« Courts - "Recent amendments to Federal Rules" | Main | Ind. Courts - "Lake Superior judges, magistrates fail to reach deal over Juvenile Court vacancy" »

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Two Indiana decisions today from the 7th Circuit

In UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. TYRONE REYNOLDS (ND Ind., Lozano), a 13-page opinion, Judge Williams writes:

Tyrone Reynolds and seven confederates held a drug dealer captive for more than 12 hours while they robbed his home, transported him across state lines, and demanded that he give them money and drugs. Reynolds was later caught, convicted by a jury of kidnapping, 18 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1), among other offenses, and sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal Reynolds argues that the district court clearly erred in its guidelines calculations by finding that he was a “leader or organizer” of the criminal activity, see U.S.S.G. § 3B1.1(a), and that he and the other assailants made a “ransom demand” during the crime, see id. § 2A4.1(b)(1). We uphold the leadership adjustment due to the overwhelming evidence in support of it. However, because we hold that the “ransom demand” provision of § 2A4.1(b)(1) requires, at a minimum, that the ransom demand be “made” to a third party, and because nothing in the record suggests such a demand was made, we vacate Reynolds’s sentence and remand for resentencing.
In TERRI BASDEN v. PROFESSIONAL TRANSPORTATION, INC. (SD Ind., Lawrence), a 9-page opinion, Judge Coleman (Hon. Sharon ΠJohnson Coleman of the ND Ill., sitting by designation) writes:
Terri Basden filed a complaint alleging that she was terminated from her employment with Professional Transportation, Inc. (PTI) in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The district court found that Basden had failed to present evidence sufficient to establish a prima facie right to the protection of either statute and granted summary judgment in favor of PTI. We affirm. * * *

However, the failure to engage in the interactive process required by the ADA is not an independent basis for liability under the statute, and that failure is actionable only if it prevents identification of an appropriate accommodation for a qualified individual. Rehling v. City of Chicago, 207 F.3d 1009, 1016 (7th Cir. 2000). Even if an employer fails to engage in the required process, that failure need not be considered if the employee fails to present evidence sufficient to reach the jury on the question of whether she was able to perform the essential functions of her job with an accommodation. Bombard v. Fort Wayne Newspapers, Inc., 92 F.3d 560, 563-64 (7th Cir. 1996). Because there was no evidence permitting a conclusion that Basden was a qualified individual for ADA purposes, the district court correctly entered summary judgment for PTI on her ADA claim despite any shortcomings in PTI’s response to her request.

Basden also sought relief from PTI for interference with her FMLA rights. It is undisputed that Basden was terminated before she had been employed by PTI for 12 months. According to the statute’s explicit terms, employees without 12 months of tenure are ineligible for its protection. 29 U.S.C. § 2611(2)(A)(I). Basden argues that the statute should not be interpreted to preclude relief for non-eligible employees who request leave for future periods. However, her request, made before she was eligible for FMLA protection, sought leave that would have commenced before her eligibility began. Basden cites no authority for extending the statute’s protections to her situation, and arguments for such extension have been squarely rejected elsewhere.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 8, 2013 01:08 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions