Ninth Circuit: No jury trial and no money damages for ADA retaliation claim

By Shemia Fagan
December 23, 2009

In a case decided earlier this month, the Ninth Circuit held that a plaintiff claiming retailiation under the Americans with Disabilities Act is limited to equitable remedies.  In Alvarado v. Cajun Operating Co., plaintiff filed several claims against his former employer, including a claim for retaliation under the ADA.  Defendant immediately moved the court to bar plaintiff from seeking a jury trial or compensatory or punitive damages for his retaliation claim.  The district court granted the motion and the Ninth Circuit affirmed.

Remedies under the ADA are provided by the statute itself, and through the remedies assigned to it by the more general Civil Rights Act, 42 USC sec. 1981(a).  The Ninth Circuit noted that amendments to the Civil Rights Act extended compensatory and punitive damages to certain claims under the ADA, not including retaliation.  Relying on the plain language of the ADA and the exclusion of retaliation claims from those specified in the Civil Rights Act, the Ninth Circuit concluded that plaintiffs continue to be limited to equitable relief for retaliation claims. 

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