Judge dismisses individual defendants from ADA suit, but case against SIUE can proceed

By Charmaine Little | Dec 7, 2018

EAST ST LOUIS—U.S. District Judge Staci M. Yandle dismissed individual defendants from a Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville worker's American Disabilities Act lawsuit on Nov. 19.

Plaintiff Kathleen Susan Stipe had named five supervisors as co-defendants, but Yandle held that they cannot be liable for discrimination under the ADA.

Yandle's ruling noted that the Seventh Circuit already decided that individuals aren’t to be held responsible for ADA discrimination lawsuits as the law only aims to hold groups such as employers, places of accommodation and other organizations responsible, not their actual workers.

Stipe tried to argue that the individual defendants violated the ADA, but Yandle ruled that her complaint against individuals failed to state a claim and that they must dismissed.

Stipe, who was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, CHH dwarfism, scoliosis and degenerative arthritis said all was well between her and the university from April 2015 through November 2017. At that time, she was given accommodations including the university’s performance of an ergonomic study that enhanced her work area. The ruling indicates that things changed when she was transferred to a different workstation that wasn’t nearly as accommodating as her first station. 

While she claims to have made requests, they were never met and her workspace went 145 days without being properly accommodating to her, according to background in the ruling. 

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