Willamette Law Grad Wins Case at US Supreme Court

On April 22, 2003, Willamette University College of Law graduate Steven W. Seymour (class of '75) won an important decision before the United States Supreme Court. Seymour is the managing partner of the Portland law firm of Samuels, Yoelin, Kantor, Seymour & Spinrad, LLP.

The case, Clackamas Gastroenterology Associates v. Wells, involved an interpretation of the term "employee" under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had rejected Seymour's argument that his clients, physician-shareholders in a medical professional corporation, should not be included within the definition of employees for the purposes of triggering the Act. The Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, reversed the Ninth Circuit, agreeing with Seymour that courts should not look solely at the corporate organization of a business but instead examine multiple factors to determine whether shareholders can be considered employees. This important holding may affect interpretations in many of the nation's antidiscrimination laws.