Moran v. Board of Education of the City of Bridgeport
To qualify as disabled under a "record of being disabled" theory, a plaintiff is not required to be disabled at the time of an adverse employment action, provided that he possesses a record of being disabled. In 2004, the plaintiff, James Moran, experienced sleep apnea, and the defendant board of education approved a lengthy medical leave. In 2006, Moran returned and taught afternoon and evening high school classes. Allegedly, Moran required sick leave in 2007 and, because he did not have any sick leave, he officially retired. Moran continued to teach afternoon and evening high school classes on an hourly basis. The principal allegedly informed Moran he intended to use daytime workers to teach afternoon and evening classes and admitted that the board did not want to renew Moran's contract, because of his 14-month medical leave. (The principal denied this allegation.) Moran did not apply to teach high school classes in the fall. Allegedly, another teacher was allowed to teach afternoon and evening classes, although he did not work as a daytime teacher. The plaintiff sued the board, alleging disability discrimination, in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The board moved for summary judgment and argued Moran did not qualify as disabled, because in 2007 he recovered from sleep apnea. In Colwell v. Suffolk County Police Department, a 1998 decision, the 2nd Circuit wrote, "Even without a showing of substantial limitation of a major life activity, the ADA's definition of `disability' can be satisfied by `a record' of an impairment." Here, a reasonable jury could find that Moran, who was away on medical leave more than 12 months, possessed a record of being disabled. The board also argued that because Moran did not apply to teach in the fall, he did not experience an adverse employment action. As a result of allegations that Moran was informed his contract would not be renewed, as punishment for his medical leave of absence, a jury reasonably could find that the board's decision was based, in part, on discrimination on the basis of disability. The court denied the board's motion for summary judgment.