Marino v. Adamar of New Jersey, 2009 WL 260799 (D.N.J., February 4, 2009) – The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey granted summary judgment in favor of the employer on the plaintiff’s claims under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act on the basis of sworn statements the plaintiff made to the Social Security Administration (SSA) in an application for disability benefits prior to the lawsuit. The plaintiff, who was terminated as part of a reduction in force, claimed his employer discriminated on the basis of age and disability in selecting employees for layoff by utilizing a formula that relied heavily on time and attendance. The plaintiff had previously affirmed under oath to the SSA that he became disabled and unable to work on the same date he was terminated.
The court determined that the plaintiff was judicially estopped from claiming he was unable to work due to disability for purposes of collecting social security benefits, and simultaneously claiming in his lawsuit that he was able to perform the essential functions of his job, as he must in order to prove disability discrimination. The plaintiff was therefore unable to establish a prima facie case of discrimination and summary judgment was granted.
This decision underscores the importance of obtaining relevant agency records when defending a discrimination claim.
Note: This article was published in the March 2009 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.