Sacher v. Walker Bag Mfg. Company

Plaintiff, who suffers from “hyperactive airway disease triggered by tobacco smoke,” had been employed by the defendant and was exposed to smoke when it came through the ventilation system to the area where the Plaintiff worked.  She filed an action pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act, alleging that the company discriminated against her because of her disability, failed to provide a reasonable accommodation and eventually terminated her.  In its motion for summary judgment, the company argued that, under the ADA and the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, Plaintiff is not an “individual with a disability.”  A federal judge (Johnstone, J.) granted the company’s motion, ruling that her physical impairment did not “substantially limit” one of the Plaintiff’s major life activities.  The Court ruled that the Plaintiff “fails to introduce sufficient evidence in her response which would show that her allergy to tobacco smoke forecloses her from generally obtaining jobs in her field.  Nor does she dispute Defendant’s assertion that she has held several positions since her termination.”  The Court concluded that “as Plaintiff has failed to meet her initial burden of presenting evidence showing that her impairment substantially limits her from obtaining employment generally, defendant is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law.”

No. 3:98CV-303-J (U.S.D.C. W.D. Ky. 1999).