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Curley v. City of North Las Vegas

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

December 2, 2014

MICHAEL P. CURLEY, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
CITY OF NORTH LAS VEGAS, Defendant-Appellee

Argued and Submitted, San Francisco, California: September 10, 2014.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. D.C. No. 2:09-cv-01071-KJD-VCF. Kent J. Dawson, District Judge, Presiding.

Americans with Disabilities Act

The panel affirmed the district court's summary judgment in an action alleging employment discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The plaintiff alleged that the City of Las Vegas discriminated against him by firing him because of his hearing impairment and retaliated against him for filing an EEOC complaint and requesting an accommodation. The panel held that the plaintiff failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the City's stated reason for firing him--his long history of threatening coworkers--was pretextual.

Michael P. Balaban (argued), Law Offices of Michael P. Balaban, Las Vegas, Nevada, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Sandra Douglass Morgan (argued) and Jeffrey F. Barr, City Attorneys, North Las Vegas, Nevada, for Defendant-Appellee.

Before: Mary M. Schroeder, John B. Owens, and Michelle T. Friedland, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge Friedland.

OPINION

Page 630

FRIEDLAND, Circuit Judge:

Michael Curley appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the City of North Las Vegas on his claims alleging discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (" ADA" ). First, we consider whether a doctor's finding that Curley did not pose a safety threat belies one of the City's stated reasons for firing him--his long history of threatening coworkers. Second, we consider whether the City's prior leniency toward Curley's misconduct provides reason to doubt that the City fired him partly because of that misconduct. We conclude that neither provides a basis for finding the City's explanations pretextual, so we affirm the district court's grant of summary judgment.

I. Background

Michael Curley was an employee of the City of North Las Vegas from 1996 until 2009. In 2005, Curley became a pretreatment inspector--a position that primarily entailed cleaning sewers and preventing sewer blockages.

Curley received many oral and written reprimands during his employment with the City. His disciplinary record reflects that, over the course of several years, Curley had numerous verbal altercations with coworkers, made insensitive remarks about a fellow employee's motorcycle accident, damaged City property, and made several threats of violence against coworkers. Curley's disciplinary record also includes ...


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