The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robertson, District Judge.
Robert Wilson alleges that he was fired from his job as
Executive Assistant to Tom Sever, General Secretary-Treasurer of
the International Brotherhood of Teamster's, Chauffeurs and
Warehousemen ("Teamsters"), because Sever thought Wilson was an
alcoholic. Wilson sued Sever and the Teamsters for employment
discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. He also asserts state law
claims for tortious interference with a prospective contractual
relationship and for intentional infliction of emotional
distress. Defendants have moved for summary judgment. For the
reasons stated below, defendants' motion will be granted as to
the ADA claim, and the state law claims will be dismissed.
In 1992, after his election to a five-year term as General
Secretary-Treasurer ("GST") of the Teamsters, Sever hired Wilson
to be his Executive Assistant. Wilson was already a Teamsters
employee and understood that as Sever's Executive Assistant he
would be an at-will employee and that his employment terms would
be completely determined by defendant: under the Teamsters'
International Constitution, Sever could hire and fire whomever he
pleased. Wilson's responsibilities, like the terms of his
employment, were never reduced to writing. They included drafting
official reports for Sever, acting as liaison between Sever's
office and the office of the Teamsters' General President, and
driving Sever to and from Sever's Pittsburgh home on weekends.
Wilson also routinely drove or accompanied Sever on out of town
business trips, upon Sever's request. Wilson's and Sever's
employment relationship appears to have been informal in many
respects, for, in addition to routinely dining and drinking
alcohol together after working hours, the two shared an apartment
during the work week.
Sever was aware of Wilson's drinking problem long before he
hired him. He knew that there had been several occasions on which
Wilson drank to excess, and he knew that sometimes Wilson got
into trouble as a result. Mot.Summ.J., Sever Decl. at 1 ¶ 4.
In 1985, after Wilson was arrested for driving under the
influence of alcohol in Pennsylvania, Sever helped him find a
lawyer and testified on Wilson's behalf. In 1992 or 1993, while
driving a Teamsters vehicle in Washington, D.C., Wilson was
arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol. The
Teamsters car was impounded and Wilson was required, upon
conviction, to attend an alcohol treatment program at ETHOS in
Falls Church, Virginia. In November 1994, Wilson was once again
charged with drunk driving in Washington, D.C., this time after
crashing a Teamsters vehicle. After his conviction on this
occasion, Wilson began attending Living Free, an outpatient
addiction treatment center in Virginia. Wilson's treatment at
Living Free began in January 1995 and required that he remain
abstinent, attend meetings twice a week, and submit urine samples
weekly. Sever maintains that he learned of Wilson's involvement
in this treatment program only after he fired him, Reply, Sever
Depos. at 47.
On June 14, 1995, Wilson suffered a relapse. He and Sever got
into an argument after drinking together. Wilson left with
Sever's car and continued to drink to the point of intoxication.
The Teamsters car and Wilson were reported missing. The next day,
the union's Director of Security found Wilson in Crystal City,
drinking in a bar.
Notwithstanding these and other alcohol-related incidents,
Sever neither disciplined Wilson, Mot. Summ. J., Statement of
Material Facts at 8 ¶ 66, nor documented any of Wilson's
misconduct, until September 6, 1995, when Sever prepared a
memorandum for that purpose. Sever Decl., Ex. A. The events
leading up to that memorandum are pivotal to Wilson's claim and
On August 19, 1995, Wilson accompanied Sever to an official
Teamsters seminar in Chicago. They were scheduled to return on
August 20, 1995. On the morning of August 20, Sever called
Wilson's room to arrange to leave for the airport. There was no
answer. Sever knocked on Wilson's door, and still there was no
response. Sever then gained entrance with the assistance of hotel
staff and found Wilson asleep. Sever woke Wilson and demanded
that he leave with him to catch the flight to Pittsburgh. Wilson
refused, and Sever fired him on the spot Sever did not suspect or
have reason to know that Wilson was intoxicated, and Wilson
denies that he had been drinking alcohol the night before or that
After he was fired, Wilson did not speak with Sever for a week.
On August 28, 1995, Sever offered to rehire Wilson if he would
undergo alcohol treatment and testing. Instead of accepting that
offer, Wilson told Sever that he was trying to get a job in the
General President's office. Sever grew angry and told Wilson that
he had one week to decide. The next day, Sever called Wilson and
told him that he had decided not to rehire him When Wilson again
indicated his intention to work for the General President, Sever
told Wilson, "Don't think you're going to go around me." Def's
Statement of Material Facts at 12 ¶ 109.
On September 6, 1995, Sever asked Wilson once again to consider
working for him. Wilson neither accepted nor asked Sever to
rehire him. That same day, Sever prepared a confidential
memorandum detailing numerous verbal warnings about
insubordination that he had given Wilson during the past three
years. Sever Decl., Ex. A at 1. Although most of the misconduct
mentioned in the memorandum was related to Wilson's drinking, the
memorandum does not expressly mention Wilson's alcoholism or
suggest that any of the listed misconduct was alcohol-related.
On September 18, 1995, Sever informed Wilson that he had hired
a replacement and directed Wilson to remove his possessions from
the apartment they had shared in Virginia. Sever and Wilson have
not spoken since. In response to suggestions by those trying to
help Wilson obtain a job with the General President, Wilson
participated in an alcohol treatment program at Gateway Greenway,
in Pittsburgh, from September 20, 1995 until October 26, 1997.
On October 31, 1995, Sever sent Wilson a formal termination
letter that made Wilson's termination retroactive to August 28,
1995. Wilson was subsequently offered another job with the
Teamsters but refused it because it would not include backpay. He
filed this action on April 22, 1997.
To establish a prima facie case of discrimination under the
ADA, a plaintiff must prove: (1) that he had, or was regarded as
having, a disability; (2) that he was otherwise qualified for the
position from which he was fired; and (3) that an adverse
employment action was taken against him because of his
disability. See, e.g., Witter v. Delta Air Lines, Inc.,
138 F.3d 1366, 1369 (11th Cir. 1998); Adamczyk v. Chief, ...