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Friday, July 27, 2012

Okwu v. McKim: Ninth Circuit Issues Unusual Americans with Disabilities Act Decision

Okwu v. McKim, --- F.3d --- (9th Cir. 6/12/12) raises an interesting issue: whether a state employee may sue state officers under section 1983 for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). Plaintiff Josephine Okwu filed suit against the a number of individuals, each of whom was an employee of the California Department of Transportation (“Caltrans”) or the California Public Employees Retirement System (“CalPERS”).
The defendants in this case determined that Plaintiff Josephine Okwu’s psychological disorders made her unfit for reinstatement from disability retirement to active service with the California Department of Transportation (“Caltrans”). Okwu alleges that this decision deprived her of her right to a reasonable accommodation under the ADA and to the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment. We conclude that Congress’s inclusion of a comprehensive remedial scheme in Title I of the ADA precludes § 1983 claims predicated on alleged violations of ADA Title I substantive rights. We also conclude that Okwu’s allegations of fact do not state a claim under the Equal Protection Clause.
Slip op. at 2-3.

The opinion is a short, interesting read. It is available here.  

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