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Law School Case Brief

Leuzinger v. Cty. of Lake - Nos. C 06-0398 SBA, 36, 37, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35955 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 30, 2007)


Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an employer discriminates against a qualified individual with a disability by not making reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business of the employer.


Plaintiff Sharon L. Leuzinger filed suit in federal district court against her former employer, defendant County of Lake, for discrimination alleging that it violated various federal and state disability statutes, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), by refusing to allow her to return to her position after she took medical leave for *** cancer treatment. Leuzinger worked for 16 years as a correctional officer at the Juvenile Hall of County of Lake's Probation Department. Leuzinger received a letter from the County's workers compensation insurance carrier declaring that she could not return to her regular job duties because she could not perform the essential functions of her position due to the problems related to her wrist. Lake County filed a motion for summary judgment.


Should the motion for summary judgment be granted?




The district court denied County of Lake's motion for summary judgment. It held that the County had not demonstrated that summary judgment was appropriate on Leuzinger's claim under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under the FMLA, any eligible employee who takes leave hall be entitled, on return from such leave: (A) to be restored by the employer to the position of employment held by the employee when the leave commenced; or (B) to be restored to an equivalent position with equivalent employment benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. The County was not able to show that the FMLA did not apply to Leuzinger's situation or that the above protections of the FMLA were afforded to Leuzinger.

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