A former employee who is totally disabled by mental illness is not a “qualified individual” and therefore is not entitled to bring suit under Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held Jan. 3 (Weyer v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 9th Cir., No. 98-35215, 1/3/00).

Helen Weyer, as an employee of Twentieth Century Film Corp., bought at a discounted group rate a long-term disability insurance policy administered by UNUM Life Insurance Co. of America. The policy provided benefits for mental disabilities for only 24 months, whereas benefits for physical disabilities were not subject to the same limitation. Weyer subsequently was totally disabled by severe depression, and she remained so. She received benefits for her disability under the UNUM policy, but, as the policy provided, those benefits stopped after two years. Weyer sued Fox and UNUM under Titles I and III of the ADA and parallel Washington statutes, alleging discrimination against persons with mental disabilities. The district court granted summary judgment to both defendants, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed on appeal.

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