LIPEZ, Circuit Judge.
In this workplace discrimination and retaliation suit, the district court ruled that plaintiff, Erick Carreras, failed to comply with Puerto Rico's anti-ferret rule, D.P.R.R. 56(c). On this basis, it deemed as admitted portions of defendant Sajo, García & Partners' ("SGP") statement of uncontested facts and granted summary judgment to defendant. Carreras argues on appeal that the district court improperly invoked Local Rule 56 and erred in rejecting his claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213 ("ADA"), and various Puerto Rico anti-discrimination laws. We disagree and affirm.
We begin with a recitation of the basic facts underlying the dispute, derived from the facts explicitly admitted by Carreras. SGP, a marketing agency, hired Carreras as an Art Director in December 2003. Carreras' responsibilities included preparing the creative art for products being marketed by SGP. In August 2004, Carreras
On October 21, 2004, Carreras emailed Ruíz informing him that he had worked late that evening and had been prevented from taking his insulin shot. Ruíz replied the next morning asking Carreras to clarify what had prevented him from taking his medicine and stating that there should be no obstacle to Carreras taking his treatment. In response, Carreras stated that he was prevented from administering his medicine because he had to stay late at the office.
Carreras filed suit against SGP alleging that he had experienced discrimination based on his disability and retaliation for requesting a reasonable accommodation in violation of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213. After discovery was complete, SGP moved for summary judgment and filed a separate Statement of Uncontested Facts in support of its motion. In response, Carreras submitted a document styled as "Plaintiff's Response and Objections to Defendant's Proposed Statement of Uncontested Facts." The district court found that statement to be defective under Puerto Rico Local Rule 56 because it failed to admit, qualify or deny certain facts proposed by SGP, it did not contain a separate section for the new facts it sought to introduce, and it did not contain appropriate citation to the record to support denied facts.
In accordance with the anti-ferret rule, the district court disregarded those portions of Carreras' opposition it found defective and deemed as admitted many of SGP's properly supported facts. See D.P.R.R. 56(e). With its recitation of the facts in its written opinion, the district court made clear the facts it deemed admitted. The court focused primarily on those facts pertaining to the effect, or lack thereof, of Carreras' diabetes on his work and daily life. In a footnote, the court explained that "the reason for [Carreras'] dismissal is in dispute. However, because it is immaterial for the resolution of this case, we will eschew any discussion in this regard." Hence, the court's recitation of "Uncontested Facts" in its opinion, where it sets forth the effect of its deeming analysis on the summary judgment record, does not focus on the retaliation claim.
After making its deeming determination, the district court granted summary judgment to SGP based on Carreras' failure to create a genuine issue of material fact as to whether he is disabled within the meaning of the ADA. The court noted, however, that even if Carreras qualified as disabled, his arguments that SGP failed to accommodate his disability must fail because Carreras had neither requested nor been denied accommodation. For the same reason, the district court rejected Carreras' claim that he was retaliated against for making a request for reasonable accommodation.
Carreras argues that the district court improperly applied Local Rule 56(c), the District of Puerto Rico's anti-ferret rule. The rule states, in relevant part:
D.P.R.R. 56(c). Subsection (e) of the rule states that citations must be "to the specific page or paragraph of identified record material supporting the assertion." D.P.R.R. 56(e). Failure to comply with the anti-ferret rule permits the court to "disregard any statement of fact not supported by a specific citation to record material properly considered on summary judgment." D.P.R.R. 56(e). We review the district court's application of a local rule for abuse of discretion. See Sánchez-Figueroa v. Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, 527 F.3d 209, 213 (1st Cir.2008). While a district court may choose not to invoke the rule in response to every violation, we have consistently upheld the enforcement of the rule, and we treat the district court's decision to apply it with deference. See CMI Capital Market Inv. v. González-Toro, 520 F.3d 58, 62-63 (1st Cir.2008); Mariani-Colón v. Dep't of Homeland Sec., 511 F.3d 216, 219 (1st Cir.2007); Cabán Hernández v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 486 F.3d 1, 7 (1st Cir. 2007). The rule is intended "to relieve the district court of any responsibility to ferret through the record to discern whether any material fact is genuinely in dispute." CMI Capital Market, 520 F.3d at 62. It prevents parties from "improperly shift[ing] the burden of organizing the evidence presented in a given case to the district court." Mariani-Colón, 511 F.3d at 219. As such, the rule is important to the functioning of the district court.
