Justices mull availability of emotional distress damages in anti-discrimination cases
The Supreme Court heard oral argument Tuesday in Cummings v. Premier Rehab Keller, P.L.L.C., a case on whether emotional distress damages are available in certain anti-discrimination suits against recipients of federal funding. Jane Cummings sued Texas-based Premier Rehab for discriminating based on her disability in violation of the Rehabilitation Act and the Affordable Care Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit held that Cummings could not seek damages for emotional distress. At the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the justices sought to pin down which methodology they should apply to such cases. Though some justices seemed receptive to the availability of emotional distress damages, questions from the bench also suggested concern about the size of emotional distress awards and the absence of explicitly defined remedies in the statutes Cummings invoked.