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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

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

In Jack Brown v. Kevin Smith, Mayor of Anderson (SD Ind., Prratt), a 12-page opinion, Judge Williams writes:

During his lengthy tenure at the City of Anderson Transit System (CATS), Plaintiff Jack Brown developed diabetes and became unable to maintain his commercial driver’s license (CDL). For nearly a decade, this development proved irrelevant—at least from an employment standpoint. However, several years after being promoted to a position that required a CDL, Brown was fired. He sued the City of Anderson and others, alleging that his termination amounted to disability discrimination since possession of a CDL was not an essential function of his job. After the City unsuccessfully moved for summary judgment, a jury sided with Brown and awarded him damages.

The City raises several arguments on appeal. Principally, it contends that the district court should have ruled as a matter of law that possession of a CDL was an essential job function. Alternatively, the City claims that the district court erred in instructing the jury about the essential‐function inquiry, and in concluding that Brown adequately mitigated his damages. We disagree. The essential‐function issue is a factual question that was properly put before the jury, and the district court’s jury instructions on this issue were consistent with federal regulations and our precedent. We also conclude that Brown reasonably attempted to mitigate his damages by starting his own trailer‐hauling business, despite the fact that the business ultimately failed. So we affirm the district court’s judgment.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 29, 2016 12:13 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions