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7th Circuit rules against fired animal shelter worker

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed summary judgment for the city of Jeffersonville after finding that a terminated employee’s lawsuit claiming her firing violated the Americans with Disabilities Act can’t proceed because the woman doesn’t qualify as “disabled” under the ADA.

Angelina Povey injured her wrist while working as an attendant at the city’s animal shelter. This injury caused her job duties to be restricted and placed more requirements on the other employees to work more weekends. A co-worker began harassing Povey because of the effect of her injury on his schedule. She reported the co-worker’s comments, and the two were assigned to duties away from each other while working.

Shortly after Povey filed a complaint against the co-worker, the city learned that Povey’s permanent physical restrictions would leave her unable to perform any of the essential functions of an adoption kennel attendant. Her employment was then terminated.

She filed her lawsuit alleging discrimination under the ADA and that she was fired in retaliation for her prior complaints of discrimination and harassment. U.S. Judge Richard Young granted summary judgment for the city, finding Povey failed to demonstrate she was a qualified individual under the ADA. She didn’t provide evidence that her wrist injury impaired her from completing daily tasks; her perceived impairment foreclosed her from accepting a broad range or class of jobs; she was perceived unable to perform manual tasks; she was a qualified individual as defined under the ADA; and she was terminated in retaliation for exercising her rights under the ADA.

Povey argued on appeal that the city regarded her as having a substantial impairment that limited her abilities in the major life activity of working, pointing to comments from her supervisors. One supervisor said that  Povey wasn’t able to use her right hand, and another believed Povey’s work restrictions prevented her from performing her job and that the city didn’t have a job for someone with a permanent disability.

In Angelina Povey v. City of Jeffersonville, Indiana, 11-1896, the 7th Circuit rejected her claims, finding none of the statements to be so sweeping as to exclude Povey from a broad class of jobs. Those statements don’t constitute facts from which a jury could reasonably conclude that Jeffersonville regarded Povey as disabled under the ADA, wrote Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman, District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, who is sitting by designation.

Povey is not protected by the ADA provisions, and her retaliation claim under the ADA also fails.
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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