Sutton v. United Air Lines, Inc.

527 U.S. 471 (1999)

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Sutton v. United Air Lines, Inc.

United States Supreme Court
527 U.S. 471 (1999)

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Facts

Twin sisters Karen Sutton and Kimberly Hinton (plaintiffs) both had severe myopia. Uncorrected, each sister had, at best, 20/200 vision, but corrective lenses allowed each sister to see with 20/20 vision. The sisters applied to be global airline pilots for United Air Lines (United) (defendant). During their interviews, the sisters were disqualified because United required that their global pilots have uncorrected vision of at least 20/100. However, other pilot jobs were available for candidates with uncorrected vision worse than 20/100, such as regional and instructing positions. The sisters sued United, alleging that United had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by discriminating because they had a disability or because United regarded them as having a disability. The sisters argued that their disability was myopia because, uncorrected, the myopia was a substantially limiting impairment. The federal district court dismissed the complaint. The Tenth Circuit affirmed the dismissal. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (O’Connor, J.)

Concurrence (Ginsburg, J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

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