Cruel Seventh Circuit Order Refuses To Reschedule Hearing After Miscarriage

Cruel Seventh Circuit Order Refuses To Reschedule Hearing After Miscarriage

It’s been less than 24 hours since I informed the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals of my miscarriage and already it feels like much longer as if I’ve been carrying this heavy secret around in my body for months now, waiting for the right time to let it slip out in front of the three most powerful judges in this country.

How Courts Treat Disability Rights Cases

Fellow law students, it’s time to seriously start thinking about what we’re going to do when our rights are violated in court. Fortunately, there is some precedent:

the 7th Circuit just had a landmark case about rescheduling hearings for a pregnant attorney who miscarried during litigation and lost her initial appeal. If you want to be assured that you can still work your day job AND maintain your family responsibilities, read on!

As recounted by an amicus brief from NAPAWF (National Association of Professionals Including Women of Color), one evening after the appellant – the lawyer in question – had submitted papers for the hearing and was getting ready for bed, she started feeling abdominal pain.

What Happened?

A pregnant law clerk for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (appeals court with jurisdiction over Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin) was going to testify in a hearing but had her water break. Judge Patrick R. Quinn refused to reschedule the hearing for fear that he would set a dangerous precedent. The woman,

due to give birth in 3 weeks, filed an emergency motion in which she included medical documentation showing that her miscarriage is not medically considered a health issue. If she doesn’t testify then important evidence will not be heard by the panel of judges on a case with far-reaching implications for Illinois.

The Court’s Opinion

The Court concludes that the Petitioner has not made a sufficient showing to justify relief from the procedural default of her substantive-due-process claims. Her negligence claim, however, remains pending and will be addressed at the remand hearing.

Petitioner alleges that she suffered a miscarriage in December 2015 and had to take several weeks off from work. She contends that her job responsibilities should have been distributed more evenly across her coworkers during her absence.

The Respondent was unable to reschedule the hearing date because he found out about the miscarriage three days before it was scheduled, so Petitioner could not provide written medical documentation in time.

What This Means For People with Disabilities

Title VII of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities. The ADA protects pregnant employees and job applicants, too.

If a disability occurs during employment, employers must make reasonable accommodations. Such accommodations may include modifying how someone does Circuit their job or adapting what the person does each day. For example,

if a person has carpal tunnel syndrome and requires two days off each week to heal properly, then a short-term adjustment to their schedule might be made so that they can take Mondays and Fridays off for two weeks as needed until their symptoms improve or go away completely.

Disability Rights Organizations File A Brief in Support of Colleen’s Petition For Review by the Supreme Court

The disability rights community is deeply concerned by the Court’s refusal to vacate the seven-day Circuit stay, which comes amid rampant and unchecked lawlessness against people with disabilities.

As Colleen Cooper argues in her Petition for Review to the Supreme Court of this extremely serious violation of her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Circuit  Act, Ms. Cooper continues to need continuing treatment for PTSD and opioid use disorder from this event

, causing inordinate distress during a difficult time. It is unconscionable that anyone would treat disabled people with so little concern for their well-being, or as if they were less than human beings entitled to dignity and respect.

The Center for Disability Rights does not represent Ms.

How You Can Help

Everyone deserves support after losing a pregnancy. Here are five things you can do to show someone in your life that you care:

  • Write them a letter telling them how much you admire and appreciate their strength.
  • Listen without judgment or advice-giving, just  Circuit validation.
  • Provide information about resources like grief counseling, religious groups, and child care if they need help caring for their kids.
  • Offer to be there for them even if it’s difficult for you at the time. And remember, your actions do make a difference supporting someone shows that they matter to you and that what they’re going through matters too.
  • Keep browsing Law Scribd for more updates.

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