Levine v Smithtown Central School District

Defendants brought about a motion for summary judgment to dismiss plaintiff, Melissa Levine’s alleged disability discrimination action. Plaintiff was a school psychologist at the Tacken Elementary School in her final probationary year. After sustaining a concussion while trying to restrain a student, plaintiff was on leave from October through November of 2001. Then plaintiff was absent from work from December 2001 through the end of the school year due to bi-polar disease and Lyme disease. When the time came for Levine’s supervisor to evaluate her, she was not recommended for tenure and instead was recommended for termination. Plaintiff asked for an extension of her probation but was denied.

Plaintiff brought about this appeal and alleged that she was discharged due to her disability. Defendants argued that she was terminated due to poor performance prior to her prolonged absence. Additionally, in order to meet the ADA’s definition disability, a person must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits at least one major life activity, must have a record of this impairment, and must be regarded as having the impairment. Plaintiff failed to provide evidence that her impairment substantially limited any major life activity, her sole record of impairment was her doctor’s notes that stated a diagnosis and recommendation for continued sick leave, and her only evidence that she was regarded as impaired was the defendants’ alleged perception that she could not perform her job. In summary, Levine failed to provide sufficient evidence to permit a trier of fact to conclude that she was disabled within the meaning of the ADA.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment and dismissed the plaintiffs’ claim.