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United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
April 17, 2014, Decided; April 17, 2014, Filed
Case No. 13-CV-484-JPS
The plaintiff, Daniel Dengel, filed this suit on April 30, 2013. (Docket #1). In it, he alleges that his former employer, Waukesha County ("Waukesha" or "the County"), terminated his employment in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 32-37). The County moved [*985] for summary judgment on Dengel's claims. (Docket #24). That motion is now fully briefed (Docket #25, #34, #44), and the Court addresses it.
1. FACTUAL BACKGROUND1
There are two essential pieces of this story: first, background about Mr. Dengel's behavior; and, second, the County's steps to address Mr. Dengel's behavior. The Court will discuss each of those component parts [**2] separately, as follows.
1.1 Daniel Dengel's Behavior
Daniel Dengel worked for Waukesha County's Department of Emergency preparedness from May 24, 1999, until November 19, 2010. (DPFF ¶ 4). During that time, he served as a Radio Services Technician. (DPFF ¶ 4). That position required him to install, maintain, and repair the County's various radio communication systems. (DPFF ¶ 5). Some of the primary users of those communications systems were emergency services providers: the police, fire, and EMS departments, all of which used the systems for communication, dispatching, and warning siren systems. (DPFF ¶ 5).
Mr. Dengel generally received good performance reviews while working in his position. (DPFF ¶ 12). He was rated as "Greater Than Effective" during every period he worked until the 2008-2009 period. (DPFF ¶ 12). His performance rating dropped, however, for the 2008-2009 period, as a result of reported timeliness and task completion issues. (DPFF ¶¶ 12-13 (quoting from Tuma Aff., Ex. 3 (2008-2009 Performance Evaluation)). Nonetheless, for the 2008-2009 period, Mr. Dengel was still rated "Effective." (DPFF ¶ 12).
Beginning around August of 2009, Mr. Dengel engaged in a series of behaviors [**3] that his supervisors found strange. First, on August 24, 2009, Mr. Dengel sent an email to the County's other Radio Services staff, stating "To Whom It May Concern: Please return the medium point black Sharpie to the pen holder next to my pc...the one labeled 'Put it back or I'll break your fingers!'" (DPFF ¶ 15 (admitted); but see PPFF ¶ 22 (asserting that supervisors never addressed this issue with Mr. Dengel)).
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16 F. Supp. 3d 983 *; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53374 **; 2014 WL 1572919
DANIEL B. DENGEL, Plaintiff, v. WAUKESHA COUNTY, Defendant.
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