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Monday, August 25, 2014

Weaving v. City of Hillsboro: Police Officer's ADHD Did Not Constitute Disability Under ADA

In Weaving v. City of Hillsboro, ___ F.3d ___ (8/15/14), a police officer, Weaving, sued his police department and the City of Hillsboro (City), alleging that it terminated him in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because of problems associated with his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A jury returned a verdict in his favor, and the City appealed from the ensuing judgment. The Ninth Circuit reversed. 

The Court first reviewed the applicable law under the ADA: 
The ADA forbids discrimination against a “qualified individual on the basis of disability.” 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a). A disability is “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of [the] individual [who claims the disability],” or “a record of such an impairment,” or “being regarded as having such an impairment.” Id. § 12102(1). The ADA provides a nonexhaustive list of “major life activities.” Such activities include “caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.” Id. § 12102(2)(A).
Slip op. at 12-13. 

The Court then held that substantial evidence did not support the judgment. 

Weaving alleged that his ADA substantially limited both his working and his interacting with others. Although both working and interacting with others constitute "major life activities," Weaving did not present substantial evidence to show that his ADHD substantially limited either (1) his ability to work compared to “most people in the general population" or (2) his ability to interact with others. Slip op. at 14-18. Weaving's ADHD may have limited his ability to get along with others, but that did not mean that it limited ability to interact with others. Slip op. at 17.

The opinion is available here.

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