A banc federal appeals court overturned its own panel ruling on Wednesday and held a plaintiff in a case where it was not possible to satisfy disability does not have to prove an unfavorable employment measure to successfully continue its litigation.
Laurie Exby-Stolley had resigned from her position as inspector of the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment in Greely, Colorado, after losing the full use of her dominant right arm in a work accident, becoming permanently disabled, and the county allegedly failed to accommodate her disability, according to legal documents in Laurie Exby-Stolley v. Board of County Commissioners, Weld County, Colorado.
Ms. Exby-Stolley brought an action against the county in the U.S. District Court in Denver, accusing it of violating Section I of Americans with Disabilities for failing to meet her disability.
At his trial, the judge instructed the jury that it could not be found in Mrs Exby-Stolley's case, unless it concluded that she was released from her job or suffered another negative employment measure due to her disability.
The jury ruled in favor of the county and found that while she was disabled, Mrs. Exby-Stolley could not win the case because she had not proved that she had suffered negatively from the county.
A split three-judge appeals panel upheld the lower court's decision, but overturned in a banc court's 7-6
for not reasonably satisfying Mrs Exby-Stolley's disability. [1
" Under the circumstances here, the district court's error of instruction compels us to reverse its judgment, "the decision said. There is" much more than "a small possibility" here that the jury based its verdict on the erroneous instruction regarding an unfavorable employment measure, "it said, submitting the case for further negotiation.
.] Miss Exby-Stolly's lawyer, Jason B. Wesoky, a shareholder with Darling Milligan PC in Denver, said in a statement: "The main issue decided today is quite simple despite the lengthy statement. The ADA says in very simple and clear language that an employer "discriminates" against a disabled employee when the employer "does not satisfy" the employee.
"Despite the simplicity of the statutes, the difference turns into knots to produce a tortured reading of the charter to shoehorn in an unfavorable employment measure to a failure to meet claims.
The county's lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this month, a federal appeals court restored the ADA. and the Family Medical Leave Act accused by a former injured Walmart Inc. worker who was fired after she refused an allegedly impossible alternative position.