The case of the fainting juror and the doctor who did not tend to her

By: Ryan Koopmans on January 23rd, 2015

Two doctors are sued for separate acts of alleged negligence against the same patient.  During trial, a juror faints and one of the doctors tends to her.  Assuming that’s cause for a mistrial in the case against the juror-treating doctor, is it also cause for a mistrial in the case against the doctor who didn’t treat the juror? 

No, ruled the Iowa Supreme Court this morning.  The plaintiff argued that the treating doctor’s “humanitarian efforts benefit everyone in his profession,” including the other doctor-defendant, and thus the judge should have ordered a mistrial on all counts. The Supreme Court wasn’t buying that one-for-all, all-for-one approach. “Normally, we judge people as individuals, not as members of a group,” Justice Mansfield wrote for the unanimous Court.  And since the individuals’ actions were different, so is the outcome.  Justice Mansfield explained:  

Dr. Sweetman was the only person who actually helped the ailing juror. The district court, which witnessed the entire scene, found “nothing in Dr. Booth’s behavior during the incident that could have engendered any particular good will in her favor”. . . . It is just as possible that Dr. Booth’s failure to render care would be held against her as that Dr. Sweetman’s acts would transfer sympathy to Dr. Booth. And what about the physician who testified as an expert witness against Dr. Booth? By plaintiffs’ logic, the jury’s warm feelings would have extended to him as well. For all these reasons, we cannot find the district court abused its discretion in denying the plaintiffs a new trial on their claims against Dr. Booth.

You can read the entire opinion here.


Beard Update

By: Ryan Leemkuil on January 21st, 2015

Last month, the Eighth Circuit rejected Arkansas inmate Christopher Deaton’s request to grow a full-length beard for religious reasons.  As we noted then, Judge Colloton dissented, arguing that the panel should wait for the Supreme Court’s decision in Holt v. Hobbs, another beard case out of the Eighth Circuit.  Although Holt is a bit different (it involves an inmate’s “compromise” request for just a half-inch beard), Judge Colloton noted that the Supreme Court’s soon-to-come decision might give the Eighth Circuit some guidance in approaching the more robust beard at issue in Deaton.  And, as Judge Colloton noted, awaiting the outcome in Holt could save Mr. Deaton the burden of filing a cert. petition and waiting for the Supreme Court to vacate the Eighth Circuit’s decision and remand for further consideration in light of Holt.

Yesterday, just over a month after the Eighth Circuit rejected the beard request in Deaton, the Supreme Court held that Gregory Holt is entitled to grow a half-inch beard consistent with his religious beliefs.  It’d be tough, the Court thought, to stash contraband in such a short beard.  Wouldn’t the stuff just fall out?  And the prison lets inmates have hair on their heads; can’t they hide contraband there, too? The state’s concerns with the well-kept beard seemed overblown, so the no-beard policy had to give way to Holt’s religious exercise under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Person Act (RLUIPA). 

But as Deaton teaches, beards come in all shapes and sizes.  Do the security concerns grow with the beard?  That’s the question now facing the Eighth Circuit after Holt.  And fortunately for Mr. Deaton, it doesn’t look like he’ll have to go to the Supreme Court (at least not yet) to pursue his case.   Late last month, he asked for more time to file a petition for rehearing.  The Court granted that request, so the Eighth Circuit should be able to reconsider Deaton (in light of Holt), without the rigmarole of a cert. petition and remand order. 


State of the Judiciary

By: Ryan Koopmans on January 14th, 2015

At 10:00 this morning, Chief Justice Mark Cady will give the annual State of the Judiciary address. According to the Judicial Branch press release, the Chief “will report on progress in the past year toward making the Iowa Judicial Branch the best, most advanced, and most responsive court system in the nation. The chief justice will highlight daily efforts he has seen toward reaching this goal in family treatment courts, juvenile courts, innovations in the civil justice system, courthouse security, improvements in technology, and efforts to find solutions to end disparities in the criminal justice system.”

You can watch the speech live at the legislature’s website.


When should an inferior court just sit tight?

