Complaint Underlying $ 2.5 Million Verdict In Colorado Federal Disability Discrimination Action
This week's document of the week was not a submission to the JV team. It was pulled from the federal docket and published here due to the impressive nature of the plaintiff's recovery.
Plaintiff John Hayes was employed by defendant SkyWest Airlines for eight years. Plaintiff claimed that during that time, he was an exemplary employee who was promoted three times and received overwhelmingly positive performance reviews. Plaintiff had kidney disease and since 2014, had to spend 9? hours per night on dialysis. In January of 2014, plaintiff resigned from his Shift Manager position for health reasons and returned to his former position as Certified Station Trainer (CST), which did not require him to perform strenuous physical tasks. Plaintiff took Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave in June-August 2014 for surgery. While he was on leave, defendant allegedly cancelled his health insurance. In August 2014, plaintiff submitted an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation request that he be allowed to return to work as a CST with a 30-pound lifting restriction. Defendant allegedly told him that the CST position no longer existed and that he could work as a "Ramp Agent" who was required to lift more than 30 pounds. Plaintiff claimed that defendant effectively terminated his employment by saying he could not return to work unless his lifting restrictions were eliminated. Defendant claimed that it offered to accommodate plaintiff by offering him a Pilot Recruiter position in Salt Lake City, UT, but plaintiff declined.
On Sept. 14, 2015, plaintiff filed a complaint against defendant in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, asserting claims of discrimination, failure to reasonably accommodate, interference, and retaliation under the ADA and FMLA. On May 19, 2017, Judge Robert Blackburn granted defendant's motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's claim for interference, but denied the motion as to the rest of plaintiff's claims. The jury returned a verdict on Sept. 25, 2017, awarding plaintiff $ 2,450,000, including $ 2,000,000 in punitive damages.
Plaintiff was represented by Paul J. Maxon, Sarah J. Parady, and Amy Dell Trenary of the Law Office of Paul J. Maxon, P.C. in Boulder, CO. Defendant was represented by Jonathan R. Shulan and Vance Orlando Knapp of Armstrong Teasdale, LLP in Denver, Co.
Lexis Advance subscribers may view the complete summary here: John Hayes v. SkyWest Airlines, Inc; 2017 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 12053
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