Presentation on theme: "Sutton v. United Airlines, Inc. 527 U.S. 471 (1999) Sherrie Brown LSJ 434/CHID 434 Winter 2010."— Presentation transcript:
Sutton v. United Airlines, Inc. 527 U.S. 471 (1999) Sherrie Brown LSJ 434/CHID 434 Winter 2010
FACTS Twin sisters (with severe myopia that is correctable to 20/20 vision) contend that UAL failure to hire them as global airline pilots was discrimination on the basis of disability and a violation of ADA Title I. UAL argued that they were not disabled under the statutory definition and therefore were not owed ADA protections—i.e., could not bring a complaint under ADA. Sisters argued that they met the definition because they are substantially limited in a MLA of seeing or regarded as substantially limited in a MLA of working. 10 th Circuit Court of appeals held for UAL on all counts and the case was dismissed.
ISSUE: Did Congress intend that determining whether an individual is “disabled” for purposes of ADA coverage does or does not consider mitigating factors? –Under both Subsection (A) and Subsection (C) of the statute.
HOLDING: Yes, Congress intended that mitigating factors be considered when determining whether an individual is “disabled” for purposes of the ADA.
REASONING: Majority: –Refused to defer to EEOC regulations or guidance on mitigating measures in determining disability; EEOC does not have the delegated authority to interpret the term under ADA. –Phrase “substantially limits” is in the present indicative verb tense. –Requirement that disabilities be assessed on individual basis. –Congress’ finding that only 43 M were covered. –In regards to Subsection (C) no evidence that UAL regarded twins as SL in MLA of working—requires a broad class of jobs.
HOLDING cont. Dissent: –Argued that this interpretation created bizarre results—i.e., ADA protections disappear when individuals attempt to minimize the impact of their disabilities on function. –Argued for EEOC interpretation on basis of legislative history and the fact that 8/9 circuits agreed with that interpretation.
SIGNIFICANCE Severe limitations in the number of plaintiffs who can get their complaint heard. If you do not meet the statutory definition of disability, can not claim disability discrimination. So…diabetics in control, epileptics in control, use of prosthetic? (what does the majority say to this?) Does the Court address the physical requirement UAL has for global pilots? Primarily see these arguments in employment cases.