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Feist v. Louisiana

Feist v. Louisiana

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Published by Eric Meyer
Fifth Circuit rules that ADA does not require link between reasonable accommodation requested and essential job function.
Fifth Circuit rules that ADA does not require link between reasonable accommodation requested and essential job function.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Eric Meyer on Oct 10, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/17/2013

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1
FeistalsoarguesthatLDOJ failed to reasonably accommodate her request for “jobrestructuringbynot allowinghertoworkfromhome,butissuewasnotraisedinthecourtbelow,andthusneednotbeaddressed here.
See BP Exploration Libya Ltd. v. Exxonmobil 
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALSFOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
No. 12-31065PAULINE G. FEISTPlaintiff-Appellantv.STATE OF LOUISIANA, Department of Justice, Office of the AttorneyGeneralDefendant-AppelleeAppeal from the United States District Courtfor the Eastern District of LouisianaBefore DAVIS, JONES, and BENAVIDES, Circuit Judges.BENAVIDES, Circuit Judge:Pauline G. Feist, a former assistant attorney general for the LouisianaDepartmentofJustice (“LDOJ), claims that LDOJ (1) discriminated against herinviolationoftheAmericanswithDisabilitiesAct(ADA”)by declining toprovide a free on-site parking space to accommodate her disability (osteoarthritisoftheknee),and(2)violatedtheADA and Title VII by terminating heremploymentinretaliationforchargesshefiledwiththeU.S.EqualEmploymentOpportunity Commission (“EEOC).
1
United States Court of AppealsFifth Circuit
F I L E D
September 16, 2013Lyle W. CayceClerk
 
No. 12-31065
Libya Ltd.
, 689 F.3d 481, 493 n.9 (5th Cir. 2012)
.
2
Amicion this issue include the Advocacy Center and Disability Rights Texas,whicharethecongressionallymandateddisabilityprotectionandadvocacy”agenciesforLouisianaand Texas, respectively.
See 
42 U.S.C. § 15041
et seq.
2 Thedistrictcourtgrantedsummaryjudgment on Feist’s discriminationclaim,holdingthatshefailedtoexplainhowthedenialofon-siteparkinglimitedherabilitytoperformtheessentialfunctionsofher job. Feist filed timelyappeal,arguing that the ADA does not require a link between a requestedaccommodation and an essential job function.
2
 ThedistrictcourtalsograntedLDOJsmotionforsummaryjudgmentonFeist’sretaliationclaim,findingthatFeistwasdismissedforpoorperformanceand holdingthat Feist produced no evidence that, but for a retaliatory motive,LDOJwouldnothavedismissedher.Feist appeals, claiming that she hasevidence that any performance-based justificationis mere pretext, intended todisguise the retaliatory dismissal.Becausewefindanerrorinthedistrictcourtsanalysisofthediscriminationclaim,wevacatesummaryjudgmentinpartandaffirminpart.
I. Standard of Review
 ThisCourtreviewsdenovothedistrictcourt’sgrantof summary judgment,applyingthesamestandardasthedistrictcourt.
Fabela v. SocorrIndep. Sch. Dist.
,329F.3d409, 414 (5th Cir. 2003). Summary judgment isappropriateifthemovingpartycanshowthatthereisnogenuinedisputeastoanymaterialfactandthemovantisentitledtojudgmentas a matter of law.’
United States v. Renda Marine, Inc.
,667F.3d651,655(5thCir.2012)(quotingF
ED
.R.C
IV
.P.56(a)).When considering a motion for summary judgment, acourtmustviewallfacts and evidence in the light most favorable to thenon-movingparty.”
Juino v. Livingston Parish Fire Dist. No.
,717F.3d431,433(5thCir.2013).In addition, an appellate court “may affirm summary
 
No. 12-31065
3
 Thisspecificthree-partformulation has not been set out by the Fifth Circuit, butsimilarelementsarepresentacrosscases
. See, e.g.
,
Griffin v. UPS 
,661F.3d216,222(5thCir.2011);
Mzyk v. N. E. Indep. Sch. Dist.
,397F.Appx13,16n.3(5thCir.2010);
seealso Wilsov. Dollar Gen. Corp.
,717F.3d337,335(4thCir.2013);
Cloe v. City of Indianapoli
,712F.3d1171, 1176 (7th Cir. 2013).
3 judgmentonanygroundsupportedbytherecord,evenifitisdifferentfromthatreliedonbythedistrictcourt.
Reed v. Neopost USA, Inc.
, 701 F.3d 434, 438(5th Cir. 2012) (internal quotation marks omitted).
II. Discrimination
 TheADAprohibitscoveredemployersfromdiscriminat[ing]againstaqualifiedindividualonthebasisofdisability.42 U.S.C. § 12112(a).Discriminationincludesfailuretomakereasonableaccommodationstotheknownphysicalormentallimitationsofanotherwisequalifiedindividualwithadisability...unlesssuchcovered entity can demonstrate that theaccommodationwouldimposeanunduehardship.”
Id.
§12112(b)(5)(A).Thus,aplaintiffmustprovethefollowingstatutoryelementstoprevailinafailure-to-accommodate claim: (1) the plaintiffisa “qualified individual with adisability;”(2)thedisabilityanditsconsequentiallimitationswereknown”bythecoveredemployer;and(3)theemployerfailedtomake “reasonableaccommodations” for such known limitations.
3
 The district court found that Feist is a qualified individual with adisabilityandthatthedisabilitywasknownbytheemployer,andthepartiesdonotdisputethesefindings.Consequently, the sole question on appeal is whetherthedistrictcourtappliedthecorrectlegal standard in determining whetherFeist’sproposedaccommodationwasreasonable.The court held that Feist couldnot show the proposalreasonablebecauseshe[did] not allege or demonstratethattheparkingsituationlimitedherabilitytoperformtheessentialfunctionsofherjob.The LDOJ urges this Court to affirm the district courtsinterpretation.Feist, however, points out that reasonable accommodations are

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