Here, Carreras did submit a response to SGP's Statement of Uncontested Facts. Although he argues that his response properly accepted or denied every fact with appropriate citation, Carreras properly denied only certain of SGP's facts. Accordingly, the district court stated that it would "partially disregard" Carreras' opposing statement of uncontested facts.
Finally, Carreras' response includes argumentation asserting numerous additional facts. Those facts are often unsupported by record citations, they are not numbered, and they are not "contain[ed] in a separate section." Carreras' argument that the rule does not require additional facts to be adduced in a separate section is unavailing. The plain language of the rule specifically requires that additional facts be put forward in a "separate section." D.P.R.R. 56(c). In light of these substantial failings, the district court acted well within its discretion when it deemed as admitted a portion of SGP's properly supported facts.
To survive summary judgment on his discrimination and retaliation claims, Carreras must establish a genuine issue of material fact as to whether he experienced disability discrimination or was retaliated-against within the meaning of the ADA. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c).
A. Disability Discrimination under the ADA
The district court found that Carreras failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination under the ADA because he could not establish that he is disabled within the meaning of the statute. Under the ADA, a disability is defined as: (a) a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of an individual's major life activities; (b) a record of such impairment; or (c) being regarded as having such an impairment. 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1).
We cannot agree, however, that on the record before us there is any genuine issue of material fact as to whether Carreras' diabetes "substantially limited" his ability to eat or to see. "The ADA does not define `substantially limits,' but `substantially' suggests `considerable' or `specified to a large degree.'" Sutton v. United Air Lines, Inc., 527 U.S. 471, 491, 119 S.Ct. 2139, 144 L.Ed.2d 450 (1999), superseded by statute on other grounds, ADA Amendments Act of 2008, Pub.L. No. 110-325, 172 Stat. 3553 (2008). To be substantially limiting, an impairment must cause a person to be "unable to perform a major life activity that an average person in the general population can perform," or to be significantly restricted in the performance of a particular major life activity as compared to an average person in the general population. 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(j)(1); see also Carroll v. Xerox Corp., 294 F.3d 231, 239 (1st Cir.2002).
1. Carreras' claim that his diabetes substantially limits his vision
The facts of record fail to create a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Carreras' vision is substantially limited by his diabetes. Carreras asserts that high blood sugar levels cause his vision to blur, constituting a substantial limitation under the ADA. He does not contest, however, that his latest blurred vision episode occurred a year before he was deposed in this case. Nor does he set forth facts that would explain how such infrequent episodes of blurred vision cause him to be significantly restricted in his ability to see. "To qualify as disabling, a limitation ... must be permanent or long term, and considerable compared to the [seeing] most people do in their daily lives." Fredricksen v. United Parcel Serv., Co., 581 F.3d 516, 522 (7th Cir.2009) (citation and quotation marks omitted).
The facts show that Carreras' ability to see does not differ in a significant way from the ability to see of the general population. Cf. Albertson's, Inc., v. Kirkingburg, 527 U.S. 555, 565-67, 119 S.Ct. 2162, 144 L.Ed.2d 518 (1999) (finding that monocular individuals must "prove a disability by offering evidence that the extent of the limitation in terms of their own experience, as in loss of depth perception and visual field, is substantial"); Kelly v. Drexel Univ., 94 F.3d 102, 106, 108 (3d Cir.1996) (finding plaintiff's limp and inability to walk more than a mile or jog did not "substantially limit him in the relevant major life activity, walking"). It is undisputed that Carreras drives his son to school and himself to work every morning, drives home again in the evening, reads as part of his current employment, and performs other routine daily activities that presumably would not be possible if his vision were substantially impaired. See Scheerer v. Potter, 443 F.3d 916, 920 (7th Cir.2006) (finding diabetic with "intermittent episodes of significant neuropathy" not substantially limited in his ability to walk because "he nonetheless was generally able to walk and stand during the pertinent time period"). As described in the record, Carreras' diabetes does not limit his sight to a degree that would differentiate him from the rest of the population.
