Court rules against plaintiff seeking emotional distress damages for discrimination
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Thursday against a plaintiff seeking emotional distress damages for violation of certain federal anti-discrimination laws.
Jane Cummings is deaf and legally blind, and she communicates primarily in American Sign Language. She sought physical therapy services from Premier Rehab Keller, a company that operates rehabilitation facilities in Texas and receives federal funds. She asked Premier Rehab to provide an ASL interpreter, but Premier Rehab declined. Cummings then sued Premier Rehab, alleging discrimination based on disability in violation of the federal Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) and Affordable Care Act (Section 1557). Cummings stated that she had suffered humiliation and emotional distress as a result of Premier Rehab’s actions. The question facing the court in Cummings v. Premier Rehab Keller PLLC was whether damages for emotional harm are available under the anti-discrimination laws Cummings invoked.