Nigro V. Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Disability Law
  • Date Filed: 02-25-2015
  • Case #: 12-57262
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Gould for the Court; Circuit Judge Reinhardt and Senior District Judge Gettleman
  • Full Text Opinion

A plaintiff in a disability discrimination case need not provide an extraordinary amount of evidence to survive summary judgment at the district court level.

Anthony Nigro appealed the district court’s summary judgment in favor of his former employer Sears Roebuck and Co. (“Sears”) under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Nigro alleged three different disability claims, including that Sears discriminated against him because he had a disability, failed to accommodate his disability, and failed to engage in a collaborative process to find possible accommodations. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit addressed each issue in turn. First, the panel held that in order to show a prima facie case of disability discrimination, a plaintiff must show that “(1) he suffers from a disability; (2) he is otherwise qualified to do his job; and (3) he was subjected to adverse employment action because of his disability.” Upon looking at testimony in support of Nigro’s claim, the panel determined that a genuine issue of material fact existed. Second, the panel held that summary judgment was improper to determine whether Sears failed to grant Nigro his requested shift hours due to the nature of his disability. Lastly, the panel held that evidence supported Nigro’s claim that Sears was on notice of his disability, and therefore Sears failed collaborate with Nigro to accommodate his needs. Overall, the panel found that in a disability claim, the plaintiff should not have to present an extraordinary amount of evidence to survive summary judgment. The panel concluded that the weight of the evidence needed to be assessed by a jury. REVERSED AND REMANDED.

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