By: Ryan Koopmans on December 18th, 2014

That was the main question yesterday in Deaton v. Arkansas Department of Correction. Arkansas prisoner Christopher Deaton wants to grow a full-length beard for religious reasons, but prison policy doesn’t allow it because of safety concerns.  Deaton sued under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Person Act (RLUIPA), but a federal district court threw out the case and yesterday an Eighth Circuit panel summarily affirmed that ruling in a one-paragraph order.

One paragraph, because the Eighth Circuit has already decided this question.  In fact, the court ruled last year in Holt v. Hobbs that the no-beard policy doesn’t violate RLUIPA even if the prisoner agrees to keep his facial hair to a half inch.  And since one three-judge panel cannot overrule another, the panel in Deaton has no authority to say that a full-length beard is okay.

But it might soon.  Which is why Judge Colloton dissented.  The Supreme Court granted cert. in Holt and heard oral argument in October.  That means a decision could be coming out any day, and any day the law in the Eighth Circuit might be completely different.  So why not wait, Judge Colloton asks:

This case is factually distinguishable from Holt, because appellant Deaton—like the prisoner in Fegans v. Norris, 537 F.3d 897 (8th Cir. 2008)—claims a right based on RLUIPA to grow a full beard in accordance with his religious beliefs. But the Court’s reasoning in Holt will inform how Deaton’s claim should be analyzed and whether Fegans has continuing vitality. In the interest of judicial economy, I would hold this case briefly pending a decision in Holt rather than burden Mr. Deaton with the need to file a petition for writ of certiorari to secure an order granting certiorari,vacating this court’s decision, and remanding for further consideration in light of Holt.

That’s not the kind of dissent we usually get to see.  It’s not about the merits of the case (everyone agrees that Eighth Circuit precedent dictates the outcome, at least for now) but on how the court should conduct its business. Assuming he does not file for rehearing, Deaton will have to write and file a cert. petition and  file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis (i.e., ask the court to waive the filing fee).  He has 90 days to do that, so the Supreme Court may very well have decided Holt by then.  That, though, won’t alleviate the need for the filings, even if it’s clear that Deaton would win under the new Supreme Court decision. (And if oral argument is any indication, it seems likely that Deaton will get some help.)

But the extra burden isn’t just on Deaton.  The Supreme Court clerk’s office will have to docket the case, a law clerk in the Supreme Court clerk pool will have to review the cert. petition, verify that the Holt decision could possibly change the outcome, and draft a memo to the justices recommending that the court grant the petition and remand the case to the Eighth Circuit.  Once the Court enters the order, the Eighth Circuit clerk’s office will have to notify the panel that the case is back, thus putting the three judges back in the same position they would have been had they held the case (which was submitted just last month) a few more months.  Hence Judge Colloton’s dissent.


The Iowa Supreme Court wants to know what you think

By: Ryan Koopmans on November 5th, 2014

The Iowa Supreme Court doesn’t just decide cases; it also regulates lawyers, and like other regulatory bodies, the Iowa Supreme Court often solicits public comments on proposed rule changes.  The Court is currently asking for comments on two issues: In September, the Iowa Supreme Court requested public comments on the quality and usefulness of the so-called Basic Skills Course, a mandatory one-day CLE for newly admitted lawyers.  And in October, the Supreme Court asked for input on whether Iowa-licensed lawyers should pay a $100 yearly fee that would go to Iowa  legal aid organizations.

My unscientific, non-Selzer polling suggests that many lawyers have strong opinions about both topics, yet the Iowa Supreme Court hasn’t received many comments.  There’s still time, though.  The comment period for basic-skills course is open until November 10, and the comment period for the legal-aid fee is open  until January 5.  Comments can be emailed to rules.comments@iowacourts.gov.

More information is available on the Court’s website.  The order requesting comments on the basic-skills course is here, and the order for the legal-aid fee is here.  The Court’s staff also put together a report on the legal-aid fee, which is here.


The Iowa Supreme Court’s 2013-2014 Term: By the Numbers

By: Ryan Koopmans on August 18th, 2014

The Iowa Supreme Court’s 2013-2014 term is over  (with the exception of a few pending petitions for rehearing on late-decided cases), so it’s time for our annual statistical review.

The Basics. The court decided 107 cases this term, including those cases that were affirmed by operation of law when the court was evenly divided.  That is a slight increase from the 100 cases decided in the 2012-2013 term.  A majority of the cases, 58, were civil; 25 were criminal or related cases; 20 were attorney disciplinary cases; and 4 were juvenile or related cases.

