Reilly v. Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, et al.

A deputy sheriff sued a county sheriff’s department and the county, alleging discrimination and retaliation under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).  Reilly’s primary duty was to transport prisoners in county-owned vehicles to jail.  While a county policy banned smoking in those vehicles, the policy was not followed.  Reilly filed an accident report, stating that he was subjected to secondhand smoke and filed an informal grievance.  He was then transferred to a different division where he would not be exposed to secondhand smoke.  After Reilly sued, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Reilly had failed to present sufficient evidence that he was “disabled” within the meaning of the ADA and that he provided no evidence that the defendants regarded him as significantly restricted in his ability to perform a range of jobs.  The court (Boyle, J.) found that “Reilly is not ‘disabled’ within the meaning of the ADA” since he failed “to point to evidence that raises a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether the [defendant sheriff’s department] perceives him as significantly restricted in the ability to perform a class of jobs in the geographical area to which he has reasonable access.”  Also, the court  granted summary judgment for the defendants, ruling that the transfer was not a demotion but, rather, a lateral transfer. Therefore, it was not an adverse employment action.  Moreover, “Reilly’s retaliation claim fails because he does not question the veracity of the [defendant’s] non-retaliatory reason for transferring him…”

2001 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 12427 (U.S.D.C. Tex. 2001).