In August 2003, a former driver for C.R. England filed a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging that C.R. England discriminated and retaliated against him because of his HIV-positive status. The EEOC issued a determination regarding his complaint in September 2004, concluding that C.R. England had violated the driver's rights under the ADA. On September 27, 2006, the EEOC filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Utah, asserting that C.R. England had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-213 by (1) "[d]isclosing and requiring [the driver] to disclose medical information concerning his disability, in writing, to driver trainees before they could be trained by [him]"; and (2) "[u]nlawfully limiting, segregating and/or classifying [the driver] on the basis of his disability." On March 3, 2007, the individual driver intervened in this action, alleging multiple ADA violations--including discrimination, failure to provide reasonable accommodation, and retaliation--as well as several tort claims under Utah state law--including intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy.
In March 2008, the EEOC moved for partial summary judgment on the issues of (1) whether the driver was a "qualified individual with a disability" protected by the provisions of the ADA; and (2) whether C.R. England was liable for violating ADA § 102(b)(1), 42 U.S.C. § 12112(b)(1), by limiting, segregating, or classifying the driver on account of his disability. On that same day, C.R. England filed two motions for summary judgment--one against EEOC and one against the named plaintiff. In its motion regarding EEOC's claims, C.R. England argued that (1) the driver "was an independent contractor, not an employee [of C.R. England], rendering the [ADA] inapplicable"; (2) "even if [the driver] is deemed an employee, EEOC's ADA claims fail because it cannot establish that [he] is 'disabled' or that England took any adverse action against him because of any alleged disability"; and (3) "any purported unlawful disclosure claim is legally insufficient." In its motion regarding the driver's claims, the company argued that (1) he was not an "employee" of C.R. England; (2) that his ADA claims fail because he was not "disabled," and could not establish that C.R. England "took any adverse action against him because of any disability, or . . . retaliated against him"; and (3) that "his three state law claims are legally insufficient." The court subsequently sealed all of these documents.
On September 17, 2009 Judge Bruce S. Jenkins of the District Court for the District of Utah held, in a sealed opinion, that triable issues of fact existed regarding (1) whether the driver was an independent contractor, as opposed to an employee of C.R. England, and (2) whether he had a cognizable "disability" under the ADA. However, the district court held that C.R. England "ha[d] shown that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law as to each of the plaintiffs' claims, and th[at] EEOC ha[d] failed to show such entitlement as to the issues raised by its motion for partial summary judgment." Accordingly, the court granted summary judgment in C.R. England's favor on all claims.
The named plaintiff and EEOC filed appeals. The briefs of both sides in both appeals were subsequently sealed by the court. On May 3, 2011 Judge Jerome A. Holmes of the Appellate Court for the Tenth Circuit issued a single opinion for both appeals, upholding the district court decision, and finding that the plaintiffs had not stated a viable claim under the ADA, and that the district court had committed no error in granting summary judgment in favor of C.R. England.Caitlin Howitt - 08/16/2011