« Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 0 opinion(s) today (and 6 NFP memorandum decisions) | Main | Law - "Same-Sex Parents’ Rights May Be Unresolved After Justices’ Ruling" »

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case today, a reversal

In Marc Shell v. Kevin Smith (SD Ind., Magnus-Stinson), a 14-page opinion, Judge Theresa L. Springmann of the Northern District of Indiana, sitting by designation, writes:

Plaintiff-Appellant Marc Shell worked for the City of Anderson Transit System (CATS) as a Mechanic’s Helper on the day shift. According to the job description for the position, a Mechanic’s Helper may occasionally drive buses to field locations. A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is required to drive the CATS buses. Shell’s hearing and vision impairments prevent him from obtaining a CDL. Nevertheless, he worked for twelve years in the position without a CDL and without driving a bus. When general manager Stephon Blackwell was appointed at CATS as part of personnel changes made by the new mayor, he informed Shell that his employment would be terminated unless he obtained a CDL, as the job description required it. When Shell did not get his CDL, Blackwell terminated his employment.

After he was fired, Shell sued the City under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for failure to accommodate his disability, leading to the termination of his employment. He also alleged that his termination was politically motivated. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the City.

On appeal, Shell challenges only the district court’s entry of judgment as a matter of law on his ADA claim. We agree that a jury should decide whether the City violated the ADA. * * *

Because there is evidence and reasonable inferences favorable to both parties, and the factual record does not establish as a matter of law that driving a bus was an essential function of the Mechanic’s Helper position, this case must be allowed to proceed to a jury. The judgment of the district court is vacated, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 15, 2015 12:26 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions