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For Immediate Release
New Orleans, Louisiana –
ATTORNEY CHRIS PITTARD WINS
LANDMARK FIFTH CIRCUIT CASE AND NAMED APPELLATE LAWYER OF THE WEEK BY TEXAS LAWYER
- 5TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS SIDES WITH PITTARD’S ARGUMENT
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit handed down its ruling today -- stating in a majority opinion that a key employment law meant to protect the rights of federal disabled workers should indeed apply to independent government contractors as well.
The appeals court’s action reversed the decision made last year by a judge in the Western District of Texas that denied standing of a disabled government contractor who sued her employer for failing to accommodate her disability. The employer, Distinctive Home Care, while not a federal government entity, did hold a federal services contract at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
The lawsuit was brought by Dr. Rochelle Flynn, a pediatrician who has Asperger’s Syndrome – an autistic and developmental disorder characterized by an inability to effectively socialize and communicate.
Attorney Chris Pittard’s argument before the Fifth Circuit was supported by the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) and Disability Rights Texas. Attorney Pittard’s convincing brief and oral argument tied together the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, and the 1992 Congressional Amendment to the Rehabilitation Act. Through the combination of these Acts Pittard showed that independent federal contractors did indeed have protection under the law to sue their employers on the grounds of discrimination.
“Today’s ruling sends Dr. Flynn’s case back to the lower court for further action. This case is important because it closes a gap in the law that contractors receiving federal funds were able to exploit, and ultimately were able to discriminate against independent contractors with disabilities. That is no longer the case, and now independent contractors all over the country may be able to sue their general contractors that receive federal money if they feel they have been the victim of discrimination,” said Pittard.
Attorney Dara Smith, representing the AARP, explained that organization’s interest in the case due to the fact that many older workers and members of the organization are disabled.
Attorney Pittard specializes in employment law, federal sector discrimination, and has been a practicing attorney since 1995.
See the full article at http://www.texaslawyer.com/appellate-lawyer-of-the-week.