Advertising Disclosure Email Disclosure

Third Circuit determines plaintiff’s failure to articulate that her cancer substantially limited a major life activity required dismissal of her lawsuit.

April 1, 2017
Alston v. Park Pleasant, Inc., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2668 (3d. Cir. Feb. 15, 2017)

The Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s disability discrimination claim, finding that the district court correctly determined that the plaintiff failed to satisfy her burden of establishing that she was disabled pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Specifically, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit in which she alleged that her employment was terminated within a few weeks after informing her supervisors that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Following the completion of discovery, the employer moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to establish that she was “disabled” pursuant to the ADA and that she was terminated for a legitimate, nondiscriminatory business reason. In upholding the dismissal of the lawsuit, the Third Circuit solely addressed the issue of disability. Although the Third Circuit noted that the amendments to the ADA “broadened the scope of ADA coverage by expanding the definition of disability” and “that cancer can—and generally will—be a qualifying disability under the ADA,” it also determined that the “determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity requires an individualized assessment.” In fact, while the court stated that the individualized assessment is “particularly simple and straightforward for diseases like cancer,” the plaintiff’s claim failed because she “has never claimed at any stage of this litigation that her [cancer] limited any substantial life activity” and her attorney admitted during argument that the plaintiff “has not claimed that she had any limitations in her activities.”

 

Case Law Alerts, 2nd Quarter, April 2017

Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2017 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.

Affiliated Attorney

Lee C. Durivage
Shareholder
(215) 575-2584
lcdurivage@mdwcg.com

Practice Areas

Before you send this email please note:

You are attempting to send email, through a link on our website, to an attorney of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin or an employee in our firm. Please note that your email may not be treated as confidential and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon the transmission of an email through this website if you are seeking to enter into such a relationship. Until such time as we have agreed to represent you, no information in your email will be treated as confidential. Please contact us directly by telephone at 1.800.220.3308 if it is your intent to seek legal counsel with our firm or convey confidential information.

If it is still your intent to send this email, knowing that it may not be treated as confidential, you may accept our terms of agreement by pressing "OK". If you choose not to accept these terms of agreement you may navigate away from this page by pressing "Cancel."