Disabled Worker Defeats Summary Judgment Motion That Sought to Prevent ADA Claims

BALTIMORE, MD - The Committee has defeated a summary judgment motion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland that sought to dismiss a worker’s claim that she was forced to take early disability retirement after her employer, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management, refused to accommodate her disability. She will now be able to proceed to trial.

In his opinion in Van Rossum v. Baltimore County, U.S. District Court Judge James K. Bredar denied Defendant Baltimore County’s motion for summary judgment disagreeing with the defendant’s argument that the plaintiff’s receipt of SSDI benefits precluded her from bringing a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Judge Bredar noted that “Plaintiff’s statements made in connection with her SSDI application do not bar her from prosecuting her ADA claims here.”

The Plaintiff suffers from multiple chemical toxicities, which were aggravated by her exposure to toxic mold while working in the Baltimore County Circuit Court building in Towson, Maryland.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had issued a letter of determination finding discrimination on the basis of her disability, but Baltimore County had refused to conciliate her claim. 

“This case represents an important step in advancing the rights of people with disabilities that have long been overlooked,” said Washington Lawyers’ Committee Executive Director Rod Boggs. “Rare and invisible disabilities deserve as much accommodation as more apparent disabilities.”

The plaintiff was represented by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee’s Director of Litigation Matthew Handley.

A copy of the Opinion is available online here.

Press Contact:

Matthew Handley, Director of Litigation, Washington Lawyers’ Committee
matthew_handley@washlaw.org; (202) 319-1000

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE - For more than 45 years, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs has represented individuals and groups seeking to vindicate their civil rights. It has handled over 5,000 civil rights cases in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other aspects of urban life. It represents people with claims of discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, disability, age, religion, sexual orientation, and military service and status. For more information, visit www.washlaw.org; or write to: Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, 11 Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036; phone (202) 319-1000.  

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