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Budhun v. Reading Hospital and Medical Center

Budhun v. Reading Hospital and Medical Center

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Published by eric_meyer8174
FMLA decision concerning return-to-work (3d Cir. 2014)
FMLA decision concerning return-to-work (3d Cir. 2014)

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Published by: eric_meyer8174 on Aug 28, 2014
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08/31/2014

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PRECEDENTIAL
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT  _____________  No. 11-4625  _____________ VANESSA BUDHUN, Appellant v. READING HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL CENTER On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (No. 10-cv-06921) District Judge: Hon. Lawrence F. Stengel Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) February 10, 2014 Before: CHAGARES, SHWARTZ, and ALDISERT, Circuit Judges. (Filed: August 27, 2014) Justin L. Swidler, Esq. Swartz Swidler 1101 Kings Highway North Suite 402 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034 Counsel for Appellant Vincent Candiello, Esq. Post & Schell 17 North 2nd Street 12th Floor Harrisburg, PA 17101 Counsel for Appellee
 
2  ____________ OPINION  ____________ 
 
CHAGARES, Circuit Judge.
Vanessa Budhun appeals the District Court’s grant of
summary judgment to her employer, The Reading Hospital
and Medical Center (“Reading”) on her Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2691,
et seq., interference and retaliation claims. She also appeals the
District Court’s denial of her motion for leave to amend her
complaint to add a claim for violation of the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101,
et seq. For the reasons that follow, we will vacate the judgment of the District Court with respect to her FMLA claims and affirm
the District Court’s denial of her motion for leave to amend
her complaint. I. The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted. In 2008, Budhun was hired by Berkshire Health
Partners (“BHP”), an affiliate of Reading, as a credentialing
assistant. The written job description for this position required her to generate and maintain records, and to
demonstrate “efficiency and accuracy in the credentialing” of network healthcare providers. Appendix (“App.”) 140. The
written job description noted that the job required preparing and mailing credentialing packets, processing and verifying credentialing information, performing data entry, scanning, and similar tasks. App. 140-43. Budhun estimated that approximately sixty percent of her job was typing, a figure
Reading does not contest. App. 82. Budhun’s direct
supervisor was Sherri Alvarez; Alvarez reported to the director of the credentialing department, Dawn Dreibelbis. In accordance with applicable law, Reading provides its employees with up to twelve weeks of job-protected FMLA leave during any rolling twelve-month period. Reading requires employees to submit a leave certification from a healthcare professional prior to approving any FMLA
 
3 leave. App. 155. It also requires employees to submit a
“fitness
-for-
duty” certification in the form of a return to work
form that
confirms that the employee can work “without restriction” before returning. App. 159. If an employee does not contact Reading’s human resources department at the end of his or her leave, Reading’s policy states that it will
consider the employee to have voluntarily resigned. Id. Reading also has a transfer policy which prohibits employees who have been disciplined by a final written warning in the last year from transferring to another position within Reading. App. 151. As is pertinent to this appeal, Budhun received a final written warning on January 25, 2010 for tardiness. Prior to taking the FMLA leave that is the subject of this suit, Budhun took approximately four weeks of FMLA leave in two separate segments between March 31, 2010 and May 7, 2010. During this period of time, Ann Rushow, an employee from a different department, filled in for Budhun  part of the time. Rushow remained in this part-time role upon
Budhun’s return.
 Budhun broke her fifth metacarpal, the bone in her hand connecting her wrist to her pinky finger, on July 30, 2010 in an incident unrelated to her job. She arrived at work on Monday, August 2, 2010 with a metal splint on her right hand. At 10:33 a.m. that day, she received an email from Stacey Spinka, a Reading human resources employee, stating
“Your supervisor has made us aware that you have an injury that prevents you from working full duty,” and providing
Budhun with FMLA leave forms. App. 244. Budhun apparently then left work and saw a physician assistant at OAA Orthopedic Specialists that same day. App. 253. Budhun returned to OAA and saw Dr. Richard Battista on August 3 and August 10, 2010. Dr. Battista taped the  pinky, ring, and middle fingers on her right hand together to stabilize her pinky finger. According to Budhun, she asked Dr. Battista to fill out the FMLA leave certification form. She told Dr. Battista that her job required typing, and that she felt she could type with the five fingers on her left hand, and her thumb and index finger on her right hand. App. 315.

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