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The full case caption appears at the end of this opinion. COFFEY, Circuit Judge. From 1987 to 1997, RodneySpath was a production worker for the HayesWheels International-Indiana, Incorporated (HayesWheels or employer) facility in Huntington,Indiana. On March 11, 1997, Hayes Wheelsterminated Spath’s employment because Spath fileda false worker’s compensation claim. Thereafter,Spath filed suit against Hayes Wheels in theNorthern District of Indiana, alleging that HayesWheels terminated him, not because he filed afalse worker’s compensation claim, but because ofhis epileptic disorder, in violation of theAmericans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C.sec.sec. 12101-12213. [FOOTNOTE 1] The trial judgeconcluded that Spath failed to establish a primafacie case of disability discrimination andgranted Hayes Wheels’ motion for summaryjudgment. We affirm. I. BACKGROUND A. Spath’s Disabilities During his tenure at Hayes Wheels, Spathsuffered at least eight epileptic seizures at hisplace of employment, and he concedes that HayesWheels accommodated his epileptic condition fornine years by transferring him to positions whichinvolved less contact with machinery androutinely permitting him to return to work afterreceiving a physician’s release. This allchanged, according to Spath, after he had aseizure while on the job and was conveyed to ahospital on August 7, 1996. After this seizure,Spath received a release from the emergency roomphysician and attempted to report back to workthe same day. But his employer refused to acceptthe emergency room physician’s release and,insisted upon a release from Spath’s personalphysician, Dr. Matthew. On August 8, 1998, Spathprovided a release from his personal physician,and again Hayes Wheels refused to accept thisrelease; on this occasion Hayes Wheels demandeda release from Spath’s neurologist, Dr.Stevens. [FOOTNOTE 2] After Spath became aware that hewould be unable to obtain an appointment for aconsultation and examination with Dr. Stevensprior to October 14, 1996, he negotiated with hisemployer to permit him to return to work earlier.On August 18, 1996, Hayes Wheels permitted Spathto return to work, but refused to allow him towork any overtime until such time as he presenteda release from his neurologist. [FOOTNOTE 3] Spath also argued, in support of his contentionthat his employer no longer wished to accommodatehis disability, that Hayes Wheels restricted hisovertime after a seizure on December 5, 1996,without any medical opinion stating that it wasnecessary. After Spath suffered the seizure onDecember 5, 1996, Spath’s supervisor Mike Johnsonrestricted Spath from working any overtime hoursin the future, explaining in an internalmemorandum: Due to the seizure that was experienced theother day by Rodney Spath, I am restrictingRodney to a maximum working day of no more than8.5 hours until further notice. I believe that most of the occurrences we seehere in the plant seem to come when Rodney isworking overtime. I must act on this to protectRodney’s safety. The significance of this action, Spath argues,lies in the fact that his employer does notimpose work limitations unless ordered by aphysician, and Spath did not see a physician forthe December 5th seizure. B. Spath’s Termination On January 4, 1997, Spath was working in theHeat Treat Department of Hayes Wheels with fellowemployees Mike Shockome and John Helblig when heallegedly tripped, fell backwards onto the burnoven, and injured his back; this injury was notassociated with his epileptic disorder. Afterdetermining that Spath was injured, Shockome andHelblig paged the department supervisor RichardGuenin. When Guenin arrived, he interviewedSpath, who informed Guenin that he was sweeping,tripped, and fell onto the burn oven. Based onthis information, Guenin completed the”Supervisor’s First Report of Injury,” writing:”Rod tripped on paint line hinges on a skid andfell into [the] burn off oven.” Guenin read Spathwhat he had written on the Report. Spath thenreviewed the Report himself, and signed it.Afterwards, Spath went to the hospital fortreatment of his injuries. Before Spath left the plant on the day of hisinjury, Guenin gave him a blank “Employee’sIncident Report.” Spath took this form home withhim in order that his wife might assist him incompleting it. On his next day of work, January6, 1997, Spath submitted the signed Employee’sIncident Report on which he wrote: “I wassweeping the floor and triped [sic] over a brokenedge of duning and fell into the Age Oven hittingmy back.” Based on this