United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY L. BROOKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 22)
filed by Defendant Golden Partners, Inc. ("Golden
Partners"). Golden Partners also filed a Statement of
Undisputed Material Facts. (Doc. 24). Plaintiff Jimmy Davis
filed a Response in Opposition (Doc. 25) and a Response to
Golden Partners' Statement of Undisputed Material Facts,
which included his own Statement of Uncontroverted Facts.
(Doc. 26). Golden Partners then filed a Reply (Doc. 29) to
Mr. Davis's Response and a Response (Doc. 30) to Mr.
Davis's statement of uncontroverted facts. For the
reasons explained below, the Court DENIES
Golden Partners' Motion for Summary Judgment.
Partners is a corporate franchisee of several Golden Corral
restaurants in Arkansas and Missouri. At all times relevant to
this action, Mr. Davis worked at the Golden Corral restaurant
in Rogers, Arkansas. Mr. Davis has tested positive for human
immunodeficiency virus ("HIV"), and Golden Partners
concedes for the purposes of its Motion for Summary Judgment
that Mr. Davis is a "qualified individual" with a
"disability" as those terms are defined under the
Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA").
See 42 U.S.C. §§12102(1), 12111(8).
Mr. Davis's Employment and Termination
Davis started with Golden Partners as a server and, at the
time of his termination, was enrolled in Golden Corral's
management training program. Mr. Davis's supervisor at
the management training program was Jon Fritchey. Mr. Davis
scheduled a vacation from Monday, September 4, 2017, until
Wednesday, September 13, 2017. Golden Partners agreed to work
around Mr. Davis's planned vacation to facilitate his
enrollment in the management training program. When he
returned from vacation, Mr. Davis was scheduled to work at
the Golden Corral in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Thursday, September
14, 2017. Mr. Davis took Mr. Fritchey's personal laptop
and a food safety book with him on vacation. (Doc. 30, p.
after his scheduled vacation began, Mr. Davis sent a text
message to Mr. Fritchey informing him that his vacation had
been impacted by Hurricane Irma. Mr. Davis asked Mr. Fritchey
if he could return to work early on Monday, September 11,
2017, and Mr. Fritchey replied, "Yes, I'll adjust
your schedule." Mr. Davis did not respond to this text
Fritchey then sent a text message to Mr. Davis on Sunday,
September 10, 2017, and requested that Mr. Davis return the
food safety book when he returned to work on Monday,
September 11, 2017. Mr. Davis did not respond to this text
message. Mr. Davis did not report to work that Monday. At
10:29 p.m. on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, Mr. Fritchey sent
Mr. Davis the following text: "As I'm preparing for
the meeting tomorrow, I realized I haven't heard from you
at all. I hope everything is ok. I will see you at 9 am in
the morning." Mr. Davis did not respond to this text
message, and Mr. Davis had not contacted anyone with Golden
Partners to inform them that he would not be at work on
Monday or Tuesday of that week after all.
Mr. Fritchey came to work on Wednesday, September 13, 2017,
he realized that Mr. Davis was not there and sent another
text to him, which said, "Are you ok? Hadn't heard
from you." Mr. Davis did not respond to this text and
did not contact anyone at Golden Partners to notify them that
he would not be coming to work.
Davis was originally scheduled to return from his vacation on
Thursday, September 14, 2017, and he did not appear for work
that day either. Mr. Davis did not contact Mr. Fritchey or
anyone else at Golden Partners to notify them that he would
not appear for work as scheduled. Based upon Mr. Davis's
failure to report to work and his failure to notify anyone of
his inability to report to work, Mr. Fritchey testified that
he made the decision to terminate Mr. Davis on Thursday
evening. That same night, Mr. Fritchey called his supervisor,
Roger Schmidt, to discuss his decision.
next morning, Friday, September 15, 2017, at 7:35 a.m. Mr.
Fritchey sent the following email to Golden Partners'
Jimmy took a few days off starting 9/3/17. We assume he is
not coming back. He has basically disappeared. So no more
pay. I will term him in all pay this weekend.
(Doc. 24-2, p. 11). Two minutes later, Mr. Fritchey emailed
Golden Partners' security department and asked them to
deactivate Mr. Davis's security code. (Doc. 24-4). Then,
at 9:09 a.m. on the same day, Mr. Fritchey sent Mr. Davis the
following text message:
Really need to hear from you. If you just decided that this
was not what you want, which would really surprise me. If
something has happened, you need to let me know. I'm sure
we can figure this out.
(Doc. 24-1, pp. 96-97). At his deposition, Mr. Fritchey
testified that Mr. Davis had been terminated for "about
two and a half hours" when the 9:09 a.m. text was sent
to Mr. Davis on Friday morning. (Doc. 26-1, p. 56).
Davis sent the following response at 11:25 a.m. the same day:
I can't talk at the moment but I would like to stay. Yes
I'm going through some personal issues right now that has
[sic] blindsided me and did not want to bring them up there
with me. If you could give me until Wednesday I'd be more
than willing to return. I want to talk to you but at this
moment I'm not able to.
(Doc. 24-1, p. 98-100). The following exchange then ensued:
• Mr. Fritchey: "Ok give me a call as soon as you
• Mr. Davis: "Will do. Thank you for reaching out
to me I felt like I was backed into a corner with no where to
turn. I don't have to[o] many people in my life that
reaches [sic] out to me so thank you."
• Mr. Fritchey: "I just need to hear from you and
know what has happened."
• Mr. Davis: "K I will call you later this evening
Fritchey testified at his deposition that he did not inform
Mr. Davis about his termination during that exchange because