Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Estate of Mauro v. Borgess Medical Center case brief

Estate of Mauro v. Borgess Medical Center case brief summary
137 F.3d 398 (1998)

The United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan granted summary judgment for appellee employer, finding that removal of appellant employee from his surgical technician position because he was infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 12101 et seq., and the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C.S. § 701 et seq. Employee sought review.


Employee filed suit alleging that employer's action removing him as hospital surgical technician violated the ADA, 42 U.S.C.S. § 12132, and the Rehabilitation Act § 504, 29 U.S.C.S. § 794, because his HIV infection did not pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others.


  • The court held that the district court did not err in determining that employee's continued employment as a surgical technician posed a direct threat to health and safety under the four-factor test outlined in Arline, which involved consideration of the nature, duration, and severity of the risk and the probability that the disease would be transmitted. 
  • In this determination, the court deferred to the medical judgments of public health officials, who differentiated workers who performed invasive, exposure-prone procedures that posed a greater risk of skin-piercing injury. 
  • The court found that all the evidence, together with the uncontradicted fact that a wound causing an HIV-infected surgical technician to bleed while in a body cavity could have catastrophic results and near certainty of death, indicated that employee was a direct threat to the health and safety of others.

The court affirmed summary judgment for employer.

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