United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Harrisonburg Division
Michael F. Urbanski, Chief United States District Judge
matter comes before the court on defendant's Motion to
Dismiss, ECF No. 4, in which defendant asks the court to
dismiss plaintiffs Complaint (the "Complaint" or
"Compl."), ECF No. 1, for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction, and plaintiffs Motion for Leave to File EEOC
Documents to Support Opposition to Motion to Dismiss, ECF No.
17, in which plaintiff asks the court to consider
supplemental Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
("EEOC") documents when adjudicating the motion to
dismiss. For the reasons set forth below, the court will
DENY the motion to dismiss and DENY
AS MOOT the motion to supplement.
William Todd Cooper ("Cooper") filed the present
lawsuit against defendant Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren
Regional Jail Authority ("RSW") for discrimination
under the Americans with Disabilities Act (the
"ADA"). Cooper contends that RSW improperly denied
his application for a custodial officer position because it
regarded him as having a disability when, in fact, he did not
have a limiting disability.
January 13, 2014, Cooper applied for a jail custodial officer
position with RSW.On March 20, 2014, Deputy Superintendant
Russ Kirkinson ("Kirkinson") told Cooper that when
Cooper first applied, Kirkinson thought Cooper would be one
person he would hire for the position, but he would not hire
him because he only had one eye. Kirkinson suggested that
Cooper apply for a janitorial position, walked Cooper to the
secretary, and told the secretary to change his application
April 2, 2014, RSWs chief financial personnel officer asked
Cooper what Kirkinson had told him. On April 7, 2014, the
hiring sergeant asked Cooper to undergo a background check.
The next day, Cooper was asked to take a full physical with
Dr. Kevin Culbert, RSWs occupational health consultant.
April 8, 2014, after a five-minute meeting with Cooper, Dr.
Culbert opined that Cooper was "not likely" to meet
the physical requirements of the job. The examination
consisted of Dr. Culbert holding up a finger in Cooper's
peripheral vision. Despite Cooper reporting he could see Dr.
Culbert wiggling his finger, Dr. Culbert said he did not
believe Cooper and drew his negative conclusion without
conducting any further examination. Dr. Culbert told Cooper
if he did not agree, he should see an ophthalmologist.
April 11, 2014, RSW conditionally offered Cooper a
position contingent upon passing a medical examination by a
licensed ophthalmologist. RSW paid for Cooper to visit Dr.
Anthony Viti, a licensed ophthalmologist. Dr. Viti concluded
that Cooper's visual field was full both to confrontation
and formal visual fields and that he saw the nasal and
temporal side of the world. Dr. Viti found that Cooper was
fully able to obtain an unrestricted driver's license.
The only recommendation he made was that Cooper wear safety
glasses as a preventative measure.
was also examined by Dr. Sona Kalara and Dr. Frank Rueling,
both of whom were licensed ophthalmologists. Dr. Kalara
opined that she had full confidence that Cooper's
peripheral vision was sufficient for any task that he would
encounter. Dr. Rueling opined that Cooper had excellent
vision without anomalies and met the requirements to legally
operate a motor vehicle, the standard most often used to
evaluate visual functionality.
10, 2014, RSWs occupational health doctor rescinded the offer
of employment, stating that "[p]reviously submitted
statements by optometrist and ophthalmologist should be
disregarded." RSW concluded that Cooper was medically
unqualified because "[m]onocular vision is a
disqualifying condition" for a corrections officer
according to the American College of Occupational and
Environmental Medicine's Guidance for the Medical
Evaluation of Law Enforcement Officers.
April 23, 2014, Cooper filed a Charge of Discrimination with
the EEOC (the "EEOC Charge"), ECF No. 5 Ex. A,
which read in full:
On January 13, 2014, I applied for the position of Jail
Custodian Officer with the RSW Regional Jail.
On March 20, 2014, I was informed by Russ Kirkison [sic],
Deputy Superintendant, that I did not qualify for the Jail
Custodian Officer position because of my impairment. After I
contacted the County Building about my situation, on April 7,
2014, Investigating Hiring Sergeant, Chris Williams, asked me
to come in to sign the documents for my background check. On
April 8, 2014, while I was doing the physical exam, I was
failed by the RSW Regional Jail doctor, Kevin Culbert. On
April 9, 2014, I was examined by a specialized physician. On
April 10, 2014, I submitted to RSW Regional Jail the
documents I was provided by the specialized physician which
indicated that my impairment would not impede any task that I
may encounter. I am aware that the School for Jail Custodian
Officer started on April 21, 2014.
I believe I have been discriminated against based on my
disability, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities