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Cases highlited in blue are linked to the actual decision in Findlaw

Return to Selected Americans With Disabilities Act/504 Cases Court's Index\

Mayers v. Laborers' Health & Safety Fund of North America, --- F.3d --- (3/2007) Hazel V. Mayers appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of her former employer, the Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North America (LHSFNA), on her allegations of discrimination, retaliation, and constructive discharge in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. Although we disagree with several aspects of the district court's analysis, we agree that summary judgment was appropriate.

Gasser v. District of Columbia, 442 F.3d 758 (3/2006) The district court’s ruling that one unquantified number can somehow “offset” another is inconsistent with Duncan’s requirement that the plaintiff present “some evidence” that is “significantly probative” of the “number and types of jobs” unavailable to the plaintiff. 240 F.3d  1115. The District claims the limitation was not on driving generally, but on being in a squad car that, in an emergency, could be diverted to a crime scene where Gasser could be exposed to life-threatening trauma. Gasser presented no evidence justifying an inference that the driving limitation was more substantial than this. Compare Murphy v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 527 U.S. 516, 524 (1999) (“At most, petitioner has shown that he is regarded as unable to perform the job of mechanic only when that job requires driving a commercial motor vehicle – a specific type of vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce.”). Gasser was on “notice, before the close of evidence, of the . . . evidentiary deficienc[ies]” repeatedly alleged by the District in its motions for judgment as a matter of law. Id. at 454. The expert testimony he elicited from Dr. Thomas was insufficient. “It is implausible to suggest . . . that parties will initially present less than their best expert evidence in the expectation of a second chance should their first try fail.” Id. at 455. Gasser “had a full and fair opportunity to present [his] case,” and “further proceedings are unwarranted.”

Smith v. District of Columbia 430 F.3d 450 (12/2005) Gwendolyn Smith, a former employee of the District of Columbia's Department of Mental Health (DMH), filed suit against the District, claiming she was the victim of discrimination and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The district court granted summary judgment to the District on both claims; Smith now appeals. We find the district court properly granted summary judgment on Smith's retaliation claim but abused its discretion by granting the District's late *452 motion for summary judgment on the discrimination claim. We therefore remand the case for trial on the discrimination claim.

Haynes v. Williams, 392 F.3d 478 (12/2004) as Haynes acknowledges, it was he who bore the burden of establishing that his impairment substantially limited his sleeping. See Appellant's Br. at 14 (citing Bailey, 306 F.3d at 1167). Although we must give Haynes the benefit of all reasonable inferences from the evidence in the record, evidence that is "merely colorable or not significantly probative" cannot create a genuine issue of material fact. Bragdon, 524 U.S. at 653 (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50). The possibility that a jury might speculate in the plaintiff's favor is insufficient to defeat summary judgment. See Rogers Corp. v EPA, 275 F.3d 1096, 1103 (D.C. Cir. 2002). At most, then, the plaintiff's evidence would have supported a finding that some locations other than his workplace bothered him to some extent. Such evidence would not have permitted a reasonable jury to conclude that Haynes was substantially limited in a major life activity. Accordingly, the  district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants was appropriate.

Taylor v. Small, 350 F.3d 1286 (12/2003) Section 504 does not on its face apply to federal employees; rather, it prohibits "discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance or under any program or activity conducted by any Executive agency...." 29 U.S.C. § 794. Employees of the Smithsonian Institution are not participants in or beneficiaries of a "program or activity conducted by any Executive agency"; they are Government employees. Moreover, because the Congress addressed discrimination against Government employees, including specifically employees of the Smithsonian Institution, in § 501, it is highly unlikely the Congress meant to address the subject again in § 504. See McGuinness v. U.S. Postal Serv., 744 F.2d 1318, 1321 (7th Cir. 1984). Both in its own terms and in the context of the statutory scheme, therefore, it is unreasonable to interpret § 504's prohibition of "discrimi- nation under any program or activity conducted by any Executive agency" as a prohibition of discrimination in employment by the Government

Doe v. U.S. Postal Service, 317 F.3d 339, (2/2003) An HIV-positive postal worker who first revealed his medical condition to Postal Service officials as part of a request for leave pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act alleges that one of those officials disclosed his HIV status to his co-workers in violation of both the Privacy Act and the Rehabilitation Act. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Postal Service on both claims. Because we conclude that appellant has raised a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Postal Service officials disclosed information retrieved from his leave request form, and that the form constitutes an employer "inquiry" subject to the Rehabilitation Act's confidentiality require- ment, we reverse.

