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No one ever told me I had to research the law!

In a recent decision, Bluestein v. Central Wisconsin Anesthesiology, S.C., Nos. 13-3724, 14-1256 and 14-1257, the Seventh Circuit upheld the dismissal of Bluestein’s claim that she was wrongly terminated in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 12101, et seq. and other civil rights statutes.

The problem with the claim was that Bluestein was an owner of the practice and even voted on her own termination. There was and is well-settled law that owners cannot sue under the ADA or other civil rights statutes.

The district court found that “the undisputed facts demonstrated that Bluestein was an employer rather than an employee; … that she did not demonstrate that she was disabled within the meaning of the ADA because she produced no evidence of a substantial limitation in a major life activity; ..”

The court also noted that a reasonable amount of legal research should have alerted counsel to the implausibility of success on the merits of any of her claims….” (emphasis supplied).

The Seventh Circuit affirmed on the ground that “a reasonable juris could conclude that Bluestein’s suit was frivolous, unreasonable and without foundation….”

The bottom line: The holding appears obvious. However, the case is a reminder that legal research is necessary whenever a case is filed. There is no excuse for failing to research the law.

Edward X. Clinton, Jr.

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