Employee’s IncidentReport, Hayes Wheels filed a worker’scompensation claim on Spath’s behalf. Approximately two months after Spath’s accident,employee Ted Johnson informed Hayes Wheels’Safety Manager, Wayne Desai, that Spath wasinjured while engaged in horseplay. Desai theninterviewed Shockome and Helblig who confirmedJohnson’s story, explaining that Spath wasinjured while attempting to catch a ball of ducttape that Helblig threw to him. Both Helblig andShockome signed written statements which read: On January 4, 1997, Rodney Spath, John Helblig,and Mike Shockome were back in the heat treatarea. During their scheduled work time backthere, they started throwing a ball of duct tapeto each other. On one of the throws that Johnsent to Rodney, it went higher than Rodney couldcatch. Rodney tried to run back and catch theball and tripped over his own feet and fellbackwards onto the age oven. After interviewing a total of five individuals,each of whom confirmed that Spath was injuredwhile engaged in horseplay, Desai interviewedSpath. Despite the evidence to the contrary,Spath stuck to his original explanation: that hewas sweeping when he injured his back. Desaiconfronted Spath with the statements of Shockomeand Helblig, but Spath continued to deny that hewas engaged in horseplay at the time he wasinjured. Desai provided the results of his investigationto Rachel Wust, a Human Resources Specialist.Wust testified that, based on the statements ofShockome and Helblig, she believed that Spath wasinjured while playing with the duct tape ball andnot while sweeping. Thus, she was convinced thatSpath’s claim that he was injured while sweepingwas less than truthful. Wust concluded that Spathhad violated Plant Rule 5 by filing a falsereport, and that he ought to be terminated forthat violation. [FOOTNOTE 4] Wust then consulted with RickGuernsey, the Plant Manager, and Rick Uecker,another Human Resource Specialist, who bothconcurred with her decision to terminate Spath. Because of Spath’s violation of Plant Rule 5,Wust placed Spath on suspension without paybeginning February 27, 1997, and scheduled atermination meeting for March 11, 1997, topresent Spath with “the results of theinvestigation and the action that the company hadto take based on that information.” Wust, Desai,Uecker, Guernsey, Spath, and his wife, Linda,attended. At the meeting, Wust informed Spaththat his employment was being terminatedeffective immediately for providing falseinformation concerning his injury. C. Spath’s Lawsuit On February 4, 1998, Spath filed suit againsthis employer in the Northern District of Indiana,alleging disability discrimination under the ADA,age discrimination under the ADEA, and state lawretaliation. On October 26, 1998, Hayes Wheelsfiled a motion for summary judgment, arguing thatSpath failed to present sufficient evidence fromwhich a rational trier of fact could reasonablyinfer that his employer fired him either becauseof his disability or because of his age. OnDecember 29, 1998, the trial judge agreed withHayes Wheels and granted the defendant summaryjudgment. Spath appeals. II. ISSUE On appeal, Spath argues that the trial courterred in granting summary judgment to hisemployer because there are genuine issues ofmaterial fact regarding whether Hayes Wheelstreated him differently from other employeesbecause of his disability. [FOOTNOTE 5] III. ANALYSIS A. Standard of Review We review the trial court’s grant of summaryjudgment de novo. See Jovanovic v. In-Sink-EratorDiv. of Emerson Elec. Co., 201 F.3d 894, 898 (7thCir. 2000). Summary judgment is appropriate whenthe pleadings, depositions, answers tointerrogatories, admissions, and affidavits, ifany, demonstrate that there are no genuine issuesof material fact and the movant is entitled tojudgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P.56(c). In determining whether a genuine issue ofmaterial fact exists, we construe all facts inthe light most favorable to the party opposingthe motion and draw all justifiable inferences infavor of that party. See Anderson v. LibertyLobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). However,the mere existence of an alleged factual disputebetween the parties is not sufficient to defeata motion for summary judgment. See id. at 252. Inthis case, Spath is required to demonstrate thatthere exists a genuine issue of triable fact andthat there is evidence on which a jury couldreasonably find for him. See Wollin v. Gondert,192 F.3d 616, 620 (7th Cir. 1999). B. Spath’s Disparate Treatment Claim The ADA makes it unlawful to “discriminateagainst a qualified individual with a disabilitybecause of the disability.” 