Split Opinions. The vast majority of cases, 75, were unanimous; 69 of these cases were completely unanimous with no concurring opinions and 6 had a concurring opinion.   That leaves 32 opinions, or 29.9% of the cases, in which one or more justices dissented.  This is essentially the same percentage of dissents as last year when 30.0% of the cases had a dissent.  Seventeen of these cases were decided by one vote — with a split of 4-3, or when one justice was recused a split of 3-3 or 4-2.

Chief Justice Cady’s Court. Of the 32 non-unanimous opinions, Chief Justice Cady was in the majority the most often, 89% of the time, followed by Justice Appel at 81% of the time.  Justice Waterman was in the majority the least often, only 43% of the time, followed by Justice Mansfield, 46%.   Chief Justice Cady was only in the dissent in 3 cases all term, and only once in a case that was decided 4-3 or 3-3.  (That case was State v. Lukins, in which Justice Zager wrote the majority opinion joined by Justices Wiggins, Hecht, and Appel.)  That’s a change from two terms ago, when Justice Zager was the “decider,” having been in the majority in every case.

Opinion Productivity. In the 107 decided cases, 169 separately signed opinions were written by the seven justices.  Justice Mansfield was the most prolific writer, authoring 37 opinions, followed by Justices Appel and Waterman, who each authored 27 opinions.  Justice Hecht and Chief Justice Cady wrote the fewest opinions with 18 opinions each.  A similar pattern held true with respect to the 101 signed majority opinions.  Justice Mansfield again wrote the most, authoring 20 majority opinions, followed by Justice Appel who wrote 16 majority opinions.  Justice Hecht wrote the fewest majority opinions, 11, followed by Justice Zager who wrote 12, and Chief Justice Cady who wrote 13 majority opinions.  In the most closely divided cases decided by one vote, Chief Justice Cady wrote the most majority opinions, 6, while Justice Zager wrote the fewest, 2.

Justice Agreement. For the third time in as many terms, there were two relatively consistent voting blocs, with  Justices Wiggins, Hecht, and Appel on one end, and Justices Waterman and Mansfield on the other.  The Chief Justice and Justice Zager continue to fall somewhere in between, agreeing with each of their colleagues between 40-70% of the time. The justices that agreed the least were Justice Mansfield and Justice Wiggins who agreed in 13% of the non-unanimous cases.  In the 17 cases that were most closely divided, all but two were split with Justices Wiggins, Appel and Hecht on one side, Justice Waterman, Mansfield, and Zager on the other, and Chief Justice Cady deciding which group was in the majority.

Here’s a complete breakdown of how often each justice agreed with his colleagues in the 32 non-unanimous decisions (putting aside disciplinary cases).  Note, however, that some of the justices recused themselves in one or two of these cases, so the denominator isn’t always 32.   Also, for comparison, the second and third charts show how often each justice agreed with his colleagues in the previous terms.


Iowa Supreme Court Affirms Defense Ruling in Disparate-Impact Employment Discrimination Case Against State

By: Amanda Atherton on July 25th, 2014

Last week, the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s judgment in favor of the state in Pippen v. State of Iowa et al, a class-action employment-discrimination case brought under Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act. The class of over 5,000 was represented by twenty-three African-American plaintiffs who claimed the state’s merit system of employment discriminated against African-Americans in hiring, promotion, and pay. The plaintiffs proceeded on a disparate-impact theory rather than a theory of intentional discrimination and introduced expert testimony about implicit bias. The case has been closely watched as a forerunner on the viability of disparate impact employment claims, particularly those brought under state law, and several amicus briefs were filed by national organizations.

To make a prima facie case of disparate impact under federal law, the plaintiffs needed to show that a particular employment practice had a statistically adverse impact on the protected class. Alternatively, they could have proved that the decision-making process was incapable of separation into discrete employment practices for statistical analysis and that the whole process had an adverse impact.

