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Fired electrical inspector’s ADA discrimination claim reinstated


A federal appeals court on Monday reinstated a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by a terminated Florida city inspector.

Jimmy Sugg, who was hired as Sunrise’s chief electrical inspector in May 2014, suffered a heart attack five months later, according to the ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta in Jimmy Sugg v. City of Sunrise.

After his return to work, he submitted a doctor’s note recommending that he be put on light duty. He was discharged by the city on Feb. 13, 2015, and told only he was “not a good fit,” according to the ruling.

Mr. Sugg sued the city in U.S. District Court in Miami, charging discrimination and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The district court dismissed the case.

In reinstating Mr. Sugg’s discrimination claim, the three-judge appeals court panel said the lower court had erred in ignoring Mr. Sugg’s own testimony about his disability.

The lower court found that Mr. Sugg’s doctors’ declarations were “conclusory,” but “viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Sugg, a reasonable jury could infer that his own testimony creates a triable issue on whether he was disabled under the ADA,” the ruling said.

The district court also erred in ignoring Mr. Sugg’s own testimony about his request for a reasonable accommodation, the panel said.  He “made more than one specific demand for accommodation and offered the city multiple ways to accommodate his limitations,” the panel said, in reinstating Mr. Sugg’s discrimination claim.

The panel affirmed the dismissal of his retaliation claim.

Attorneys in the case did not respond to requests for comment.