IADC member Debora L. Verdier, a partner at Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP, and senior counsel Pari K. Scroggin obtain a full defense verdict in an ADA employment case against the City of Phoenix. The plaintiff, who was a 20-year sergeant in the Phoenix Police Department, had two known disabilities: a long-standing ankle injury and a shift-work sleep disorder.
The City had been accommodating these two disabilities for almost a decade.
In February 2012, the sergeant returned to work after 20 months of long-term disability due to her ankle. She was assigned to a front desk job at police headquarters to accommodate her ankle injury and given a modified work schedule to accommodate her sleep disorder.
Shortly after her return, she started experiencing tardiness and absentee problems. She was also struggling to get along with her supervisor.
She claimed that the City failed to engage in the interactive process and failed to accommodate her disabilities, by not giving her additional accommodations.
The City deemed her as having resigned when she failed to report to work as ordered, and failed to provide additional medical documentation supporting her absence.
The court had already ruled on summary judgment that the sergeant was not wrongfully terminated.
Plaintiff requested $3,000,0000 in damages under the Americans with Disabilities Act for the City's alleged failure to accommodate. The unanimous jury found in favor of the City, concluding that the City did not violate the plaintiff’s rights under the ADA. The jury deliberated for less than an hour and asked only one question: whether they could modify the verdict form to award the City damages.
Ms. Verdier was recently honored to be named to the list of Top 50 Attorneys in Arizona for 2016 by Super Lawyers®, a prestigious peer ranking system.