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A. TITLE AND CITATION: Holbrook v. City of Alpharetta, 112 F.3d 1522 (11th Cir. 1997)
B. TYPE OF ACTION: Plaintiff, William A. Holbrook made a claim concerning a violation of his rights which are protected under the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as well the Americans with Disabilities Act, for which 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He made this claim against the city of Alpharetta, in which he also filed a lawsuit alleging violations to the Georgia Equal Employment for the Handicapped Act. C. FACTS OF THE CASE: William A. Holbrook worked as a detective and was hired by the City of Alpharetta Police Department. In November of 1987, Mr. Holbrook was in an accident in which he endured injuries. Due to the accident, Mr. Holbrook suffered complications in accompanied with visual issues because of diabetes. He experienced retinal detachment in both eyes. He received eye surgery that restored partial vision to his left eye, however, he remained without visual function in his right eye. He was unable to work for about ten months following the accident, but he continued to receive a full salary and benefits from the police department the entire time.Holbrook could not drive a car and was tasked with detective work that primarily could be handled within the office. Holbrook usually needed help with transportation to a crime scene during routine. The period immediately following Holbrook’s return to work, the Chief of Police at that time was Larry Abernathy. In September 1991, E.L. Waters replaced Abernathy and shortly after began to make changes toHolbrook’s duties as a detective. He no longer wanted Holbrook in an “on call” status and was limited in his duties that could be performed mostly in an office setting. In December of 1991, Holbrook decided to file an “Ante Litem” claim for damages against the city as it relates to discriminatory behavior against him. D. CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES:
a. Plaintiffs William A. Holbrook contends that he was discriminated against because of his disabilitiesand therefore continuously refused to assign him full duties of a police detective. He also states that these actions of the police department caused him to quit his employment with the police department. b. Defendant The City of Alpharetta responds fires back saying that Holbrook was not a “qualified individual” within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act because he was unable to perform essential functions of his job with or without reasonable accommodations.
E. ISSUE(S): If the city of Alpharetta discriminated against Mr. Holbrook because of his disabilities then that would be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is in place to protect people from being discriminated against, because disability rights are considered basic civil rights for all people. Did Mr. Holbrook filing the “Ante Litem” against the police department serve as a way for them to use reprisal or retaliation against him? If so, that would possibly be grounds for a violation of Mr. Holbrook’s first amendment rights which are supposed to protect citizens right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. F. DECISION: No, the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights were not violated because the filing of an ante litem claim did not comprise of protected First Amendment activity. In addition, City of Alpharetta could not reasonably accommodate Holbrook under Title I of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.
G. REASONING: Mr. Holbrook’s claims of retaliation or reprisal from filing the Ante Litem did not constitute a protected first amendment right and therefore was not valid in this case. The City of Alpharetta police department has a right to convey their agitations with the lawsuit but in no way prevented him from freedom of speech. Furthermore, the City of Alpharetta was not legally required, under the ADA, to accommodate Holbrook’s disability with respect to this function. In this case, APD made accommodations that may have been out of their scope to do and was certainly over time an inconvenience. He was not able to do his job fully and confidently and even admitted to two things he was not able to do which was drive and collect certain evidence at the crime scene.
H. RULE OF LAW: The ADA gives the judgment call to the employer to decide what is deemed an essential function of the job. If an employer has prepared a written description prior to conducting an interview to applicants for the job, this description shall be considered evidence of the essential functions of the job citing, 42 U.S.C. § 12111(8). According to the ADA, there are three factors that can be considered when decided essential functions of a job. The first is the reason the position exists to perform the function. Secondly, there are a limited number of employees available who can perform the job duties. Lastly, the function is highly specialized so the person hired for the job must be able to maintain ability to perform the duties. no less than 100 words and respond to this persons discussion