42 U.S.C. sec.12112(a). To establish a claim of discriminationunder the ADA, a plaintiff must demonstrate:”‘(1) that [he was] disabled within the meaningof the ADA, (2) that [his] work performance met[his] employer’s legitimate expectations, (3)that [he] was discharged, and (4) that thecircumstances surrounding [his] . . . dischargeindicate that it is more likely than not that[his] disability was the reason for these adverseactions.’” Patterson v. Chicago Ass’n forRetarded Citizens, 150 F.3d 719, 725 (7th Cir.1998) (quoting Leffel v. Valley Fin. Servs., 113F.3d 787, 794 (7th Cir. 1997)). 1. Hayes Wheels’ Different Treatment of Helblig,a Non-Disabled Employee Initially, Spath argues that Hayes Wheels didnot terminate Helblig, [FOOTNOTE 6] a non-disabledemployee, who also violated Plant Rule 5 bysubmitting false information concerning Spath’sinjury. Spath uses this fact to argue that hisemployer treated a similarly situated, non-disabled employee better than it treated him, andthat we should therefore conclude that hisemployer terminated him because of hisdisability. See Troupe v. May Dep’t Stores, Co.,20 F.3d 734, 736 (7th Cir. 1994). It is true that Helblig worked with Spath onthe day Spath was injured and told Guenin, at thetime of the initial investigation, that Spath wasinjured when he was sweeping. However, it is alsothe case that Helblig, unlike Spath, recanted hisoriginal story after Desai questioned him asecond time; Helblig admitted to Desai that heand Spath were engaged in horseplay and it wasthat which led to Spath’s accident. After Helbliginformed Desai that his earlier version of eventssurrounding Spath’s injury was false, Desaiprepared a statement, which Helblig signed, inwhich Helblig again admitted that he had lied toGuenin during the initial investigation ofSpath’s injury. In contrast, Spath never told anyof the investigators of his accident that he wasengaged in horseplay until halfway through histermination meeting. Spath’s argument that he and Helblig aresimilarly situated is misplaced. “It isfundamental that to make a comparison of adiscrimination plaintiff’s treatment to that ofnon-[disabled] employees, the plaintiff must showthat the ‘comparables’ are similarly situated inall respects.” Mitchell v. Toledo Hosp., 964 F.2d577, 583 (7th Cir. 1992) (emphasis in original). In our opinion, when reviewing the respectiveemployee histories of Spath and Helblig, it isobvious that they are not similarly situatedemployees in all respects. Although bothemployees initially furnished false informationto Guenin, the similarities between them endthere. Although Helblig also originally gave afalse version of events concerning the accidentto Guenin, he later rescinded his false statementboth by telling Desai the truth and by signing astatement containing an accurate recitation ofthe facts concerning the accident. Spath, on theother hand, persisted in giving false statementsregarding the cause of the accident and hisinjury until the zero hour, when he finallyadmitted he was engaged in horseplay at histermination meeting. Furthermore, Spath, unlikeHelblig, on two separate occasions falsifiedwritten company documents, the Supervisor’s FirstReport of Injury and the Employee IncidentReport. In short, Spath and Helblig did notengage in conduct of “comparable seriousness.”See id. We hold that Helblig and Spath are notsimilarly situated employees and, therefore, nodiscriminatory intent can be inferred from thefact that Hayes Wheels did not terminate Helblig.See Kaniff v. Allstate Ins. Co., 121 F.3d 258,263 (7th Cir. 1997); Mitchell, 964 F.2d at 583 & n.5. 2. Hayes Wheels’ Allegedly DifferentInvestigations for Non-Disabled Employees Spath next attempts to establish discriminatoryintent from his employers’ comparatively morelenient investigations of non-disabled employeesaccused of falsifying company records inviolation of Plant Rule 5. Spath argues that thecourt “erred in not allowing discriminatoryinferences to be drawn from these investigationswhich were without purpose, clandestine andscripted for Spath and purposeful and open fornon-affected employees.” Spath, however, offersno more than bare accusations in his brief thatHayes Wheels engaged in different methods ofinvestigation for disabled and non-disabledemployees. As we have repeatedly stated, “[i]t isnot this court’s responsibility to research andconstruct the parties’ arguments.” United Statesv. Lanzotti, 205 F.3d 951, 957 (7th Cir. 2000).Where, as here, a party fails to develop thefactual basis of a claim on appeal and, instead,merely draws and