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Case Name EEOC v. United Airlines EE-IL-0333
Docket / Court 1:10-CV-01699 ( N.D. Ill. )
Additional Docket(s) 11-1774
cv-09-2469  [ 09-2469 ]  district not recorded
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Equal Employment
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
On June 3, 2009, 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, 2009, 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 unlawfully 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 were 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 a 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. The Seventh Circuit's decision was thus left intact and the case was remanded to the District Court for proceedings consistent with the decision.

After several status hearings, Judge Harry D. Leinenweber signed a consent decree on June 8, 2015. The consent decree enjoined United Airlines from unlawfully failing to provide reasonable accommodation to a qualified individual with a disability or retaliating against any person because he or she made a request for a reasonable accommodation, opposed discriminatory practices made unlawful by the ADA, files or filed a charge of discrimination or assists, assisted, participates, or participated in the filing of a charge of discrimination, or assists, assisted, participates, or participated in an investigation or proceeding brought under federal laws prohibiting discrimination or retaliation. United agreed to revise its policies with regard to reassignment as a reasonable accommodation for disabled employees and to train all human resources employees with reasonable accommodation responsibilities about reassignment as a reasonable accommodation within 120 days of the entry of the Consent Decree.

The court was to retain jurisdiction to enforce the consent decree and stipulated that the case would be dismissed with prejudice one year after the approval of the consent decree. The consent decree lasted for thirty months from the date of entry, expiring on December 8, 2017. As of March 2019, no further docket activity occurred and so this case is presumably closed.

Brian Kempfer - 04/20/2014
Erica Becker - 03/20/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Training
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
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Warrant/Order allowing surveillance
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2015 - 2018
Filing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing EE-IL-0113 : EEOC v. HUMISTON-KEELING, INC. (N.D. Ill.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
1:10-cv-1699 (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0333-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/08/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1-2]
EE-IL-0333-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/08/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Setting Initial Case Management Conference and ADR Deadlines [ECF# 2] (N.D. Cal.)
EE-IL-0333-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/04/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 37]
EE-IL-0333-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/12/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 51]
EE-IL-0333-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/26/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment in a Civil Case [ECF# 57] (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0333-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/03/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Transcript of Proceedings [ECF# 58]
EE-IL-0333-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/03/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [USCA Affirming the Judgment of the District Court] (673 F.3d 543)
EE-IL-0333-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/07/2012
Source: Westlaw
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 69] (693 F.3d 760)
EE-IL-0333-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/07/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Press Release
EE-IL-0333-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/13/2013
Source: EEOC.gov
Consent Decree [ECF# 88] (2015 WL 3737201) (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0333-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/08/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Cudahy, Richard Dickson (Seventh Circuit) show/hide docs
EE-IL-0333-0007 | EE-IL-0333-0008
Hamilton, Phyllis Jean (N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
EE-IL-0333-0002
Leavy, Edward (FISCR, Ninth Circuit, D. Or.) show/hide docs
EE-IL-0333-0003
Leinenweber, Harry Daniel (N.D. Ill.) show/hide docs
EE-IL-0333-0010 | EE-IL-0333-9000
Pregerson, Harry (Ninth Circuit, C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
EE-IL-0333-0003
Schroeder, Mary Murphy (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
EE-IL-0333-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cohen, Ethan M.M. (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-IL-0333-0002
Lee, James L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-IL-0333-0004
Lopez, P. David (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-IL-0333-0004
Ordonio-Dixon, Linda Susan (California) show/hide docs
EE-IL-0333-0001 | EE-IL-0333-0004 | EE-IL-0333-9000
Peck, Jonathan T. (California) show/hide docs
EE-IL-0333-0001 | EE-IL-0333-0004 | EE-IL-0333-9000
Reams, Gwendolyn Young (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-IL-0333-0004
Tamayo, William Robert (California) show/hide docs
EE-IL-0333-0001 | EE-IL-0333-0004 | EE-IL-0333-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Landy, Daryl Steven (California) show/hide docs
EE-IL-0333-9000
Runnels, Charis A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-IL-0333-9000
Stillman, Nina (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-IL-0333-9000

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