Monday, August 9, 2010

health insurance in court

The plaintiff sued his employer under the association provision of the ADA, alleging that his employer failed to offer him a full-time position because of his wife's multiple sclerosis, which could have potentially increased the costs of covering the plaintiff's health insurance.231
The plaintiff's only evidence that this issue played a role in the decisionmaking process was his testimony that the plant manager had overheard a discussion between the plaintiff and a co-worker regarding the plaintiff's need for health insurance. According to the plaintiff, the plant manager "listened intently" to the conversation between the plaintiff and his co-worker, during which the plaintiff spoke about both his wife's illness and the company's medical coverage. This conversation occurred approximately one month prior to the employer's decision not to offer the plaintiff a full-time position. The only other evidence the plaintiff submitted to support his contention that his supervisor heard the conversation was that the plaintiff had been able to hear a conversation between his supervisor and a coworker while standing fifteen feet away. The plaintiff offered no further testimony that his supervisor had heard any other illness-related discussions, and he indicated that his supervisor never discussed the issue

with him, and that nobody had ever told him that the supervisor had overheard the conversation.Finally, the plaintiff admitted, in his deposition, that he had never discussed his wife's illness or his interest in obtaining heath insurance because of his wife's illness with any of his
supervisors. Although the court spent some time discussing the issue of whether the employer knew of the plaintiff's wife's medical condition, the court ultimately never made a decision as to whether the employer knew about the plaintiff's wife's illness.