Case name: Griffin v. Municipality of Kingston, No. 11-1768 (3d Cir. 11/30/11, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished decision, the 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a grant of summary judgment to a municipality on a detective's claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
What it means: Under the ADA of 1990, video evidence showing a worker carrying furniture and doing yardwork may contradict an argument that the worker is an individual with a disability.
Summary: A detective for a municipality's police department was injured when he slipped and fell on ice in the parking lot outside the department. The injury affected his ability to work, so he took a leave of absence. The department offered him a light-duty clerical position, but he did not return to work. While he was on leave due to the injury, the department posted an opening for a sergeant position. The detective applied, but he was denied the job due to his inactive status. He sued under the ADA of 1990. The 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a grant of summary judgment to the municipality, finding that his claim of disability was contradicted by video evidence showing him doing manual labor at home.
The 3d Circuit explained that the municipality presented video evidence of the detective "carrying a recliner near his home, carrying a watering can and an axe, and bending to plant flowers." This evidence was sufficient to defeat his argument that he was substantially limited in a major life activity because it showed he "was physically able to perform certain life functions." Therefore, he could not show he was an individual with a disability.
The 3d Circuit also reasoned that he was not a qualified individual with a disability because he refused the light-duty job and admitted that he could not perform the duties of a job that required a certain minimum level of fitness.
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January 30, 2012
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