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EEOC v. BNSF Ry. Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

February 8, 2018, Argued and Submitted, Seattle, Washington; September 12, 2018, Amended

No. 16-35457

Opinion

 [*918]  AMENDED OPINION

OPINION

GOULD, Circuit Judge:

Russell Holt received a conditional [**4]  job offer from BNSF Railway Company ("BNSF") for the position of Senior Patrol Officer, contingent on Holt's satisfactory completion of a post-offer medical review. During that medical review, Holt disclosed that he had injured his back four years before, suffering a two-level spinal disc extrusion. Holt's primary care doctor, his chiropractor, and the doctor BNSF's subcontractor hired to examine Holt all determined that Holt had no current limitations due to his back and found no need for follow-up testing. Yet as an effective condition to consider him further for the job, BNSF demanded that Holt submit an MRI of his back—at his own cost—or it would treat Holt as having declined the offer. Holt was in bankruptcy at that time and did not obtain an MRI. As a result, BNSF revoked Holt's job offer.

The district court concluded that BNSF's actions violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 ("ADAAA") Pub. L. No. 110-325, 122 Stat. 3553, and issued a nationwide injunction that prohibited BNSF from engaging in certain hiring practices. We affirm the district court's judgment imposing ADA liability, but we vacate the injunction and remand with instructions for the district court to make [**5]   [*919]  further factual findings in order to establish the proper scope of the injunction.

In June 2011, Holt applied for a job with BNSF as a Senior Patrol Officer. BNSF describes the job duties of a Senior Patrol Officer as "essentially the same" as a city police officer: Patrol Officers protect the safety of people and property, prevent and respond to criminal activities, and arrest suspects, among other duties. At the time he applied to work for BNSF, Holt was working as a criminal investigator in the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he had worked for five years. After interviewing Holt, BNSF extended him an offer of employment—contingent upon him passing a background check and satisfactorily completing a post-offer medical exam.

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902 F.3d 916 *; 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 25852 **; 18 Accom. Disabilities Dec. (CCH) P18-087

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. BNSF RAILWAY COMPANY, Defendant-Appellant.

Subsequent History: Rehearing denied by, Rehearing, en banc, denied by EEOC v. BNSF Ry. Co., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 33745 (9th Cir. Wash., Nov. 30, 2018)

Stay granted by Eeoc v. Bnsf Ry. Co., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 34584 (9th Cir. Wash., Dec. 7, 2018)

Motion granted by BNSF Ry. Co. v. EEOC, 140 S. Ct. 109, 205 L. Ed. 2d 20, 2019 U.S. LEXIS 5870 (U.S., Oct. 7, 2019)

US Supreme Court certiorari denied by BNSF Ry. Co. v. EEOC, 2019 U.S. LEXIS 6860 (U.S., Nov. 12, 2019)

Motion denied by EEOC v. BNSF Ry. Co., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 37374 (9th Cir. Wash., Dec. 17, 2019)

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. D.C. No.2:14-cv-01488-MJP. Marsha J. Pechman, Senior District Judge, Presiding.

EEOC v. BNSF Ry. Co., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 24534 (9th Cir. Wash., Aug. 29, 2018)EEOC v. BNSF Ry. Co., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2557 (W.D. Wash., Jan. 8, 2016)

Disposition: AFFIRMED in part; VACATED in part and REMANDED.

CORE TERMS

disability, impairment, testing, district court, injunction, hiring, exam, follow-up, job offer, argues, summary judgment, medical exam, discriminated, screening, spinal, medical examination, four-factor, parties, procure, costs, pain, medical information, medical record, back injury, own expense, disqualified, conditioned, authorizes, completion, employees

Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Motions for Summary Judgment, Cross Motions, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Genuine Disputes, Abuse of Discretion, Remedies, Injunctions, Permanent Injunctions, Labor & Employment Law, Disability Discrimination, Employment Practices, Medical Inquiries, Scope & Definitions, Disabilities Under ADA, Regarded With Impairments, Business & Corporate Compliance, Labor & Employment Law, Discrimination, Accommodation, Qualified Individuals With Disabilities, Grounds for Injunctions, Irreparable Harm

Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Motions for Summary Judgment, Cross Motions, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Genuine Disputes, Abuse of Discretion, Remedies, Injunctions, Permanent Injunctions, Labor & Employment Law, Disability Discrimination, Employment Practices, Medical Inquiries, Scope & Definitions, Disabilities Under ADA, Regarded With Impairments, Business & Corporate Compliance, Labor & Employment Law, Discrimination, Accommodation, Qualified Individuals With Disabilities, Grounds for Injunctions, Irreparable Harm