GMSR wins reversal for client community college of adverse $3.4 million FEHA judgment

A jury awarded plaintiff, a kitchen worker at a community college, $3.4 million, including $2.775 million in noneconomic damages and over $500,000 in attorneys’ fees, for the failure to accommodate and to engage in the interactive process relating to two physical conditions: carpal tunnel syndrome and a subsequent rotator cuff injury.  The Court of Appeal reversed.  It agreed with GMSR’s arguments (a) that no substantial evidence supported that any reasonable accommodation could have addressed plaintiff’s totally disabling rotator cuff condition and (b) that such an available accommodation was a required element of an interactive process claim.  Because the judgment could not be apportioned between damages for the shoulder and wrist conditions, the judgment as to the college’s failure to accommodate her wrist condition had to be reversed.  The court ordered a retrial limited to FEHA liability and damages, if any, for the wrist condition.

Court of Appeal Opinion – View Document