Employment Litigation: Discrimination, Harassment & Retaliation Cases

Employment Litigation: Discrimination, Harassment & Retaliation

Adam Appel represented a public entity in an ADA discrimination trial in Federal Court in Augusta, GA (Campbell Peery v. Serenity Behavioral Health). The plaintiff, the former CEO of a mental health, mental retardation and substance abuse center, alleged among other things, that his employer terminated him because of an impairment – alcoholism – in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The eight-member board terminated its CEO while he was on leave seeking in-patient treatment for his alcoholism. The plaintiff presented evidence at trial that he was a “high functioning” alcoholic, but claimed that the board members “regarded him as disabled” under the ADA based on his leave request and that after he requested medical leave for his alcoholism, the board decided to terminate him. While the board did terminate the CEO during his leave, it presented evidence that the termination was for reasons unrelated to the CEO’s alcoholism. The board also presented evidence that it did not regard the CEO as being disabled from his job, but simply that his job performance was putting the center’s funding in jeopardy. Five of the board members testified during the five-day trial. The CEO also sued the public agency for breach of contract, which claim was defended by the agency’s personal counsel. After the close of all evidence, the federal court judge granted the public agency’s Rule 50 Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law on the ADA claim only, which is the only claim Mr. Appel defended at trial.