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ADA Action by Karate Instructors Dealing with Whether Obesity is a Disability

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By FindLaw Staff on May 06, 2010 1:38 PM

Spiegel v. Schulmann, No. 06-5914, concerned an action claiming that defendants violated the anti-retaliation provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related state laws by terminating plaintiffs as karate instructors.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendants in part, holding that 1) the district court properly concluded that there was no individual liability for retaliation claims brought under the ADA and 2) the district court correctly determined that plaintiffs failed to state a claim under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).  However, the Second Circuit vacated the judgment in part, on the ground that the district court needed to consider in the first instance whether obesity was a disability under the NYCHRL.

As the court wrote:  "Appeal from a judgment by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Townes, J.) granting the Defendants-Appellees' motion for summary judgment. Because we hold that the district court properly concluded that there is no individual liability for retaliation claims brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), we affirm the court's granting of the motion for summary judgment with respect to the ADA retaliation claims against Defendant-Appellee Daniel ("Tiger") Schulmann. Further, we also hold that the court correctly determined that the Plaintiffs failed to state a claim under the New York State Human Rights Law. However, we vacate and remand with respect to the Plaintiffs' claim under the New York City Human Rights Law. We find the Plaintiffs' remaining bases for appeal to be without merit. Accordingly, we affirm in part and vacate in part the
judgment of the district court, and remand."

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