Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Absurd Decision from the M.D. Pa.

Just out on Westlaw, though decided on December 27, is an opinion in Custer v. Penn State Geisinger Health System, 2004 WL 3088616 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 27, 2004). The decision involved a plaintiff who experienced "several lingering effects" of a severe form of meningitis, "including altered sensation from the waist down, an abnormal gait, decreased muscle strength, altered affect and presentation, and limitations in bladder and bowel function." He apparently also often had to use a wheelchair for mobility. The district court nonetheless held that the plaintiff was judicially estopped from claiming that he had an actual disability for purposes of the ADA (i.e., a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities), because the plaintiff, "a physician, stated repeatedly in his deposition that he is not disabled, as he can perform the duties of an OB-GYN."

I don't mean to be overly sophisticated here, but well, duh. The plaintiff has to testify that he can do the job -- he has to show that he's a "qualified individual." The fact that he said that his ability to do the job makes him not "disabled" shows that he wasn't using the word in the ADA's technical sense. To take such a generic statement as estopping him from contending that his condition, with all its serious effects, substantially limited major life activities is absurd.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home