Duncan v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 240 F.3d 1110 (3/2001)  Appellant Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) challenges the district court's denial of its post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law in this discrimination action brought by appellee Jimmy Duncan under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq., (ADA). Because Duncan offered no significantly probative evidence below of the number and types of positions available in his local job market so as to demonstrate that his back impairment substantially limits his ability to work, we hold that he failed to establish he was "disabled" under the ADA. The district court therefore erred in denying WMATA's motion.

Fitts v. Federal Nat. Mortg. Ass'n, 236 F.3d 1 (1/2001)  Jane G. Fitts sued her former employer and the insurance company that administers claims under the employer's long-term disability plan, alleging that they violat- ed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) by terminating her disability benefits after 24 months. The district court dismissed Fitts' ADA counts and granted sum- mary judgment against her on the ERISA count. We affirm the dismissal of the ADA counts on the ground that the long- term disability plan comes within the safe harbor provisions of that statute.

Redd v. Summers, 232 F.3d 933 (12/2000)  The district court also granted summary judgment on Redd's § 504 claim, reasoning that Redd had "identified no evidence that would suggest that the [Bureau] utilized dis- criminatory administrative methods separate and distinct from its allegedly discriminatory employment practices." The court cited our decision in Barth v. Gelb, 2 F.3d 1180, 1183 (D.C. Cir. 1993), and summarized it as suggesting that § 501 "is the appropriate vehicle for employment discrimina- tion claims." That is indeed its suggestion, but the issue before the district court here was whether, § 501 having been shown to be inapplicable, Redd's § 504 claims had any merit. That the Bureau was not her employer, as the court had correctly found, sheds no light on that question. The Bu- reau's tour guide contract may constitute a federal program or activity, in which case Redd is entitled to show that she was unlawfully denied participation in the contract or retaliated against for protesting such denial. 29 U.S.C. § 794(a); 31 C.F.R. § 17.140. Accordingly, the court's grounds for grant of summary judgment as to § 504 were unsound

E.E.O.C. v. Aramark Corp., Inc., 208 F.3d 266 (2000) 

McGill v. Munoz, 203 F.3d 843 (2000)  Plaintiff Thu McGill filed suit against her former employer, the Overseas Private Invest- ment Corporation (OPIC), alleging, inter alia, that OPIC discriminated against her in violation of the Rehabilitation Act. The district court denied OPIC's post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law on that claim, and OPIC appealed. We hold that because McGill failed to offer evidence from which a reasonable jury could have concluded that OPIC discriminated against her, the decision of the district court must be reversed

Duncan v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 201 F.3d 482 (2000)  Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) challenges the district court's denial of judgment as a matter of law on the claims Jimmy Duncan brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq. (1994), and for which a jury returned a verdict awarding Duncan $250,000 in compensatory damages: $125,000 for the "decision not to reasonably accommodate [him]" and $125,000 "as a result of [WMATA's] decision to terminate [him]." Judgment on the Verdict, ¶ ¶ 7, 8. WMATA also challenges two post-trial orders granting attorney's fees and costs and one post-trial order granting backpay and prejudgment interest. We conclude that Duncan failed to establish he was disabled and thus protected under the ADA and, therefore, reverse the district court's order denying judgment as a matter of law. We also vacate the jury verdict and the post-trial orders noted above.

