General Disability-Related Litigation Matters

EEOC/Hoefner v. Schneider National, Inc.

Plaintiff was fired from his job with a trucking company when the company learned he had a condition that could result in sudden fainting spells, even though his doctor cleared him to work with no restrictions. He was fired because another driver for the company who had the same condition previously had an accident, and the company had decided on a "zero risk" policy for drivers with that condition.

The 7th Circuit held that the firing was permissible, and stated that the employer was entitled to decide what level of risk it would tolerate, despite the requirements of federal law. The Association joined several other disability rights organizations in filing an amicus brief in support of the EEOC’s (ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to have the 7th Circuit reconsider its decision.

Little v. Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Plaintiff, who had a leg amputated and uses a prosthetic device, faced summary judgment on the issue of whether she was a person with a disability as defined under Texas law. The Texas Supreme Court ultimately reversed the lower court's decision that plaintiff did not have a disability.

Spector v. Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd.

The Supreme Court held that Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to foreign flagged cruise ships.The Association (along with a number of other disability rights and advocacy organizations) joined an amicus brief filed on behalf of the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs sued on the ground that Norwegian had discrimination against people with disabilities by denying them access to portions of its ships, and by charging them a premium for the use of accessible features.

Urban v. Dolgencorp of Texas, Inc.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that an employer may fire a worker while taking leave under the Family Medical Leave Act if the employer’s doctor does not timely complete the paperwork to prove the reason for the leave. The Court held that the employer may terminate the employee without giving the employee notice or an opportunity to cure the paperwork problem. The Association filed an amicus brief in support of a motion for rehearing or rehearing en banc which was ultimately unsuccessful.