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Man Without Larynx Wins Suit

When Stanford Burris applied for a job as a truck driver with Delaware-based Richards Paving Inc. in 2003, he thought his 40 years of experience made him a perfect candidate. But despite his experience, Richards didn't hire Burris. He alleges the company rejected him not because he was unqualified, but because managers perceived him as disabled because he didn't have a larynx.

Burris, who had his larynx surgically removed in 1991 because of cancer, sued under the ADA in 2004. According to his complaint, a manager at Richards told Burris the company wouldn't hire him because it was too difficult to hear his voice over the CB radio system.

At trial, Richards countered that Burris had failed his driving test, and that his lack of a larynx was not a disability that brought him under the protection of the ADA because it didn't substantially limit him in a major life activity.

But a jury in Delaware federal court decided that Richards rejected him due to his condition, and on Dec. 5, awarded him more than $120,000 for back pay and pain and suffering.

After the decision, Richards asked the court to reject the verdict or reduce the judgment. At press time, the court was still considering these motions.

Staff Writer

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