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Court: Driver didn't prove discrimination

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of a truck driver's former company in the driver's suit against it for discrimination, finding he failed to present a genuine issue of material fact in his Americans with Disabilities Act claims.

In Gerald D. Lloyd v. Swifty Transportation, Inc., No. 07-1476, Gerald Lloyd worked for Swifty from 1998 until May 2005 as a night-shift driver. The company was aware of his prosthetic leg when it hired him and granted him medical leave several times.

Lloyd filed his suit claiming violations under the ADA and the Family and Medical Leave Act in August 2005, claiming Swifty repeatedly failed to promote him to lead driver, disciplined him, paid him less than other drivers, and created a hostile working environment that led him to quit, all relating to his disability. He also claimed the company breached a negotiated settlement agreement by not interviewing him for two open lead-driver positions, which would be considered a promotion.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of Swifty. Since the company employs fewer than 50 workers, it's not subject to the FMLA, affirmed the federal appellate court.

In Lloyd's breach-of-contract claim, he never showed he was qualified to be promoted to lead driver. His agreement with the company was that they would interview him for any open lead-driver positions, but Swifty wasn't obligated to hire him if he wasn't qualified, Judge Ilana D. Rovner wrote.

Even though it's undisputed by the parties that Lloyd wouldn't have been promoted, he believes he should be eligible for damages for being denied even the opportunity to interview for a lead-driver position twice in 2004.

"The District Court observed that the Indiana courts have not yet recognized lost-opportunity damages in contracts cases. In this court Lloyd does not disagree or provide any authority that the District Court is wrong. More importantly, Lloyd failed to produce any evidence about lost-opportunity damages."

The 7th Circuit also affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Swifty in all of Lloyd's remaining claims. Lloyd failed to establish a prima facie case that he was discriminated against because of his disability. Lloyd, who had been disciplined for loading gas from the wrong supplier, didn't present any evidence to show other drivers without a disability weren't disciplined for similar conduct. He also failed to establish a prima facie case regarding his pay because he didn't prove he was paid less than similarly situated drivers without a disability, wrote the judge.

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