SELECTED SUPREME COURT
Cases highlited in blue are linked to the actual decision in Findlaw
Return to Selected Americans With Disabilities Act/504 Cases Court's Index
States v. Georgia, 546 U.S. 151, 126 S.Ct 877(1/2006) Goodman, petitioner in No. 04-1236,
is a paraplegic who sued respondent state defendants and others, challenging the
conditions of his confinement in a Georgia prison under, inter alia, 42
U. S. C. §1983 and Title II of the Americans with Disability Act of 1990. As
relevant here, the Federal District Court dismissed the §1983 claims because Goodman's
allegations were vague, and granted respondents summary judgment on the Title II money
damages claims because they were barred by state sovereign immunity. The United States,
petitioner in No. 04-1203, intervened on appeal. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the
District Court's judgment as to the Title II claims, but reversed the §1983 ruling,
finding that Goodman had alleged facts sufficient to support a limited number of Eighth
Amendment claims against state agents and should be permitted to amend his complaint. This
Court granted certiorari to decide the validity of Title II's abrogation of state
sovereign immunity. Held: Insofar as Title II creates a private cause of
action for damages against States for conduct that actually violates the
Fourteenth Amendment, Title II validly abrogates state sovereign immunity. Pp. 5-8.
(a) Because this Court assumes that the Eleventh Circuit correctly held
that Goodman had alleged actual Eighth Amendment violations for purposes of §1983, and
because respondents do not dispute Goodman's claim that this same conduct violated Title
II, Goodman's Title II money damages claims were evidently based, at least in part, on
conduct that independently violated §1 of the Fourteenth Amendment. No one doubts that
§5 grants Congress the power to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment's provisions by creating
private remedies against the States for actual violations of those provisions. This
includes the power to abrogate state sovereign immunity by authorizing private suits for
damages against the States. Thus, the Eleventh Circuit erred in dismissing those of
Goodman's claims based on conduct that violated the Fourteenth Amendment.
v. Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd., 545 U.S. 119, 125 S.Ct. 2169 (6/2005) The Fifth Circuit held
that Title III does not apply to foreign-flag cruise ships in U. S. waters because of
a presumption, which the court derived from, e.g., Benz v. Compania
Naviera Hidalgo, S. A., 353
U. S. 138, and McCulloch v. Sociedad Nacional de Marineros de
U. S. 10, that absent a clear indication of congressional intent, general
statutes do not apply to foreign-flag ships. Emphasizing that Title III does not contain a
specific provision mandating its application to such vessels, the court sustained the
dismissal of the petitioners' barrier-removal claims and reversed on their remaining
claims. Held: The judgment is reversed, and the case is remanded. Justice
Kennedy delivered an opinion concluding that except insofar as Title III regulates a
vessel's internal affairs, the statute is applicable to foreign-flag cruise ships in U. S.
v. Lane, 541 U.S. 509, 124 S.Ct. 1978 (5/2004) Held: As it applies to
the class of cases implicating the fundamental right of access to the courts, Title II
constitutes a valid exercise of Congress' authority under §5 of the fourteenth Amendment
to enforce that Amendment's substantive guarantees.
Gastroenterology Associates, P. C. v. Wells, 538 U.S. 440, 123 S.Ct. 1673 (4/2003)
Respondent filed suit alleging that petitioner medical clinic violated the
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA or Act) when it terminated her employment.
Petitioner moved for summary judgment, asserting that it was not covered by the Act
because it did not have 15 or more employees for the 20 weeks required by the ADA. That
assertion's accuracy depends on whether the four physician-shareholders who own the
professional corporation and constitute its board of directors are counted as employees.
In granting the motion, the District Court concluded that the physicians were more
analogous to partners in a partnership than to shareholders in a corporation and therefore
were not employees under the ADA. The Ninth Circuit reversed, finding no reason to permit
a professional corporation to reap the tax and civil liability advantages of its corporate
status and then argue that it is like a partnership so as to avoid employment
discrimination liability. Because the District Court's findings appear to weigh in favor
of concluding that the four physicians are not clinic employees, but evidence in the
record may contradict those findings or support a contrary conclusion under the EEOC's
standard, the case is remanded for further proceedings. Reversed and remanded.
U.S.A. Inc. v. Echazabal, 536 U.S. 73, 122 S.Ct. 2045 (6/2002) Chevron
defended under an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulation permitting the
defense that a workers disability on the job would pose a direct threat to his health. The
District Court granted Chevron summary judgment, but the Ninth Circuit reversed, finding
that the regulation exceeded the scope of permissible rulemaking under the ADA. Held:The
ADA permits the EEOCs regulation.
in her Official Capacity as member of the Boad of Poilice Commissioners of Kansas City
Missouri, etal. v. Gorman, --- U.S., 122 S.Ct. 2097 (2002) Court holds
that Punitive damages may not be awarded in private suits brought under 202 of the ADA and
504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Airway, Inc. v. Barnett, 535 U.S. 391, 122 S.Ct.1516 (2002) In its question
presented, US Airways asked whether the ADA requires an employer to assign adisabled
employee to a particular position even though another employee is entitled to that
position under the employers established seniority system. We answer that ordinarily
the ADA does not require that assignment. Hence, a showing that the assignment would
violate the rules of a seniority system warrants summary judgment for the employer unless
there is more. The plaintiff must present evidence of that more, namely, special
circumstances surrounding the particular case that demonstrate the assignment is
Motor Mfg., Kentucky, Inc. v. Williams, 534 U.S. 184, 122 S.Ct. 681 (2002) While
the Sixth Circuit addressed the different major life activity of performing manual tasks,
its analysis erroneously circumvented Sutton, supra, at 491, by focusing on
respondents inability to perform manual tasks associated only with her job. Rather, the
central inquiry must be whether the claimant is unable to perform the variety of tasks
central to most peoples daily lives. Also without support is the Sixth Circuits assertion
that the question whether an impairment constitutes a disability is to be answered only by
analyzing the impairments effect in the workplace. That the Acts disability definition
applies not only to the portion of the ADA dealing with employment, but also to the other
provisions dealing with public transportation and public accommodations, demonstrates that
the definition is intended to cover individuals with disabling impairments regardless of
whether they have any connection to a workplace. Moreover, because the manual tasks unique
to any particular job are not necessarily important parts of most peoples lives,
occupation-specific tasks may have only limited relevance to the manual task inquiry. In
this case, repetitive work with hands and arms extended at or above shoulder levels for
extended periods, the manual task on which the Sixth Circuit relied, is not an important
part of most peoples daily lives. Household chores, bathing, and brushing ones teeth, in
contrast, are among the types of manual tasks of central importance to peoples daily
lives, so the Sixth Circuit should not have disregarded respondents ability to do these
Tour Inc. v. Martin, 532 U.S. 661, 121 S.Ct.1879 (2001) Golfer Casey Martin
has a right under the ADA to use a golf cart between shots.
of Trustees of the University of Alabama v. Garrett, 531 U.S. 356, 121 S.Ct.955 (2001)
Suits in federal Court by state employees to recover money damages by reason of
the State's failure to comply with Title I of the ADA are barred by the Eleventh
v.Florida Bd. of Regents, 528 U.S. 62, 120 S.CT. 631 (2000) The Age
Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) makes it unlawful for an employer,
including a State, "to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual.
Although the ADEA does contain a clear statement of Congress' intent to abrogate the
States' immunity, that abrogation exceeded Congress' authority under §5 of the Fourteenth
Amendment. The ADEA is not "appropriate legislation" under §5 of the Fourteenth
Amendment. The ADEA's purported abrogation of the States' sovereign immunity is
accordingly invalid. (Not an ADA/504 Case but ultimately critical to the
application of the ADA/504 to the states.)
et. al. v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706, 119 S.Ct. 2240 (1999) The States'
immunity from private suit in their own courts is beyond congressional power to abrogate
by Article I legislation. (Not an ADA/504 Case but ultimately critical to the
application of the ADA/504 to the states.)
v. L. C. ex rel. Ziming., 527U.S.581, 119 S.Ct. 2176 (1999) Court
held that the ADA stepped up earlier efforts in the Developmentally Disabled Assistance
and Bill of Rights Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to secure opportunities for
people with developmental disabilities to enjoy the benefits of community living. The ADA
both requires all public entities to refrain from discrimination, see §12132, and
specifically identifies unjustified "segregation" of persons with disabilities
as a "for[m] of discrimination,"
Inc. v. Kirkingburg, 527 U.S. 555, 119 S.Ct. 2162, (1999) Court held some
impairments may invariably cause a substantial limitation of a major life activity, but
monocularity is not one of them, for that category embraces a group whose members vary by,
e.g., the degree of visual acuity in the weaker eye, the extent of their
compensating adjustments, and the ultimate scope of the restrictions on their visual
v. United Parcel Services, 527 U.S. 516, 119 S.Ct. 2133 (1999) Court held
plaintff with hig blood pressure was not disable within the meaning of the ADA because he
can bring his blood pressure down with medication.
