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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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