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Sutton v. United Airlines, Inc.

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


Facts

Karen Hinton (plaintiff) was legally blind when not wearing corrective-vision lenses. With glasses, Hinton’s vision was 20/20 or better. Hinton applied for a position as a global airline pilot with United Airlines, Inc. (United) (defendant). United maintained a policy requiring all pilots to have, at minimum, 20/100 uncorrected sight. Because Hinton did not meet this requirement, United rejected her pilot application. Hinton sued United under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., alleging unlawful disability discrimination. The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit rejected Hinton’s claim, concluding she did not fall within an ADA-protected class. Hinton petitioned for review by the United States Supreme Court, which was granted.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (O’Connor, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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