Disability Law Firm Wins Judgment for Failure to Accommodate

On May 15, 2012, in Jacobsen v. Dillon Cos. d/b/a King Soopers, District of Colorado Case No. 10-cv-01944-LTB-BNB, the lawyers at Benezra & Culver prevailed on a disability discrimination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) on behalf of its client, Julie Jacobsen.

Plaintiff Julie Jacobsen was a probationary Retail Investigator for King Soopers when she was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer and told she would need 18 weeks of chemotherapy.  When Ms. Jacobsen revealed her diagnosis to King Soopers, she was immediately disciplined for the first time and had her probation extended.  Weeks later, while Ms. Jacobsen was away from work for a surgery to place her chemotherapy port, King Soopers fired her over the phone.  Even though Ms. Jacobsen repeatedly requested that King Soopers accommodate her need for chemotherapy by transferring her to a less physically demanding position in retail or granting her medical leave, King Soopers never considered making any accommodation because of its mistaken belief that it was not required to accommodate a probationary employee.

At trial, Ms. Jacobsen proved that she was a “qualified person with a disability” who had a right to reasonable accommodation under the ADA and that King Soopers had failed to offer available reasonable accommodations to Ms. Jacobsen.  Ms. Jacobsen also proved that King Soopers’ head of Employee and Labor Relations, who made the recommendation to terminate Ms. Jacobsen, acted with reckless disregard for Ms. Jacobsen’s federally protected rights, entitling her to an award of punitive damages.

After a five-day trial before U.S. District Judge Lewis T. Babcock, a nine-person jury returned a verdict in favor of Ms. Jacobsen. The jury awarded Ms. Jacobsen $23,000 in economic damages and $65,000 in punitive damages, with the Court to determine front pay and attorney fees.

About Benezra & Culver

Benezra & Culver, P.C. is an A/V rated Colorado law firm recognized in 2006 in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell. The firm's practice emphasizes all areas of employment law, litigation and counseling for employees and employers. Among the substantive areas of specialization are the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended ("Title VII"), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), the Civil Rights Act of 1866 ("Section 1981"), the Civil Rights Act of 1872 ("Section 1983"), the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), the False Claims Act ("FCA"), the Occupational Health and Safety Act ("OSHA"), the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Act ("WARN"), the Employee Polygraph Act ("EPA") and judicially created wrongful discharge claims. In addition the firm provides representation to state and federal employees before state agencies and before the Merit Systems Protection Board. The firm is a full service litigation firm, including trial and appellate representation. Benezra & Culver also handles criminal cases in federal and state court at the trial and appellate levels.
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Posted in Employment Law, Representative Cases