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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name EEOC v. United Airlines EE-IL-0333
Docket / Court 1:10-CV-01699 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Equal Employment
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
On June 3, 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of disabled employees of United Airlines against United Airlines, under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 1211 ... read more >
On June 3, 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of disabled employees of United Airlines against United Airlines, under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12112(a) and (b)(5)(A). The plaintiff asked the court for injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages, and its costs in bringing the case. Specifically the plaintiff claimed that the defendant unlawful discriminated against its employees with disabilities by requiring those seeking to transfer to compete for vacant positions that they where qualified for and needed to transfer into to accommodate their respective disabilities. The result was that employees with disabilities where denied equal employment opportunities in a way that the plaintiff claimed was willful or reckless.

On December 3, 2009 the District Court for the Northern District of California (Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton) granted a defendant's motion to transfer the case to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Judge Hamilton decided that the Northern District of Illinois was a superior venue as it was the location of defendant's headquarters and thus where most of the relevant evidence and witnesses where to be found thereby reducing the defendant's expenses during the trial.

On March 10, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected plaintiff's appeal for a writ of mandamus to stop Judge Hamilton from transferring the case.

On October 26, 2010, the plaintiff filed a second amended complaint which reflected the change of venue to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and provided slightly more detail about defendant's allegedly discriminatory policy.

On February 3, 2011, the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Judge Harry D. Leinenweber) granted defendant's motion to dismiss. In proceedings that day (but with no written opinion) Judge Leinenweber explained that he was dismissing the case to follow the control Seventh Circuit precedent of EEOC v. Humiston-Keeling, Inc., (2000) 227 F.3d 1024, EE-IL-0113 . The plaintiff appealed the judgment.

On March 7, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the trial court's ruling finding that it was bound by Seventh Circuit precedent to dismiss the case under Humiston-Keeling, Inc.. However, the court noted the possibility of review by the entire Seventh Circuit to consider reversing Humiston-Keeling. EEOC v. United Airlines 673 F.3d 543 (7th Cir., 2011).

On September 7, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in an in the panel decision (a procedure where a new written opinion is circulated among all the judges of the Seventh Circuit and they vote on the opinion without rehearing it en banc), overruled its previous Humiston-Keeling decision due to the United States Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Barnett, 535 U.S. 391 (2002). The Court of Appeals remanded the case to the District Court ordering that the court determine (1) if mandatory reassignment is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA and (2) if mandatory is a reasonable accommodation generally then the Court must determine if mandatory reassignment is reasonable in this case. EEOC v. United Airlines 693 F.3d 760 (7th Cir. 2012).

On May 30, 2013, the United States Supreme Court denied defendant's petition for review, thus leaving the 7th Circuit's decision intact. The case has been remanded to the District Court for further adjudication, but nothing more appears on the docket sheet so far (as of 04/07/2014).

Brian Kempfer - 04/20/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Transportation
Disability
disability, unspecified
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Individualized planning
Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable Modifications
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Defendant(s) United Airlines
Plaintiff Description EEOC on behalf of disabled employees of United Airlines
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing EE-IL-0113 : EEOC v. HUMISTON-KEELING, INC. (N.D. Ill.)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:10-cv-1699 (N.D. Ill.) 07/18/2013
EE-IL-0333-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 05/08/2009
EE-IL-0333-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Setting Initial Case Management Conference and ADR Deadlines 06/04/2009 (N.D. Cal.)
EE-IL-0333-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 03/12/2010
EE-IL-0333-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint 10/26/2010
EE-IL-0333-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment in a Civil Case 02/03/2011 (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0333-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Transcript of Proceedings 02/03/2011
EE-IL-0333-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [USCA Affirming the Judgment of the District Court] 03/07/2012 (673 F.3d 543)
EE-IL-0333-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order 09/07/2012 (693 F.3d 760)
EE-IL-0333-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Press Release 05/13/2013
EE-IL-0333-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: EEOC.gov
Judges Cudahy, Richard Dickson (Seventh Circuit)
EE-IL-0333-0007 | EE-IL-0333-0008
Hamilton, Phyllis Jean (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
EE-IL-0333-0002
Leavy, Edward (Ninth Circuit, D. Or., FISCR) [Magistrate]
EE-IL-0333-0003
Leinenweber, Harry Daniel (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0333-9000
Pregerson, Harry (Ninth Circuit, C.D. Cal.)
EE-IL-0333-0003
Schroeder, Mary Murphy (Ninth Circuit)
EE-IL-0333-0003
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cohen, Ethan M.M. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0333-0002
Lee, James L. (District of Columbia)
EE-IL-0333-0004
Lopez, P. David (District of Columbia)
EE-IL-0333-0004
Ordonio-Dixon, Linda Susan (California)
EE-IL-0333-0001 | EE-IL-0333-0004 | EE-IL-0333-9000
Peck, Jonathan T. (California)
EE-IL-0333-0001 | EE-IL-0333-0004 | EE-IL-0333-9000
Reams, Gwendolyn Young (District of Columbia)
EE-IL-0333-0004
Tamayo, William Robert (California)
EE-IL-0333-0001 | EE-IL-0333-0004 | EE-IL-0333-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Landy, Daryl Steven (California)
EE-IL-0333-9000
Runnels, Charis A. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0333-9000
Stillman, Nina (Illinois)
EE-IL-0333-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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