relies upon bare conclusions,the argument is deemed waived. See Bonds v.Coca-Cola Company, 806 F.2d 1324, 1328 (7th Cir.1986) (citing Morgan v. South Bend CommunitySchool Corp., 797 F.2d 471, 480 (7th Cir. 1986));see e.g., Gagan v. American Cablevision, Inc., 77F.3d 951, 965 (7th Cir. 1996) (failure to citeany factual or legal basis for an argument waivesit); Bratton v. Roadway Package Sys., Inc., 77F.3d 168, 173 n.1 (7th Cir. 1996) (argument thatis not developed in any meaningful way iswaived); Freeman United Coal Mining Co. v. Officeof Workers’ Compensation Programs, BenefitsReview Bd., 957 F.2d 302, 305 (7th Cir. 1992)(there is “no obligation to consider an issuethat is merely raised [on appeal], but notdeveloped, in a party’s brief”); United States v.Haddon, 927 F.2d 942, 956 (7th Cir. 1991) (“Askeletal ‘argument’, really nothing more than anassertion, does not preserve a claim [forappellate review].”); United States v. Berkowitz,927 F.2d 1376, 1384 (7th Cir. 1991) (“Werepeatedly have made clear that perfunctory andundeveloped arguments . . . are waived . . . .”).Consequently, we need not address this argumentany further. 3. Hayes Wheels’ Refusal to Allow Spath to Returnto Work and Its Reduction of Spath’s OvertimeHours Finally, Spath attempts to establishdiscriminatory intent from, what he argues are,changes in Hayes Wheels’ medical release policy.First, Spath contends that although Hayes Wheelshad routinely allowed Spath to return to workafter his seizures during his first nine yearswith the company with a release from anyphysician, it ceased doing so after his seizureon August 7, 1996. After this seizure, HayesWheels refused to accept a release from eitherthe emergency room physician on duty when Spathappeared for treatment [FOOTNOTE 7] or from Spath’s regularphysician, Dr. Matthew. Instead, Hayes Wheelstold Spath that he could not return to work untilhe got a release from his neurologist, Dr.Stevens. Spath argues that this conduct wascontrary to Hayes Wheels’ medical releasepractice because, according to him, otheremployees on medical leave, who do not have aseizure disorder, were uniformly allowed toreturn to work upon presenting a release from anyphysician. Second, Spath argues that in a separatedeparture from its medical release policy, HayesWheels reduced Spath’s overtime after his seizureon December 5, 1996, despite the fact that it hadnot imposed work restrictions, which were notphysician-approved, on him in the past. Spath’s allegations that Hayes Wheels’ changesin its medical release policy should constituteevidence of discriminatory intent areunconvincing because the undisputed evidence inthis case established that Hayes Wheels had anine-year history of accommodating Spath’sepileptic condition and his repeated seizures. Itis apparent that his employer was concerned withSpath’s safety and wanted to make sure that Spathwas fit to return to work after his August 1996seizure. In order to ensure this, Hayes Wheels,on this occasion, requested that Spath submit amedical release from a neurological specialist,specially qualified to evaluate epilepticdisorders, rather than from a general practicephysician. Furthermore, although Spath was unableto schedule an appointment with his neurologistfor several weeks, Hayes Wheels againaccommodated Spath and allowed him to return towork in the interim. In an internal memorandumHayes Wheels explained its decision to allowSpath to return to work without a release from aneurologist: “Rodney has been set up to see aspecialist. A neurologist on Sept. 15th. He haspleaded with us to be able to come back to work.We have agreed to let him return but on day shiftand on special projects where we can keep a closeeye on him . . . until he can return to yourshift with a clean bill of health.” Consistentwith its internal memorandum, Hayes Wheelsallowed Spath to return to work full time, evenchanging his shift schedule, after theneurologist examined Spath and recommended thathe “only work first shift.” We are of the opinionthat the decision to require a release from aneurologist was justified, especially in thislitigious society where Spath and/or otheremployees may have been injured as a result ofone of Spath’s seizures after his return to work.Furthermore, Hayes Wheels had, as even Spathconcedes, accommodated Spath’s seizures for overnine years. Consequently, we refuse to infer anydiscriminatory intent from Hayes Wheels’ decisionto request additional medical testing. Cf. Porterv. United States Alumoweld Co., 125 F.3d 243,245-46 (4th Cir. 1997). Similarly, Hayes Wheels’ restriction of Spath’sovertime