A man who lost his sight in 1999 is suing DaimlerChrysler, accusing it of discrimination for letting him go from his job at a foundry after he went blind.
Lee Martin Sr.'s federal lawsuit seeks lost wages for his termination in 2002 after an eye inflammation condition that first appeared in 1980 finally claimed his vision.
The case goes to a federal jury next week. U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker had rejected both sides' request for summary judgment, ruling that a jury should decide the case.* * *
Company spokesman Michael Palese said the company sympathizes with Martin, but believes that it ''acted appropriately under the circumstances of this case.''
''A foundry is a very, very dangerous environment even for a perfectly enabled person,'' he said. ''You've got molten metal rivers running through the middle of it. It isn't Disney World.''
Martin's attorney, Scott LaBarre, said his client had met with DaimlerChrysler officials in December 2004 to demonstrate that he could perform work as a filter operator and demonstrated that he could safely navigate the equipment.
LaBarre said Martin had ''the real hang of it within a few minutes.'' He said Martin gave DaimlerChrysler every chance to understand his capabilities.
''Whether they had legitimate safety concerns or not, they just stopped listening,'' he said.