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Selected Cases & Due Process Decisions

The following are a sample of Employment Law cases litigated by the firm in federal court. McKinley & Ryan does not divulge the names of clients and therefore we have not included case captions.

Federal Court Employment Cases

Special Education/Reading Disability/Retaliation

We represented a special education student with reading disabilities, challenging the inadequate educational programming provided by the school district, and seeking monetary damages for severe harassment and retaliation based on the parents’ use of due process proceedings on the student’s behalf. The family accepted a substantial settlement at the close of discovery.

Special Education/Asperger’s Syndrome/LRE

We brought this action for injunctive relief and monetary damages to force the school district to provide appropriate educational services to a student with Asperger’s Syndrome in the least restrictive environment. The student had been placed in unduly restrictive emotional support placements. The case was settled at the conclusion of discovery and cross-motions for summary judgment with significant relief to the student including placement in an inclusive setting.

Special Education/Severe Autism/Residential Placement

This action was brought to force the school district to provide appropriate residential services to a child with severe autism and cognitive impairments. The complaint contained claims for monetary for denial of a free, appropriate public education, as well as physical injury, regression, loss of speech, and other damages while the student was in an inappropriate placement. The case was settled with significant relief to the student.

Employment/Disability Discrimination/Failure to Accommodate

Lorrie prosecuted several cases involving a direct attack on City of Philadelphia Civil Service Regulation 32, alleging that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act due to its failure to provide for accommodations for persons with work-connected injuries who were not capable of returning to the full duties of their pre-injury assignment after a specified period. The cases were settled after discovery with changes to Regulation 32 that provides system-wide relief to city employees in accordance with federal disability law.

Employment/Disability Discrimination/Perception

This case involved a challenge under the Americans with Disabilities Act to the employer’s refusal to permit its employee to return to work for over twenty months based on an unfounded perception that he was seizure-prone and an epileptic. The jury rendered a six figure verdict against the employer , agreeing that the employee was qualified to perform the dock worker job he desired either with or without accommodation, even if he could not perform the truck driving job he previously held but did not desire.

Employment/Challenge to PA Workers’ Compensation Law

Lorrie served as lead counsel in this action against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and private workers’ compensation insurers challenging the constitutionality of a provision in Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation law which suspended enforcement of judgment concerning medical benefits. The provision at issue was invalidated by the Third Circuit, after which the Commonwealth amended the law. The private insurers petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review of the revised version of the law, arguing that they were not state actors. Lorrie argued on behalf of worker compensation claimants to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the insurers were not state actors and that the law, as amended after the Third Circuit’s decision, contained sufficient procedural protections to satisfy the Fourteenth Amendment. This case is featured in the Supreme Court exhibit of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia to depict how a case proceeds through the various stages of federal litigation to the United States Supreme Court.

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