In Weaving v. City of Hillsboro, ___ F.3d ___ (9th Cir. August 15, 2014), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon (Judge Herenandez), after a jury trial, in favor of a police officer who alleged that he was terminated in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).

Plaintiff was a police officer who claimed that he was terminated by defendant police department because of his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”), which he claimed substantially limited his ability to engage in two major life activities: working and interacting with others. According to Plaintiff, his ADHD caused “recurring interpersonal problems with his colleagues,” that eventually formed the basis of defendant’s decision to terminate his employment.  At trial, the jury agreed and found in plaintiff’s favor.  Defendant moved for judgment as a matter of law. It also moved for a new trial on the ground of improper jury instructions. The district court denied both motions, and Defendant appealed.

The appellate court reversed, finding that, as a matter of law, the jury could not have found that ADHD substantially limited Plaintiff’s ability to work or to interact with others within the meaning of the ADA. Specifically, the court held that, given the absence of evidence that the officer’s ADHD affected his ability to work, and in light of the strong evidence of his technical competence as a police officer, a jury could not reasonably have concluded that his ADHD substantially limited his ability to work.  The panel also held that the officer’s interpersonal problems did not amount to a substantial impairment of his ability to interact with others. Accordingly, based on the evidence presented, no reasonable jury could have found the officer disabled under the ADA.