temporary
cover driver, delivering and picking up packages in UPS's
familiar brown trucks. As a temporary cover driver, Brumley
filled in for sick or vacationing full-time drivers or when
routes were especially busy. According to UPS, that position
also requires employees to sometimes lift packages weighing
up to 70 pounds. Brumley confirms she has lifted 70-pound
packages working as a driver.
December 2015, on one of her delivery routes, Brumley injured
her back while unloading heavy packages from the delivery
truck. She received workers' compensation benefits for
the injury. And in January 2016, she and UPS entered into an
agreement for her to perform safety inspections of UPS's
package trucks as part of a 30-day Temporary Alternative Work
(TAW) arrangement while she recovered from the injury. At the
end of the TAW-period, Brumley assumed temporary disability
status and went on leave from work through July 2016.
29, 2016, before she returned to work, Brumley had a
follow-up visit with Dr. John Klekamp, the doctor she had
chosen from a panel of UPS doctors to treat her for her back
injury. Dr. Klekamp gave Brumley two return-to-work notes
that included permanent work restrictions. The first
instructed Brumley to avoid lifting more than 30 pounds and
to avoid pushing or pulling more than 30.5 pounds. The second
stated: "[Brumley] may return to work on 07/29/2016.
Restrictions: May return to local sort. Restriction: No
driving." That same day, Brumley clocked in to work and
hand-delivered both notes to her supervisor, Richard Bonee.
But Bonee would not allow Brumley to work, because both of
Brumley's positions-sorter and driver-required lifting
over 30 pounds. So he sent Brumley home. Bonee also informed
Brumley that she could receive work accommodations to account
for her restrictions.
is a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters,
Local 480. On August 16, 2016, she began filing grievances
with the Union, complaining that she was improperly denied
the right to work with permanent restrictions despite
presenting UPS with a return-to-work note from her doctor. On
August 18, 2016, UPS Occupational Health Supervisor Jurgen
Rosner became aware that Brumley had requested a job-related
accommodation. That same day, Rosner sent Brumley a
letter informing her that UPS was initiating an internal ADA
"interactive process" and asked Brumley to submit
two medical forms to allow the company to evaluate her
restrictions and identify possible accommodations. Those
medical forms were a "Request for Medical
Information" form to be completed by Dr. Klekamp and an
"Authorization for Release of Health Information"
to be completed by Brumley. In his letter, Rosner also
explained to Brumley that, "[b]ecause we cannot continue
our assessment of your request [for accommodations] until we
have received the completed medical forms, it is to your
benefit to return this information as quickly as possible,
preferably within the next two weeks." The letter was
scheduled for delivery on August 22. On September 1, after
receiving nothing from Brumley, Rosner sent Brumley a second
letter, reminding her to submit the requested medical forms.
Later, on September 12, Rosner sent a third letter asking
Brumley about the status of her outstanding paperwork. On
September 14, Brumley faxed both forms to UPS.
UPS received the forms, Rosner and Human Resources Manager
Elveta Cooper coordinated with Brumley to schedule a meeting
to discuss potential accommodations for Brumley. They met on
October 11, which was-according to UPS-the earliest date that
Rosner's and Cooper's schedule would allow. At that
meeting, Cooper explained to Brumley that they would review
Brumley's restrictions and try to find an appropriate
position at UPS that she could fill. Brumley stated, however,
that she desired to voluntarily discontinue the ADA
interactive process and return to Dr. Klekamp to have her
work restrictions lifted. Cooper responded that if Dr.
Klekamp removed Brumley's restrictions, Brumley could
return to work without accommodations and the interactive
process would end.
October 27, 2016, Brumley met with Dr. Klekamp and requested
that he remove her restrictions. He did so, and Brumley
returned to work a few days later. Because Brumley had
returned to work without restrictions, UPS officially closed