Kowitz v. Trinity Health, No. 15-1584 (8th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit alleging that her former employer, Trinity Health, and former supervisors violated her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., and the North Dakota Human Rights Act, N.D. Cent. Code 14-02.4-03(1). The district court granted summary judgment against plaintiff, concluding that she failed to show she was capable of performing the essential functions of her position, and that Trinity did not have a duty to reassign plaintiff to an alternate position. The court concluded, however, that plaintiff produced evidence that she could have performed the essential functions of her position with reasonable accommodation. In this case, plaintiff's written notification that she would be unable to complete the basic life support certification without medical clearance, and her statement that she required four months of physical therapy before completing the certification, could readily have been understood to constitute a request for a reasonable accommodation of her condition. Consequently, there remains a genuine issue of material fact as to whether plaintiff made a request for an accommodation sufficient to trigger Trinity’s duty to engage in the interactive process of identifying a reasonable accommodation. The court reversed and remanded for further proceedings.