2. Carreras' claim that his diabetes substantially limits his eating
Carreras has also failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact as to whether his diabetes substantially limits his life activity of eating. It is undisputed that Carreras' diabetes requires certain adjustments to his diet. He avoids refined flours, drinks juice that is not artificially sweetened, and eats six meals a day. Proof that a medical condition "requires medication, a fixed meal schedule, [and] timely snack breaks," without more, does not amount to a "substantial limitation" under the ADA. Sepulveda, 167 F.Supp.2d at 191 (quotation marks omitted).
The analysis of when and under what conditions diabetes is considered a disability for ADA purposes "is a matter of degree." Id. at 190. We recognize that living with diabetes may result in a complex calculus balancing food intake, activity level, and the amount of insulin administered. An individual living with diabetes may or may not experience a substantial limitation in his or her ability to eat as contrasted with the rest of the population. See, e.g., Lawson v. CSX Transp., Inc., 245 F.3d 916, 924 (7th Cir.2001) (describing substantial limitation on eating entailed by "perpetual, multi-faceted and demanding treatment regime" for plaintiff's diabetes (quotation marks omitted)); Rohr, 555 F.3d at 859 (finding genuine issue of material fact as to whether plaintiff had a substantial impairment in eating where he
The record indicates, however, that Carreras is at the far end of the spectrum from those plaintiffs who "cannot put a morsel of food" into their mouths "without carefully assessing whether it will tip [their] blood sugar[ ]" levels. Id.
In summary, Carreras adduces no evidence that his diabetes causes more than minor limitations on his eating and seeing. See Rohr, 555 F.3d at 860 ("If daily insulin injections alone more or less stabilized [plaintiff's] blood sugar levels, such that any limitation imposed on his diet would be minor, then [his] major life activity of eating might not be substantially limited."). We therefore agree with the district court that Carreras has not raised a genuine issue of material fact as to whether he is disabled under the ADA.
B. Retaliation under the ADA
The retaliation provision in the ADA states that "[n]o person shall discriminate against any individual because such individual has opposed any act or practice made unlawful by this chapter." 42 U.S.C. § 12203(a). In order to establish a claim of retaliation under the ADA, a plaintiff must show (1) that he engaged in protected conduct, (2) that he suffered an adverse employment action, and (3) that there was a causal connection between the protected conduct and the adverse employment action. Soileau v. Guilford of Maine, Inc., 105 F.3d 12, 16 (1st Cir.1997).
Once a plaintiff makes out a prima facie case of retaliation, "the burden shifts to the employer to articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its employment decision." Wright, 352 F.3d at 478 (citation and quotation marks omitted); see also McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802-804, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 36 L.Ed.2d 668 (1973) (establishing burden-shifting framework for Title VII cases). The employer's burden is "one of production, not persuasion." Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 142, 120 S.Ct. 2097, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000). If the employer produces a legitimate reason for its decision, "the burden under McDonnell Douglas shifts back to the plaintiff to show that the motive was discriminatory [or retaliatory]." Sabinson v. Trs. of Dartmouth Coll., 542 F.3d 1, 4 (1st Cir.2008) (citing Reeves, 530 U.S. at 142-43, 120 S.Ct. 2097); see also Kersey v. Wash. Metro. Area Transit Auth., 586 F.3d 13, 17 (D.C.Cir.2009). Thus, the plaintiff bears the ultimate burden to create a plausible inference that the employer had a retaliatory motive. Benoit v. Technical Mfg. Corp., 331 F.3d 166, 174 (1st Cir.2003).
Carreras argues that his email to Ruíz and three other SGP supervisors sent on October 21, 2004, in which he informed them that he had to work late and had been prevented from taking his insulin shot, constituted a request for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.