At trial, the plaintiffs’ expert testified the state’s merit system could be broken down, but rather than trying to do so, the plaintiffs rested on their argument that the process shouldn’t be “sliced and diced” because that would reduce the sample size, thereby lessening the aggregate statistical impact. The defense expert, on the other hand, actually did separate and analyze certain practices, undermining the plaintiffs’ incapable-of-separation argument. The plaintiffs also pointed to deficiencies in the state’s documentation of the hiring process and claimed the hiring files were therefore “inadequate to allow separation for analysis.” However, the plaintiffs did not attempt to review the data in these files; they simply relied on their incompleteness. They further claimed the presence of subjective decision-making elements rendered the entire process inseparable.

The district court, after a lengthy trial, found the plaintiffs had not met their prima facie burden and had also failed to prove causation. Accordingly, it granted judgment in favor of the state.

On appeal, all justices of the Iowa Supreme Court concurred in affirming the district court’s result. Justice Appel wrote for the majority, while Justices Mansfield and Zager joined Justice Waterman’s concurring opinion. The Court agreed the plaintiffs had not proved the state’s process was incapable of separation for analysis. It did not reach the causation issue.

The majority opinion provided a roadmap on the “incapable of separation for analysis” issue, explaining that may be the case when: (1) the substantive features of the decision-making process make it incapable of being separated, such as when the process is wholly subjective; (2) discrete employment practices are so intertwined that statistical analysis of them is no longer meaningful when they are separated; or (3) the employer does not keep sufficient records from which to discern separate practices. The Court also held that decision-making processes do not necessarily have to be broken down by job or by department if the process as a whole cannot be separated. For example, when all hiring decisions are made at the absolute discretion of department managers, the process is not capable of separation even though there are multiple departments at issue. The majority found none of these circumstances applicable to the record.

The concurrence agreed the plaintiffs had not met their burden to prove the employment process was incapable of separation. It also focused on the challenges associated with bringing such a broad class action, as the plaintiffs chose to do, rather than narrowing their focus. It even suggested there was evidence of adverse impact on African-Americans in certain departments and from certain practices, as pointed out by the NAACP in its amicus brief and as indicated in the testimony of the defense expert, but emphasized that those were not the theories advanced by the plaintiffs and the record was not developed with regard to them.

Though the Court ultimately rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments, its problem was not with the viability of disparate-impact claims or the implicit bias theory in general, but rather with the methods of proof chosen by the plaintiffs in this particular case. As the majority stated: “Disparate impact claims may be complex and complicated, but they are not disfavored.”

The majority suggested the analysis could have been different under the Iowa Civil Rights Act than under Title VII if the plaintiffs had argued that a different standard applied under state law—for example, that there was no requirement to identify separate employment practices in a disparate-impact case. However, because plaintiffs relied on the federal interpretations of Title VII, that is what the Court applied.

The majority opinion notably cast doubt on the persuasive value of federal precedent interpreting Title VII in cases brought under the ICRA. The Court ultimately concluded that courts should be skeptical of the reasoning in any federal case construing Title VII narrowly because such a construction is at odds with the ICRA’s statutory mandate that it should be construed broadly. The majority further opined that this is so even when the statutory language of the state law mirrors federal law. The concurrence criticized the majority for “gratuitously undermin[ing] our court’s long-standing practice of relying on federal decisions to interpret equivalent provisions of the Iowa Civil Rights Act,” explaining that such an approach undermines “the stability and predictability of our law.”


Eighth Circuit: Political discrimination case against Iowa law school must be retried

By: Ryan Koopmans, Ryan Leemkuil on July 15th, 2014

The political discrimination lawsuit against former Iowa law school dean Carolyn Jones is being sent back down for retrial.  The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that when the federal magistrate declared a mistrial because the jury was deadlocked, he could not recall the jury some two minutes later, re-poll them and enter judgment in Jones’s favor.

This is the second Eighth Circuit ruling in this five-year-old case.  In 2009, Teresa Wagner, a part-time employee in the law school’s writing center, filed a lawsuit against Jones for political discrimination.  According to Wagner, Jones failed to hire her for a full-time position because of her (Wagner’s) conservative political views and advocacy for socially conservative causes.

The district court originally threw out the case on summary judgment, but in 2011 the Eight Circuit reversed and sent the case back for trial.

