Friday, August 15, 2014

Weaving v. City of Hillsborough (9th Cir. - Aug. 15, 2014)

This is a great case.  Says a lot.  About police officers, the ADA, and legal doctrine.

But I fear that its length -- 35 single-spaced pages -- might deter people from wading through it.

So I'll summarize the Ninth Circuit's holding in a single sentence:

Being an asshole isn't a disability.

Even if you say that you're a jerk because of ADHD, and being a jerk gets you fired (no small task for a cop, I might add), that's not an excuse.  Much less something that entitles you to three quarter of a million dollars.

Which is what the jury awarded this former officer, and which is what's reversed by the Ninth Circuit.

There are great examples in the opinion of just how "difficult" it was to work with Officer Weaving.  Read the whole thing for a great view into the workings of someone who, clearly, lots of people hated.

Judge Callahan dissents.  She says that "[t]he majority may not like Matthew Weaving," but that's this is not a valid reason for disturbing the jury's verdict.

There's definitely a fine line between personality and circumstances that might generate that personality.

But ADHD or no, my view is that you've got an obligation not to be a complete bunghole at work.  At least when you're capable of acting professionally.  Which Officer Weaving apparently did with those above him.  But for those subordinate to him; well, read some of the e-mails.  Classic.