TAMPA, Fla. – Aug. 17, 2022 – Greenberg Traurig, P.A. Litigation Practice Shareholder Katie Molloy achieved a complete defense verdict in favor of client Key Largo Management Company in Felix v. Key Largo Mgmt. Co., a long-running case involving claims under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA).
In the matter, which was decided in the District Court, Southern District of Florida Aug. 10, a Key West jury found that Key Largo Management Company had not terminated houseman Sobner Felix and that the company had provided a reasonable accommodation for him by modifying his work schedule.
“We were very pleased that the jury got it right for our client Key Largo Management Company in a decision that no doubt affects other businesses in the Key West hospitality industry,” said Molloy, who is based in Greenberg Traurig’s Tampa office where she is also a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice. “The decision helps clarify what employers are expected – and not expected – to do to be in compliance with the ADA and the FCRA in accommodating employees. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate employees, and Key Largo proved that it did reasonably accommodate Mr. Felix, even though it did not give him the exact accommodation he requested.”
Felix had filed a two-count complaint in the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida, for alleged violations of the ADA and FCRA, claiming that he was discriminated against based on his alleged disability or perceived disability (diabetic retinopathy), denied a reasonable accommodation, and terminated because of his disability. Felix also alleged that he was discriminated against based on his race and color. He subsequently amended his complaint to drop these allegations – leaving only his allegations of disability discrimination.
On April 27, 2020, Greenberg Traurig on behalf of Key Largo Management filed an Amended Motion for Summary Judgment, in which it argued, among other things, that Felix was not disabled under the ADA and FCRA. On Jan. 8, 2021, the district court granted Greenberg Traurig’s motion, finding that Felix was not disabled as defined by the ADA and the district court entered a Final Judgment in Key Largo Management company’s favor on all claims.
Felix appealed this decision to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The 11th Circuit ruled that Felix’s diabetic retinopathy was a disability as defined by the ADA Amendments Act and remanded the case to the district court. The district court set the matter for trial, which commenced on August 8, 2022.
At trial, Greenberg Traurig presented evidence that Key Largo Management provided Felix with a reasonable accommodation and that Felix voluntarily resigned. The trial concluded on Aug. 10, 2022, when the jury returned a complete defense verdict, specifically deciding that Key Largo Management did not terminate Felix and that Key Largo Management did not fail to provide Felix a reasonable accommodation.
Other Greenberg Traurig attorneys assisting in the matter include Associate Raymond D. Jackson.
About Greenberg Traurig’s Litigation Practice: Greenberg Traurig’s Litigation Practice includes a team of more than 600 attorneys. The firm’s trial lawyers regularly appear in state and federal courts throughout the country, as well as in appellate courts and before international arbitration panels. They work closely with in-house counsel to develop a strategy that best fits a litigation cost and proficiency model appropriate to the client’s unique needs and goals.
About Greenberg Traurig: Greenberg Traurig, LLP has more than 2500 attorneys in 43 locations in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. The firm reported gross revenue of over $2 Billion for FY 2021 and is consistently among the top firms on the Am Law 100, Am Law Global 100, and NLJ 250. On the debut 2022 Law360 Pulse Leaderboard, it is a Top 15 firm. Greenberg Traurig is Mansfield Rule 4.0 Certified Plus by The Diversity Lab and the Center for Resource Solutions Green-e® Energy program certifies that the firm’s U.S. offices are 100% powered by renewable energy. The firm is often recognized for its focus on philanthropic giving, innovation, diversity, and pro bono. Web: www.gtlaw.com.