Wagner presented two claims to the jury: (1) political discrimination, and (2) violation of her equal-protection rights.  The jury’s deliberations began on October 22, 2012, and two days later, on October 24, the jury asked the magistrate judge (who didn’t preside over the trial but was monitoring deliberations) “what happens if we cannot come to an agreement.”  The magistrate told the jury to continue deliberating, and two hours later–around 11:00–they sent out another note: “We are unable to come to a unanimous verdict” for either party.

At 1:00, the magistrate gave the jury an Allen charge (basically, told them to keep deliberating), and a a short time after 4:00 the jury sent the magistrate another note, this one a bit more emphatic: “I DO NOT SEE US EVER AGREEING.”

In response, the magistrate declared a mistrial at 4:35 and sent the jury packing.  But two minutes later, he called them back in and asked whether their note applied to both of Wagner’s claims (the political-discrimination claim and the equal-protection claim).  The foreperson said that they had found for Dean Jones on count I (the political-discrimination claim) and after polling each juror, the magistrate accepted the verdict in Jones’s favor and declared a mistrial only on Count II.

The district court later entered judgment as a matter of law on Count II and denied Wagner’s motion for a new trial. Wagner appealed.

Today, the Eight Circuit ruled that the case needs to be retried:

[W]e hold, in a case such as the present one, where a court declares a mistrial and discharges the jury which then disperses from the confines of the courtroom, the jury can no longer render, reconsider, amend, or clarify a verdict on the mistried counts. In this age of instant individualized electronic communication and widespread personal control and management of pocket-sized wireless devices, we think this bright line rule is more faithful to precedent and offers better guidance than an amorphous rule that turns on whether jurors in fact became available for or were susceptible to outside influences or remained within total control of the court.

There wasn’t any evidence in this case that the jury was mingling with non-jurors during the two-minute period (or had even gotten any further than packing up their belongings in the jury room), but the panel concluded that a bright-line rule is the best one: Once the jurors are discharged and they leave the courtroom, they shall never return (at least not in their official capacity).


Iowa Supreme Court Embraces the ADAAA

By: Administrator on June 30th, 2014

By Randy Armentrout

On Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court decided in Goodpaster v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc that it will look to the 2008 amendments of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (known in legal circles as the ADAAA) when interpreting the the meaning of “disability” under the Iowa Civil Rights Act (“ICRA”).

The ICRA contains a circular definition of “disability”: a disability is “the physical or mental condition of a person which constitutes a substantial disability.” Iowa Code § 216.2(5).  The Iowa legislature left it to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission (“ICRC”) to promulgate regulations.  In 1993, the ICRC basically adopted the ADA definition of “disability” in passing the regulations: a person has an actual disability under the ICRA if the person “has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities.”

Congress amended the ADA in 2008 to require courts to apply the “substantially limits a major life activity” test broadly to cases under the ADA.  The goal was to include more employees under the definition of “disabled.”  In particular, the ADAAA overturned Sutton v. United Air Lines, 527 U.S. 471 (1999) (holding courts must consider corrective measures to decide whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity) and Toyota Motor Mfg. v. Williams, 534 U.S. 184 (2002) (holding “substantially limits a major life activity” should be interpreted strictly to preclude minor impairments).  The Iowa legislature has not amended the ICRA to include any language similar to the ADAAA.  However, the ICRC applies the ADAAA to disability cases under the ICRA.

This leads to the case at issue.  The plaintiff, John Goodpaster, has multiple sclerosis.  He suffers “flare ups” 5-10 times per year, during which times he experiences vision impairment and loss of control and strength in his arms and legs.  Schwan’s employed Goodpaster as a customer services manager, which requires Goodpaster to drive a delivery truck to the homes of customers.  Schwan’s terminated Goodpaster for poor sales.  Goodpaster sued Schwan’s alleging he was disabled under the ICRA and Schwan’s should have accommodated his occasional vision and limb impairments by having another employee ride along with him or picking him up when he had a flare-up. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Schwan’s, holding Goodpaster was not “disabled” under the ICRA.

