Tellis v. Alaska Airlines, Inc., 414 F.3d 1045 (9th Cir. 2005)

H. Charles Tellis was terminated from his job as an Alaska Airlines maintenance mechanic when he took an unexcused leave of absence from work to fly from Seattle to Atlanta in order to retrieve one of the family’s automobiles, which he then drove back to Seattle. Tellis contended that his trip to Atlanta (which he took during the time his wife was giving birth to their child) “provided psychological reassurance to [his wife] that she would soon have reliable transportation, and his [cell] phone calls to her while he drove back to Seattle provided moral support and psychological comfort.” The district court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that “as a matter of law, providing care to a family member under the FMLA requires some actual care which did not occur here.”