et. al. v. United Airlines, 527 U.S. 471, 119 S.Ct. 2139 (1999) Court
held plaintiffs with extreme nearsightedness were not disabled under the meaning of the
ADA because their condition was correctable with contact lenses or glasses.
v. Policy Management Systems Corp. 526 U.S. 795, 119S.Ct 1597 (1999). Pursuit,
and receipt of SSDI benefits does not automatically estop a recipient from pursuing an ADA
v. Universal Maritime Service Corp., 119 S.Ct. 391 (1998). A collective
bargaining agreement's general arbitration clause does not require Wright to use the
arbitration procedure for alleged violation of the ADA.
v. Abbott, 524 U.S. 624, 118 S.Ct. 2196 (1998). Even though respondent's HIV
infection had not progressed to the so-called symptomatic phase, it was a
"disability" under §12102(2)(A), that is, "a physical . . . impairment
that substantially limits one or more of [an individual's] major life activities."
Department of Corrections v. Yeskey, 118 S.Ct. 1952 (1998). State
prisons fall squarely within the ADA's Title II's statutory definition of "public
entity," which includes "any . . . instrumentality of a State . . . or local
v. Turnage, 485 U.S. 535, 108 S.Ct. 1372 (1988). Veterans
Administration regulations defining alcoholism as "willful misconduct" did not
violate 504. Ten year extension of GI Bill for disability was denied to those whose
disability was alcoholism. There is nothing in the rehabilitation Act that requires that
any benefit extended to one category of handicapped persons also be extended to all other
categories of handicapped persons.
Bd. of Nassau County, Fla. v. Arline, 480 U.S. 273, 107 S.Ct. 1123 (1987). The
court found that a person afflicted with tuberculosis is a handicapped individual within
the meaning of 504. Whether plaintiff was otherwise qualified was remanded to the district
court to determine the duration and severity of plaintiffs condition as well as the
probability she could transmit the disease. Also to determine if plaintiff was contagious
at the time she was discharged or if she could have been reasonable accommodated.
Dept. of Transp. v. Paralyzed Veterans of America, 477 U.S. 597, 106 S.Ct. 2705 (1986).
504 does not apply to commercial airlines because airports receive federal
funds making airlines indirect recipients. Airlines do not receive funds. Air traffic
control system does not constitute ""federal financial assistance."
v. American Hosp. Ass'n, 476 U.S. 610, 106 S.Ct. 2101 (1986). A
hospitals withholding of treatment from a handicapped infant when no parental
consent has been given cannot violate 504 for without parental consent the infant is
neither "otherwise qualified" nor has he been denied care "solely by reason
of his handicap." There was no example of a hospital as opposed to a parent
withholding medical care on the basis of handicap.
v. Choate, 469 U.S. 287, 105 S.Ct. 712 (1985). Tennessee proposed to
reduce the number of hospital days Medicaid would pay for from 20 to 14. The court held
that the reduction did not violate 504 even it had a disproportionate impact on the
handicapped. The 14 day limit is neutral on its face and is not alleged to rest on a
discriminatory motive. The state is not required to assure the handicapped "adequate
health care" by providing them with more coverage than the non-handicapped.
Rail Corp. v. Darrone, 465 U.S. 624, 104 S.Ct. 1248 (1984). Plaintiff
was entitled to recover back pay in a 504 employment discrimination case even though the
employer did not receive federal aid for the primary purpose of promoting employment. The
mere receipt of federal funds was sufficient.
Community College v. Davis 442 U.S. 397, 99 S.Ct. 2361 (1979). First
Supreme Court 504 Case. Court held that 504 did not compel college to undertake
affirmative action that would dispense with need for effective oral communication in the
colleges nursing program so that student with a bilateral, sensory-neural hearing
loss could be included in that program. It appeared unlikely plaintiff could benefit from
any affirmative action as required with regard to modifications of programs to accommodate
handicapped person and the provision of auxiliary aids such as sign language interpreters.
Situation may arise where a refusal to modify an existing program might become
unreasonable and discriminatory.