On appeal, Goodpaster argued that the ADAAA requires Iowa to interpret the ICRA to include multiple sclerosis as a disability.  In a 5-2 decision issued June 27, 2014, the Iowa Supreme Court stated it is not bound by the language of federal statutes when interpreting the ICRA.  Nevertheless, the Court held it was free to look at the ADAAA “to help establish the framework to analyze claims and otherwise apply our statute.”  The Court next examined multiple federal ADA decisions issued before Sutton and Toyota in which courts found various symptoms of multiple sclerosis to be substantially limiting of certain major life activities.   Broadly interpreting the ICRA, the Court held Goodpaster raised a fact issue on whether his condition substantially limited “one or more of his major life activities.” Curiously, the Court was able to come to this conclusion without actually analyzing which major life activities were impacted.  In a footnote, the Court states that Goodpaster raised a fact issue on the major life activities of walking and working without stating how his multiple sclerosis actually impacts those activities.  The Court reversed the summary judgment and remanded the case.

The dissent points out that this case is nearly identical to Brunker v. Schwan’s Home Service, 583 F.3d 1004 (7th Cir. 2009), decided after the amendments to the ADA became effective.  In Brunker, a customer services manager with multiple sclerosis involving sometimes daily dizziness episodes alleged Schwan’s terminated him in violation of the ADAAA.  The Seventh Circuit concluded Brunker was not disabled and affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment.  The Goodpaster dissent also argued that “working” is the only major life activity that should be used in the disability analysis.  Under previous ADA and Iowa case law, a person who is only unable to perform a particular job is not substantially limited in the major life activity of working.  See Probasco v. ICRC, 420 N.W.2d 432, 436 (Iowa 1988).  In this case, Goodpaster took another job as a laborer and has not shown that he is prohibited from working a broad range of jobs.


Chiropractic School Must Provide Blind Student a “Sighted Assistant” to Interpret X-Rays

By: Ryan Leemkuil on June 27th, 2014

Aaron Cannon has been blind since birth.  He enrolled at Palmer College of Chiropractic in 2004, despite warnings from a school representative that Cannon’s blindness would make it difficult, if not impossible, for him to meet the Palmer’s technical standards, which require “sufficient use of vision . . . necessary to perform chiropractic and general physical examination” and review radiographs.  After completing the undergraduate program, Cannon met with the school’s disability steering committee, which again warned him that it was doubtful he could satisfy the technical standards requiring radiology and diagnostic coursework.  But, Cannon suggested, perhaps a “sighted assistant” could be enlisted to relay visual information so Cannon could “analyze it and learn to make diagnoses accordingly.” In the committee’s judgment, however, this arrangement would “place too much responsibility on the assistant” and could run afoul of the standards set by the school’s accreditation body.  Cannon ultimately withdrew from the school after growing frustrated with Palmer’s response to his proposed accommodations.

Today, the Iowa Supreme Court agreed with Cannon that Palmer failed to provide reasonable accommodations for his blindness.  In doing so, the Court rejected Palmer’s arguments that the proposed accommodations would require a “fundamental alteration” of the school’s academic programs, and that the Court should defer to Palmer’s judgment on that point. Deference, the Court explained, is “inadequate in the disability discrimination context,” because courts “must go significantly further in their inquiries to insure inappropriate generalizations do not deny meaningful access to the benefits provided by educational institutions.”  So, the Court went “significantly further” and concluded that Cannon’s proposals wouldn’t require a fundamental alteration of Palmer’s program—plenty of chiropractors work without X-rays, and some just consult with radiology specialists as needed. And even some medical schools have admitted and accommodated blind students in recent years. In light of these facts, the Court held Palmer failed to show any fundamental alteration of its curriculum.

Justice Waterman, joined by Justice Mansfield, issued a sharply-worded dissent, describing the Court’s holding as a “ludicrous” and “unprecedented” intrusion into academic judgment.  That intrusion, Justice Waterman wrote, “elevates political correctness over common sense,” and allows a blind student to interpret X-rays based on what an “untrained reader” tells him—a scenario which could lead to misinterpreted X-rays and “lifelong paralysis.”  Instead of striking a “balance,” as the majority claimed it was, the Court’s opinion ran “roughshod over Palmer’s legitimate interests and the integrity of Palmer’s chiropractic program.”

The decision shows that the Iowa Supreme Court will not be quick to defer to a college’s judgment about the “fundamental” components of its curriculum.  In reviewing that judgment, the Court relied in part on cases from the employment context addressing “fundamental” or “essential” job functions, but it remains to be seen how the Court will apply the Palmer College decision outside of the academic arena.

 


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