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Turinsky v. Delphi Automotive Systems, LLC

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District

June 21, 2013

Paul Turinsky Appellant
v.
Delphi Automotive Systems, LLC, et al. Appellees

Trial Court No. 2011-CV-0605

Francis J. Landry, for appellant.

Joan Torzewski, for appellees.

DECISION AND JUDGMENT

OSOWIK, J.

{¶ 1} This is an appeal from a judgment of the Erie County Court of Common Pleas, which granted appellees' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, this court affirms the judgment of the trial court.

{¶ 2} On August 25, 2011, appellant, Paul Turinsky, a longtime employee of an Ohio automotive plant originally owned by General Motors and subsequently sold to successor owners, filed suit against his employers, Delphi Automotive Systems, LLC and Kyklos Bearing International, LLC, alleging failure to furnish reasonable accommodations in connection to a claimed disability not related to any workplace incident or injury. The lawsuit also named the various unions representing plant employees, alleging that they failed to adequately represent appellant. Subsequently, on December 14, 2011, appellant dismissed his employers from the lawsuit.

{¶ 3} Appellant's suit essentially asserted that the unions had failed to adequately assist him in receiving workplace accommodations related to appellant's desired manner of having daily pain patches applied by his wife based upon a neuromuscular diagnosis. In addition, appellant claimed that the unions did not adequately represent him in grievance appeals filed against his employer. On November 9, 2012, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the unions. On December 7, 2012, appellant filed a notice of appeal.

{¶ 4} On appeal, appellant sets forth the following two assignments of error:

The trial court committed reversible error in granting summary judgment to defendant unions when questions of material fact remained over the reasonableness of Turinsky's requested accommodation.
The trial court committed reversible error in granting summary judgment to defendant unions when questions of material fact remained over whether the unions fulfilled their representative obligations.

{¶ 5} The following undisputed facts are relevant to the issues raised on appeal. Appellant commenced employment with General Motors in 1979 at its Sandusky, Ohio plant. The company changed ownership several times during the term of appellant's employment at the facility. Appellant continued employment under the successor owners. In August 2005, appellant was "bumped" from his third-shift position by an employee with more seniority. It is not disputed that the other employee possessed greater seniority. It is also not disputed that this action was done in conformity with the terms of the applicable collective bargaining agreement. Nevertheless, appellant was highly dissatisfied.

{¶ 6} Appellant subsequently claimed that he suffers from "neurological musculoskeletal with spinal cord impairment and brain damage." All parties concur that such a condition is a disability, as recognized by R.C. 4112.01(A)(13).

{¶ 7} In conjunction with relaying this condition to his employer and representative unions, appellant simultaneously demanded that the condition somehow negated the seniority of the other employee, thereby enabling appellant to remain on his highly preferred third shift. In the course of this shift seniority dispute, appellant also now claimed that his wife, who is a registered nurse, needed to apply a pain patch to him before he left for work each day. Appellant maintained that the modification of his schedule would unacceptably interfere with his wife's ability to apply his pain patches.

{¶ 8} In October 2005, appellant presented a medical note to his employers. The brief note summarily concluded that appellant "needed to work" third shift so that appellant's wife could ...


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