Supreme Court To Hear Case on Cities’ Liability Under ADA
The Supreme Court agreed last Friday to hear a case that may determine whether cities can face "big-dollar" punitive damage verdicts for "not accommodating the disabled," the AP/Baltimore Sun reports. In the case, Jeffrey Gorman, a paraplegic man in Kansas City, Mo., filed suit against the city for injuries that he suffered when police transported him to jail after an arrest for trespassing at a bar (AP/Baltimore Sun, 1/12). John Simpson, Gorman's attorney, said that Gorman warned police that their van did not have "special equipment to transport him safely." During the transfer, Gorman injured his shoulder and back and had to undergo surgery, Simpson said. A jury awarded Gorman $1 million in compensatory damages for medical costs and lost income and $1.2 million in punitive damages. Kansas City appealed the $1.2 million award and said that Gorman "should not have been allowed to pursue punitive damages" under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. The Supreme Court's decision in the case could affect cities nationwide that have "tried, some more successfully than others, to make their buildings and services friendly to the disabled." In addition, the case would allow the court to "continue a trend of narrowing" the ADA (AP/Richmond-Times Dispatch, 1/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.