Posts Tagged ‘disability’

A divided Fourth Circuit panel yesterday affirmed the grant of summary judgment to an employer who refused to rehire to the same position an employee who went on disability leave. The decision turned on the application of Cleveland v. Policy Mgmt. Sys. Corp., 526 U.S. 795 (1999), in which the Supreme Court addressed how courts should assess an ADA claim brought by an individual who has applied for and received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

Judge O’Grady (EDVA, sitting by designation) authored the unpublished opinion for the court in EEOC v. Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Inc., in which Judge Keenan joined. Judge Gregory wrote a dissenting opinion.

Although unpublished, the decision appears to be the first in which the Fourth Circuit has held that the Supreme Court’s decision in Cleveland applies not only to actions brought by individuals who have applied for and received SSDI, but also to actions brought by the EEOC on behalf of such individuals.

Read Full Post »

The Fourth Circuit issued an unpublished per curiam opinion today in Scott v. Eaton Corp. Long Term Disability Plan. The panel, composed of Judges Motz, King, and Duncan, unanimously reversed a district court decision (Senior Judge Herlong, D.S.C.) that reversed a disability plan’s denial of benefits. The appellate panel accepted the plan’s argument that its decisionmaking process was sound and that its ultimate decision was supported by substantial evidence. After setting forth the law that an ERISA plan administrator’s decision is reviewed for abuse of discretion, the court wrote:

The record is clear that Eaton thoughtfully considered the views of Dr. Riley. Eaton and its  reviewers discussed Dr. Riley’s views, but gave them little weight because of their inconsistency and the fact that many of them were not based on objective evidence. Furthermore, Dr. Riley’s conclusions–those of a well-meaning family doctor–were contradicted by several specialists, who gave no indication of unreliability. It was not unreasonable to discount Dr. Riley’s conclusions in these circumstances.


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: