NELA Amicus Brief: Punt v. Kelly Services & GE Controls Solutions (10th Cir.)
On April 5, 2016, NELA was joined by our colleagues from the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in support of the Plaintiff-Appellant Kristin Punt in Punt v. Kelly Services & GE Solutions Controls.
The district court granted summary judgment against the Plaintiff regarding her failure to accommodate claim, based on an out-of-context interpretation of Cisneros v. Wilson (10th Cir. 2000), regarding whether her request for medical leave as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was “indefinite.” Specifically, the district court erred by: 1) finding that the Plaintiff’s accommodation request amounted to a request for indefinite leave, and was thus unreasonable as a matter of law, because she could not specify how long her impairment would last, and therefore guarantee that she would not need additional future leave; 2) imposing no obligation on the Defendant to engage in the ADA’s interactive process; and 3) focusing on her cancer’s duration rather than on its workplace impact.
Our amicus brief makes three arguments:
1) It describes the extent to which the facts of this case are clearly distinguishable from the peculiar facts of … Read More
NELA Amicus Brief: Stephenson v. Pfizer, Inc. (4th Circuit)
On March 9, 2015, NELA joined Disability Rights North Carolina and the National Disability Rights Network to file an amicus brief in support of plaintiff-appellant Whitney Stephenson in the case of Stephenson v. Pfizer, Inc., Case No. 14-2079, pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The issue on appeal is whether the district court erred in interpreting the language of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding the nature of the essential functions of the job and the scope of reasonable accommodations as set forth in the statute.
Plaintiff-appellant Whitney Stephenson has worked for Pfizer, Inc. as a pharmaceutical sales representative since 1984. As a pharmaceutical sales representative, Stephenson was required to meet with approximately eight to ten physicians per day to sell them Pfizer products, which meant that she spent up to ninety percent of her time traveling between various physicians’ offices in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina area. In October 2008, Stephenson was diagnosed with a disorder which caused a significant loss of vision in her left eye and the same condition affected her right eye in 2011. By October of that year she was legally blind and unable to drive safely. Stephenson had … Read More
NELA Amicus Brief: Summers v. Altarum Institute Corp. (4th Circuit)
On July 14, 2013, NELA joined AARP in filing an amicus brief supporting Carl Summers, a contract statistician with Altarum Institute Corp. who sustained serious injury to both legs in 2011 accident, in his appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Mr. Summers was terminated while recuperating from these injuries despite properly requesting an accommodation under the federal disability laws. Amici address several aspects of disability law not analyzed with clarity or precision by the district court, including the significance of enactment of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) as well as the issuance of revised regulations by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding the status of non-permanent medical conditions. In particular, the district court failed to properly analyze whether Summers was “substantially limited” in a “major life activity,” and whether Altarum “failed” to “reasonably” accommodate his injuries.
Authors: Daniel B. Kohrman, Brian East… Read More