$550,000 verdict for custodian in ADA discrimination case. San Bernardino County.

Summary

Long-time custodian with bad back says he can't use ladder and requests accommodation from school district employer; denied as essential function of job. He was later terminated.

The Case

  • Case Name: Joseph Snead v. Chino Valley Unified School District
  • Court and Case Number: San Bernardino County Superior Court / CIVRS1101184
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, June 17, 2015
  • Date Action was Filed: Monday, February 02, 2015
  • Type of Action: Discrimination, ADA, Wrongful Termination
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Keith Davis
  • Plaintiffs:
    Joseph Snead
  • Defendants:
    Chino Valley Unified School District
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $550,000
  • Economic Damages:

    $217,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    $333,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 10 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 day
  • Jury Polls: 9-3

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Workplace Justice Advocates, PLC by Tamara Freeze, Robert Odell, and Angeline Kwik, Irvine.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:
  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Colegate & Thompson LLP by Mike Marlatt, Riverside.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    None.
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
    None.
  • Plaintiff's Technical Experts:
    None.
  • Defendant's Technical Experts:
    None.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff Joseph Snead worked as a custodian for the Chino Valley Unified School District for 16 years at an elementary school. In 2010 he sustained a back injury which prevented him from using ladders at work. He claimed that the use of the ladder was very rare and requested various accommodations for his back injury. The District did not propose any accommodations and claimed that the use of the ladder was an essential job function of a custodian. The District also claimed that plaintiff's proposed accommodations would have caused an undue burden on the District and fired plaintiff on April 6, 2010.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That the use of the ladder was not an essential function of the job as it was very rare and could have been accommodated by various means, such as by using an extension pole instead for his cleaning duties or swapping duties with other custodians. That he suffered lost wages and emotional harm.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That the use of the ladder was an essential job function of a custodian. The District also claimed that Mr. Snead's proposed accommodations would have caused an undue burden on the District.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Emotional distress.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $217,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: None

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $145,000
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $20,000

Disclaimer

This is not an official court document. While the publisher believes the information to be accurate, the publisher does not guarantee it and the reader is advised not to rely upon it without consulting the official court documents or the attorneys of record in this matter who are listed above.

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