The district court found that Carreras had not requested an accommodation within the meaning of the ADA and granted summary judgment for SGP on the claim of retaliation. We affirm that judgment, albeit on different grounds. See Estades-Negroni v. Assocs. Corp. of North Am., 377 F.3d 58, 62 (1st Cir.2004) ("We may affirm ... on any grounds supported by the record.").
For convenience we assume, without deciding, that Carreras has made his prima facie case. As noted, once an employee has made a prima facie showing of retaliation, the burden shifts to the employer to produce evidence that there was a legitimate, non-retaliatory motive for the adverse employment action. Wright, 352 F.3d at 478. SGP has met its burden. SGP claims that Carreras' deficient performance and insubordination prompted the SGP partners to terminate his employment. In support of its claim, SGP introduced the email from Ruíz to Carreras. That email, written in all capital letters and dated August 25, 2004, reads, in relevant part:
This documentary evidence showing Ruíz's dissatisfaction with Carreras meets SGP's burden of producing evidence that demonstrates its legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for firing Carreras.
In the face of such evidence, Carreras bears the ultimate burden of establishing that SGP's stated reason for his dismissal is a pretext for retaliation. Santiago-Ramos v. Centennial P.R. Wireless Corp., 217 F.3d 46, 54 (1st Cir.2000). Carreras attempts to meet this burden by pointing to what he characterizes as inconsistencies in statements given by SGP managers about the reason he was fired, when the decision to fire him was made, and why there was a delay between the making of that decision and the firing. Specifically, Carreras cites deposition testimony showing that two of three members of SGP's management recalled that the decision to terminate Carreras was made in early-to-mid October, while another thought it was made at the end of September. Further, Carreras cites deposition testimony showing that one of those managers thought there was some delay between the decision and Carreras' firing because Carreras might improve his performance in that time, a second thought it was in order to hire a replacement, and a third thought the delay involved the need to complete legal paperwork. Finally, in its Joint Initial Scheduling Conference Memorandum, SGP said the reason for Carreras' firing was that his "output was not timely and up to the quality standards that defendant requested for him." By contrast, Carreras argues, Ruíz stated in his deposition that Carreras did good work, but that he was fired because of "coworker complaints and because he was not getting his job done in time."
An employee can establish pretext "by showing weaknesses, implausibilities, inconsistencies, incoherencies, or contradictions in the employer's proffered legitimate reasons such that a factfinder could infer that the employer did not act for the asserted non-discriminatory reasons." Id. at 56 (quotation marks and citation omitted) (emphasis added). The minor inconsistencies cited by Carreras, however, do not undermine SGP's contention that his work performance was unsatisfactory. The slight differences in SGP's accounts of the timing of the decision or the reason for the short delay before its implementation do not permit a reasonable factfinder to infer that SGP did not fire Carreras because of his poor work performance. The evidence was consistent on the essential point, i.e., that Carreras' work was untimely and therefore unsatisfactory. Our laws are designed to ensure against discrimination and retaliation, not "inaccuracy by an employer." Rivas Rosado v. Radio Shack, Inc., 312 F.3d 532, 535 (1st Cir.2002). Moreover, the dissatisfaction with Carreras was expressed in writing two months
In the final analysis, the only evidence in the summary judgment record supporting Carreras' retaliation claim is the temporal proximity between his October 21, 2004 email to Ruíz and his firing on October 25, 2004. Such temporal proximity may suffice for a prima facie case of retaliation. It does not satisfy Carreras' ultimate burden to establish that the true explanation for his firing was retaliation for engaging in protected conduct rather than poor performance. See Holloway, 275 Fed.Appx at 27 (suspicions raised by temporal proximity "can be authoritatively dispelled ... by an employer's convincing account of the legitimate reasons for the firing"); see also Soileau, 105 F.3d at 16-17 (rejecting claim of retaliation based solely on temporal proximity). We affirm the entry of summary judgment for SGP on Carreras' retaliation claim under the ADA.