Flemmings v. Howard University, 198 F.3d 857 (1999)  Appellee Virginia Flemmings filed suit against Howard University, her former employer, for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (the "ADA"). Flemmings suffers from vertigo and Meniere's disease, which in 1996 and 1997 first substantially limited her ability to drive, then precluded her from working at all. Although Flemmings was on medical leave for most of the period in question, she claims that Howard failed to reasonably accommodate her disability by refusing her request for a revised schedule so that she could car pool with her husband and son. Howard counters that, for the time period at issue, Flemmings was not an otherwise qualified individual with a disability as defined by the ADA, and that even if she was, Howard did not fail to offer her a reasonable accommodation.   The district court granted summary judgment for Flem- mings and against Howard, finding that Flemmings was a qualified individual as defined by the ADA and that the revised schedule would not have presented an undue hardship for Howard. Howard appeals that judgment. Because we find that there was no date for which Flemmings has offered evidence substantiating both an accommodatable disability and a denial of accommodation, we vacate the district court's grant of summary judgment for Flemmings, and order the district court to issue an order granting summary judgment for Howard.

Swanks v. Washington Metropolitan Area TransitAuthority, 179 F.3d 929 (1999) In Swanks v. WMATA , 116 F.3d 582, 583 (D.C. Cir. 1997) (" Swanks I "), the court held that receipt of disability benefits under the Social Security Act, see 42 U.S.C. § 423 (1994), did not bar recovery under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 (1994), et seq. , and remanded the case to the district court for a jury to determine whether the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority ("WMATA") had discriminated against Michael Swanks. See 116 F.3d at 587-88. Thereaf- ter a jury found for WMATA on Swanks' claim that WMATA had failed to accommodate his request for additional exercise, and for Swanks on the question of whether WMATA had fired him because of his disability. On appeal, WMATA contends that Swanks failed to show that he remained quali- fied for his position as a special police officer once his commission as a special police officer under District of Colum- bia law expired, and that he had been discriminated against because of his disability. Inasmuch as the only question before this court is whether, absent an error of law by the district court, no reasonable juror could find that WMATA discriminated against Swanks because of his disability, and there was no legal error and ample evidence on which the jury could reasonably find discrimination, we affirm.

Paralyzed Veterans of America v. D.C. Arena L.P., 117 F.3d 579 (1997).  Arena required to provide users of wheelchairs with lines of sight comparable to members of general public. Most but not all wheelchair seating had to have sight lines over standing spectators.

Buck v. U.S. Dept. of Transp., 56 F.3d 1406 (1995).  It was not unreasonable not to grant waiver of hearing requirement to deaf drivers of intra state vehicles.

Dorsey v. U.S. Dept. of Labor, 41 F.3d 1551 (1994).  No private right of action by HIV positive plaintiff against the Federal Government for damages under 504 because there was no explicit language in the act waiving the government's sovereign immunity.

California Ass'n of the Physically Handicapped, Inc. v. F.C.C., 840 F.2d 88 (1988).  Rehabilitation Act did not require FCC to consider licensee's practices in captioning television programs for hearing impaired viewers in determining whether to renew broadcast license. The Rehabilitation Act does not require television stations to adopt equal employment opportunities program for the handicapped.

Blackwell v. U.S. Dept. of Treasury, 830 F.2d 1183 (1987).  Sexual orientation or preference does not fall within the compass of the Rehabilitation Act.

Milbert v. Koop, 830 F.2d 354 (1987).  Military exception to the Rehabilitation Act did not apply to commissioned office of US Public Health Service and therefore did not bar him from bringing suit.

Paralyzed Veterans of America v. C.A.B., 752 F.2d 694 (1985).   504 applies to all commercial air carriers. However, regulation which extends, but limits, discretion to airlines to make demands or requests of handicapped persons is not unreasonable nor is it unreasonable to require all handicapped passengers who will need extensive special assistance to notify the airline 48 hours in advance.

American Public Transit Ass'n v. Lewis, 655 F.2d 1272 (1981).   DOT regulations requiring every new bus or subway car be accessible to wheelchairs regardless of cost exceeded its authority under 504. 504 does not require an affirmative action obligation.

Ryan v. Federal Deposit Ins. Corp., 565 F.2d 762 (1977).  FDIC had duty to structure its procedures and programs so as to insure that handicapped individuals were afforded equal opportunity in both job assignment and placement.