Supreme Court Declines Review of FedEx ADA Case

October 9, 2008 ( - The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a petition for review by Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) of a ruling upholding a $100,000 punitive damages award under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to a deaf former package handler.

In January, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that based on the evidence produced at the trial of Ronald Lockhart’s suit against the package delivery giant “the jury was thus entitled to find that FedEx higher management officials had acted reprehensibly with respect to Lockhart’s need for ADA accommodations (See Deaf Former FedEx Package Handler Wins ADA Award Appeal).” Lockhart was awarded $8,000 in compensatory damages and a $100,000 punitive damage total.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed the suit on behalf of Lockhart. An EEOC news release said the suit charged FedEx with violating the ADA by failing to provide Lockhart with American Sign Language interpreters and notes for mandatory employee meetings and trainings, despite his repeated requests for these accommodations.

“The evidence at trial showed that FedEx delayed for nearly two years in providing reasonable accommodations to Lockhart, refusing to do so even for meetings in which critical safety information was provided shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and subsequent anthrax attacks,” the announcement said.