Leonard v. Rolette County, et al.

Plaintiff is a real estate abstractor who claims that she has an allergy to secondhand smoke.  She filed an action claiming that from 1994 until 1997 the County violated the public access provisions of Title II of the ADA by failing to provide a smoke-free courthouse.  The district court in North Dakota granted the county’s motion for summary judgment, holding that Leonard was not disabled within the meaning of the ADA.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment, concluding that there was insufficient evidence that Leonard’s alleged impairment substantially limited her ability to breathe. The court also noted that, from 1994 to 1997, she went to the courthouse 2330 times; thus, her access to the courthouse was not limited.  In November 1999, the County adopted a no-smoking policy that applies to the courthouse.  She filed a claim in state court; in March 2000, a jury deliberated for 2.5 hours before deciding that the county was negligent in failing to comply prior to November 1997 with a North Dakota law requiring public places to have designated smoking areas if smoking is allowed.  However, the jurors determined that secondhand smoke was only 5 percent responsible for the strep throat and other illnesses that Leonard contended it caused.

1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 29732 (U.S.C.A. 8th Cir. 1999).