An epileptic Los Angeles police officer who sued the city after allegedly being denied a return to full duty and told to choose between being fired, resigning and other undesirable options can take half of his claims to trial, a judge ruled Thursday.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yolanda Orozco ruled that Officer Andrew Mahoney can move forward with his allegations of disability discrimination and failure to accommodate, but she granted the city’s motion to dismiss his claims for harassment and retaliation.
In their court papers, lawyers for the City Attorney’s Office maintained the city did make efforts to accommodate Mahoney by offering him new positions and he has been fully paid even though he has not worked since March 2017.
Mahoney, who sued in May 2019, joined the LAPD in October 2009 and was assigned to Mission Division, where he studied crime trends to assist detectives with crime reports, the suit states. He and his partner were also in charge of running the station’s social media accounts, the suit states.
Mahoney disclosed when he was hired that he had a history of juvenile epilepsy and he graduated from the police academy and worked with no seizures until 2011, when he had two seizures and was placed on light duty, the suit states. He has had none since 2016, according to his suit, but a doctor for the city determined that his work restrictions should be permanent and that he should remain on light-duty status, the suit states.
Mahoney’s own doctor, a well-known seizure disorder specialist, believes Mahoney is seizure-free and should be able to return to the full duties of a police officer, the suit states.
Despite his requests for accommodation and a return to full duty, the LAPD had told Mahoney he must choose between being fired, transferring to a civilian role, taking medical retirement, resigning or taking a disability pension, the suit alleges.
Mahoney has been forced to take vacation time, sick time or leave without pay because the city will not allow him to continue to work, actions which have materially and adversely affected his health and career, according to his suit.