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AMARIGLIO v. AMTRAK

September 20, 1996

JACK AMARIGLIO, Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREEN

 Presently pending is the defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, the motion will be granted.

 Background

 The following material facts are not genuinely disputed. In July 1987, Plaintiff Jack Amariglio was hired by AMTRAK to work as a train attendant aboard coaches and sleeping cars. Amariglio's general responsibilities involved providing assistance to passengers to ensure they had a safe and comfortable trip aboard AMTRAK trains. Amariglio performed a broad range of duties, including loading supplies, ensuring the proper operation of lights, heating and air conditioning units, ensuring that the restrooms remain cleaned and stocked, changing the bed linens, assisting while passengers embarked and disembarked from the train, and securing the train car doors after the passengers had loaded. On long-distance trips, like all train attendants, he would be on duty for twenty hours a day.

 Amariglio's supervisor, General Manager Gary Mauck contacted Amariglio and directed him to report to Miami for a physical examination. In May of 1990, Amariglio advised Mauck that his poor health and financial circumstances prevented him from traveling to Miami. Amariglio provided a letter from his treating physician, Dr. Guillermo Arana, which stated:

 
"Jack Amariglio has been seen in my office and is now under treatment to control his diabetes. It is my opinion that he should not take any long trips, as he needs to be in the area to be monitored. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office.

 Letter of G.F. Arana, M.D. (May 20, 1990), attached to Motion for Summary Judgment, at Exhibit A, Declaration of Robert B. McLean, M.D. ("McLean Decl."), at attachment 1.

 AMTRAK later arranged for Amariglio to be examined by another physician at AMTRAK expense. This physician, Dr. Sidney Martin, confirmed Dr. Arana's diagnosis of diabetes, stating that the blood work indicated "somewhat less than adequate control of diabetes." Dr. Martin wrote:

 
I do not think I would be comfortable with advising him to return to his prior duties as described to me. I believe more regular hours of employment with an ability to adhere to a regular and prescribed diet would allow gainful employment if such a position was available.

 Diagnostic Statement of Dr. Sidney Martin (July 9, 1990), attached to Motion for Summary Judgment, at Exhibit A, McLean Decl., at attachment 2.

 AMTRAK allows diabetic employees to work as train attendants aboard AMTRAK trains as long as their diabetes is under control. McLean Decl., at P4. However, based upon the reports from these two doctors, AMTRAK's medical director determined that Amariglio's diabetes was not under control and, consequently, that he was not medically qualified to work as a train attendant. Id. at PP5-7. On August 16, 1990, Mauck advised Amariglio that he was medically disqualified.

 In March of 1993, Plaintiff Amariglio sought to return to work. By letter of March 5, 1993, Amariglio stated that his "physician Dr. G. Arana, has advised [him] that [he] can return to work regular and normal hours" and he requested a transfer to an OBS in North Carolina or Washington, or, alternatively, to be assigned to clerical work. AMTRAK responded promptly by letter of March 10, 1993, advising Amariglio that there were no crew bases in North Carolina and of the proper procedures to seek transfers to the OBS in Washington or to another craft or class. See Letter from L.D. Miller, Director Labor Relations to Mr. Jack Amariglio (March 10, 1993), attached to Plaintiff's Objection to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, at Ex. 3.

 Where an AMTRAK employee has been medically disqualified but seeks to have the disqualification lifted, AMTRAK requires the employee to submit documentation from his or her treating physician demonstrating that the employee's medical condition has improved. McLean Decl., at P3. If AMTRAK's medical director determines that the documentation indicates an improvement, AMTRAK arranges for a specialist to examine the employee. Id. If the specialist's examination confirms the improvement, AMTRAK lifts the disqualification and directs the employee to report for a physical examination. Id. AMTRAK's medical director requires the treating physician to provide documentation because the treating physician is presumed to be the most familiar with the employee's condition. Id. at P4.

 The medical director also attempted to contact Dr. Arana independently, sending him letters on May 20, 1993 and October 13, 1993, requesting confirmation of any improvement in Amariglio's condition. See McLean Decl., attachment 5 & 7; id. at PP9 & 11. However, Dr. Arana never provided the documentation that AMTRAK requested. The medical director also wrote to Plaintiff on September 16, 1993, advising him that he had not heard from Dr. Arana. The medical director stated: "Should you be under the care of a new physician, please submit a detailed report from him for my review." See id. at attachment 6.

 By letter of March 29, 1994, AMTRAK once again sought medical documentation from Plaintiff. Id. at attachment 8. However, as before, no documentation was provided even though Amariglio had been seen by a new doctor since 1993 for diabetes and hypertension. See Plaintiff's Deposition, at 105 (Sept. 18, 1995), attached to Defendants' ...


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