Hoback v. Chattanooga

2012 WL 3834828 (2012)

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Hoback v. Chattanooga

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
2012 WL 3834828 (2012)

Facts

Hoback (plaintiff) became a Chattanooga police officer in July 2000. Hoback was also an army veteran and served a tour in Iraq before being honorably discharged and diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In 2006, Hoback returned to the police department after his discharge. However, Hoback was fired following a series of events, which began in April 2009 when Hoback visited a Veterans Administration (VA) doctor. The doctor wanted to involuntarily commit Hoback because she believed that Hoback was suicidal. Hoback avoided the involuntary commitment and voluntarily committed himself the same day, and he was observed and released the next day. By that time, the police chief had learned of the involuntary-commitment attempt and placed Hoback on administrative leave. Hoback was not allowed to return to the department until he had been psychologically examined and found fit to return. In April and May, Hoback was examined by a first psychologist, who reported that Hoback still required intensive therapy and was unfit for return. That psychologist’s report was based, in part, on violent disclosures Hoback made during treatment at the VA. In June and July, Hoback was examined by a second psychologist, who reported that Hoback was fit to return, albeit needing gradually lessened supervision to reacclimate. The chief decided to fire Hoback based on the first psychologist’s report. The chief did not consider the second report because he believed that Hoback posed a direct threat to others due to the essential functions of his job. Hoback sued the city (defendant) claiming that his firing violated the Americans with Disabilities Act because he was “regarded as” disabled due to his PTSD.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Collier, C.J.)

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