was justified because Spath’ssupervisors observed that most of Spath’sseizures occurred when he was working overtime.Thus, it was logical to believe that restrictingSpath’s overtime would, in all probability,reduce his fatigue factor and thus the number ofseizures, as well as better ensure Spath’s safetyand the safety of his fellow employees. Whencombined with Hayes Wheels’ long history ofaccommodating Spath, we refuse to hold that therestriction of his overtime evinces anydiscriminatory intent. Cf. Howard v. NavistarInt’l Transp. Corp., 904 F. Supp. 922, 930-31(E.D. Wis. 1995), aff’d, 107 F.3d 13 (7th Cir.1997). Moreover, Spath has failed to demonstrate howthe decisions to require a release from aneurologist or restrict his overtime are causallyrelated to his termination, which occurred monthslater. See Hunt-Golliday v. Metropolitan WaterReclamation Dist. of Greater Chicago, 104 F.3d1004, 1014 (7th Cir. 1997) (requiring that aplaintiff making a claim of discrimination”establish ‘that the protected activity and theadverse action were not wholly unrelated.’”)(quoting Simmons v. Camden County Bd. of Educ.,757 F.2d 1187, 1189 (11th Cir. 1985)). BecauseSpath has failed to present any evidence ofdiscriminatory intent, we hold that he has failedto establish a prima facie case of disabilitydiscrimination. IV. CONCLUSION We conclude that there is insufficient evidencefor a reasonable jury to find that Hayes Wheelsterminated Spath because of his epilepticdisorder. The decision of the district court togrant summary judgment to Hayes Wheels is AFFIRMED. :::FOOTNOTES::: FN1 Spath also alleged age discrimination under theAge Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29U.S.C. sec.sec. 621-34, and state lawretaliation, but Spath has abandoned those claimson appeal. FN2 A neurologist is an expert in the treatment ofdisorders of the nervous system such as epilepsy.See Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary,1130, 566 (28th ed. 1994). FN3 Hayes Wheels offered Spath time off pursuant tothe leave provisions of the Federal Medical LeaveAct, 29 U.S.C. sec.sec. 2601-54, until Spathcould get the release. But Spath, for reasonsunexplained in the record, refused this offer. FN4 Plant Rule 5 provides: Commission of, or being a party to, the followingacts or related acts, will be sufficient groundsfor disciplinary action that may includedischarge: . . . 5) Falsifying an employment application,misrepresenting or falsifying a leave of absence,writing false statements on medical reports orintentionally giving any false informationrelating to employment or benefit application. FN5 Spath also makes a failure to accommodate claim,see 42 U.S.C. sec. 12112(b)(5)(A), arguing thathis organic brain syndrome, mild mentalretardation, and dependent personality disorder–disabilities not involved in his disparatetreatment claim–caused him to deny involvementin the horseplay incident because he sometimesdoes not remember what he was doing or what hemight have said in the past. In essence, Spath isasking this Court to extend the ADA so as toprevent an employer from terminating an employeewho lies, just because the lying is allegedlyconnected to a disability. We are of the opinionthat the ADA does not require this. See generallyJones v. Am. Postal Workers Union, 192 F.3d 417,429 (4th Cir. 1999) (“The law is well settledthat the ADA is not violated when an employerdischarges an individual based upon theemployee’s misconduct, even if the misconduct isrelated to a disability.”). We, therefore,decline to give any more consideration to thisissue. FN6 Helblig was only given a written warning andadvised that if he was ever caught “horseplaying”again he “would have time off.” Presumably thismeans that he would be suspended or fired. FN7 In all probability the emergency room physicianhad never seen Spath before, and was in noposition to have a complete knowledge of his pastmedical history, including the number of priorseizures, the severity of them, or if Spathsuffered any residuals as a result of the seizureepisode.
Spath v. Hayes Wheels Int’l-Indiana, Inc. In the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Rodney Wayne Spath, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Hayes Wheels International-Indiana, Incorporated, Defendant-Appellee. No. 99-1209 Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division. No. 1:98-CV-0045–William C. Lee, Chief Judge. Argued: September 15, 1999 Decided: May 1, 2000 Before: CUDAHY, COFFEY, and EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judges.
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