Weaving v. City of Hillsboro, No. 12-35726 (9th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff, a police officer, filed suit after he was terminated following severe interpersonal problems between him and other police officers. Plaintiff contended that these interpersonal problems resulted from his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and that the police department discharged him based on his disability, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq. The jury returned a general verdict for plaintiff, finding that he was disabled and that the City had discharged him because of his disability. The court reversed, holding that, based on the evidence presented, the jury could not have found plaintiff disabled under the ADA. Plaintiff's ADHD did not substantially limit plaintiff's ability to work or to interact with others. Therefore, the district court erred in denying the City's motion for judgment as a matter of law.
Court Description: Americans with Disabilities Act. The panel reversed the district court’s judgment, after a jury trial, in favor of a police officer who alleged that he was terminated in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The officer contended that he was disabled because his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder substantially limited his ability to engage in the major life activities of working and interacting with others. He claimed that Hillsboro Police Department discharged him because of his disabilities in violation of the ADA. The panel held that as a matter of law the jury could not have found that ADHD substantially limited the officer’s ability to work or to interact with others within the meaning of the ADA. The panel held that given the absence of evidence that the officer’s ADHD affected his ability to work, and in light of the strong evidence of his technical competence as a police officer, a jury could not reasonably have concluded that his ADHD substantially limited his ability to work. The panel also held that the officer’s interpersonal problems did not amount to a substantial impairment of his ability to interact with others. Accordingly, based on the evidence presented, no reasonable jury could have found the officer disabled under the ADA. The panel reversed the City of Hillsboro’s motion for judgment as a matter of law and remanded the case to the district court. Dissenting, Judge Callahan wrote that the majority failed to follow McAlindin v. County of San Diego, 192 F.3d 1226 (9th Cir. 1999), and that there was sufficient evidence to support the verdict based on the officer’s ADHD substantially limiting his ability to interact with others.