Kirkish v. Mesa Imports, Inc., 2010 WL 364183 (D. Ariz., Feb. 1, 2010), appeal pending, No.10-15480 (9th Cir.)
Type of Case: Employment Discrimination
Practice Area(s): Employment
Lawyer(s): John C. Hendricks
Date: Feb 1 2010
A former car salesman’s unique ADA lawsuit against a large automobile dealership in the Phoenix area was recently thrown out of court based on the arguments made by Meagher & Geer. The dealership became aware that the car salesman was taking strong prescription medication while at work that might affect his ability to drive the dealership’s vehicles. Based on safety concerns, the dealership asked the salesman for information about his medications. When the salesman refused to provide that information, and after the salesman’s doctor refused to release him to drive, the dealership terminated the salesman’s employment. Under a unique theory, the salesman sued the dealership, alleging its inquiry regarding his medications violated the ADA. Meagher & Geer defended that suit, arguing that the dealership properly inquired about the medications and that the ADA did not prevent the dealership from fulfilling its obligations to the public to make its premises safe. The trial court adopted these arguments and dismissed the case.
The trial court’s decision was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On appeal, the EEOC participated as an amicus curiae on behalf of the employee, arguing that the issue regarding whether the ADA was violated should have been submitted to the jury. The Ninth Circuit rejected the government’s arguments, and affirmed the trial court’s decision. The court held that, as a matter of law, the dealership had a business justification for its inquiry about the employee’s mediations.Back to Experience