On March 30, 2015, the 7th Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of a lawsuit in which a hospital patient alleged that she was a victim of disability discrimination and retaliation during her hospital stay, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Reed v. Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital, No. 14-2592 (7th Cir., 3-30-2015). Title I of the ADA prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of disability. Title III of the ADA prohibits disability discrimination in public accommodation. The Rehabilitation Act makes it unlawful for entities that receive federal funding to discriminate on the basis of disability in the employment context and in public accommodation.
The 7th Circuit held that the plaintiff stated viable claims for disability discrimination and retaliation under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act. Under the Rehabilitation Act, compensatory damages are available for claims of intentional discrimination, and retaliation claims are recognized outside of the employment context. Thus, the 7th circuit concluded that the lawsuit should not have been dismissed.