Atkins v. City of Los AngelesAnnotate this Case
Five recruit officers of the LAPD filed suit against the City after the Department terminated or constructively discharged them because they could not obtain the necessary medical clearance to return to the Police Academy. The jury found that the City unlawfully discriminated against plaintiffs based on their physical disabilities, failed to provide them reasonable accommodations, and failed to engage in the interactive process required by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Gov. Coe 12900-12996. The court agreed that plaintiffs were not "qualified individuals" under FEHA for purposes of their discrimination claim but concluded that they satisfied this requirement for their failure to accommodate claim; concluded that requiring the City to assign temporarily injured recruit officers to light-duty administrative assignments was reasonable as a matter of law in light of the City's past policy and practice of doing so; and because the court affirmed the City's liability on this basis, the court did not reach the City's challenge to the verdict on plaintiffs' claim for failure to engage in the interactive process. The court agreed with the City that future economic losses are unreasonably speculative considering the fact that plaintiffs had completed only hours or weeks of their Police Academy training. Therefore, the court vacated that portion of the damages award and the trial court's award of attorneys' fees and costs.