July 14th, 2016

Patrick Reilly and Zachary Fowler Obtain Settlement for Disabled Worker

Attorneys Patrick Reilly and Zachary Fowler successfully obtained a settlement for a confidential amount on behalf of a client with Muscular Dystrophy (MD) who was fired by his employer. The client suffered an injury to his shoulder while working, which was unrelated to his MD.  His MD had never affected his ability to perform the essential functions of his job. Although the client was released to return to work as a press mechanic by the workers’ compensation physician, by two of his own physicians, and based upon an independent medical examination requested by the workers’ compensation carrier, the employer refused to return him to work. A lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on behalf of our client. Emails were provided  through discovery which stated that the employee was a “risk” to return to work and a “liability” because of his “condition.” Additionally, the Human Resources representative of the company told the client that he could not return because of his condition.

The employer claimed that our client was not “disabled” within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and argued that his MD did not substantially limit any major life activity.  The employer also claimed that it had non-discriminatory reasons for terminating our client’s employment.  Before trial, the employer attempted to have the case dismissed through summary judgment, but the court found that there was sufficient evidence present to find that our client was disabled within the meaning of the ADA, and that a reasonable jury could conclude that the employer engaged in discriminatory practices by forcing our client to submit to a battery of medical examinations not required of other employees.  At a final pretrial conference, the week prior to the scheduled date of commencement of trial, a favorable settlement was reached on behalf of our client.

Attorney Reilly and Attorney Fowler are members of the firm’s Employment Group, regularly providing litigation support to employers and individuals facing employment disputes.