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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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  1. The $320,000 is the amount the school spent in litigating two lawsuits: One to release the report involving John Trimble (as noted in the story above) and one defending the discrimination lawsuit. The story above does not mention the amount spent to defend the discrimination suit, that's why the numbers don't match. Thanks for reading.

  2. $160k? Yesterday the figure was $320k. Which is it Indiana Lawyer. And even more interesting, which well connected law firm got the (I am guessing) $320k, six time was the fired chancellor received. LOL. (From yesterday's story, which I guess we were expected to forget overnight ... "According to records obtained by the Journal & Courier, Purdue spent $161,812, beginning in July 2012, in a state open records lawsuit and $168,312, beginning in April 2013, for defense in a federal lawsuit. Much of those fees were spent battling court orders to release an independent investigation by attorney John Trimble that found Purdue could have handled the forced retirement better")

  3. The numbers are harsh; 66 - 24 in the House, 40 - 10 in the Senate. And it is an idea pushed by the Democrats. Dead end? Ummm not necessarily. Just need to go big rather than go home. Nuclear option. Give it to the federal courts, the federal courts will ram this down our throats. Like that other invented right of the modern age, feticide. Rights too precious to be held up by 2000 years of civilization hang in the balance. Onward!

  4. I'm currently seeing someone who has a charge of child pornography possession, he didn't know he had it because it was attached to a music video file he downloaded when he was 19/20 yrs old and fought it for years until he couldn't handle it and plead guilty of possession. He's been convicted in Illinois and now lives in Indiana. Wouldn't it be better to give them a chance to prove to the community and their families that they pose no threat? He's so young and now because he was being a kid and downloaded music at a younger age, he has to pay for it the rest of his life? It's unfair, he can't live a normal life, and has to live in fear of what people can say and do to him because of something that happened 10 years ago? No one deserves that, and no one deserves to be labeled for one mistake, he got labeled even though there was no intent to obtain and use the said content. It makes me so sad to see someone I love go through this and it makes me holds me back a lot because I don't know how people around me will accept him...second chances should be given to those under the age of 21 at least so they can be given a chance to live a normal life as a productive member of society.

  5. It's just an ill considered remark. The Sup Ct is inherently political, as it is a core part of government, and Marbury V Madison guaranteed that it would become ever more so Supremely thus. So her remark is meaningless and she just should have not made it.... what she could have said is that Congress is a bunch of lazys and cowards who wont do their jobs so the hard work of making laws clear, oftentimes stops with the Sups sorting things out that could have been resolved by more competent legislation. That would have been a more worthwhile remark and maybe would have had some relevance to what voters do, since voters cant affect who gets appointed to the supremely un-democratic art III courts.

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