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White v. University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

August 30, 2013

YOLANDA WHITE, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
UNIVERSITY OF MEDICINE AND DENTISTRY OF NEW JERSEY, Defendant-Respondent.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued August 21, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. L-10011-09.

Ryan Lockman argued the cause for appellant (Mark B. Frost & Associates, attorneys; Mr. Lockman, on the briefs).

Cheryl A. Citera, Deputy Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent (John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General, attorney; Melissa H. Raksa, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Ms. Citera, on the brief).

Before Judges Waugh and Haas.

PER CURIAM

Plaintiff Yolanda White appeals the Law Division's July 13, 2012 order granting summary judgment and dismissing her claim for disability discrimination against defendant University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). We reverse and remand for trial.

I.

We discern the following facts and procedural history from the record on appeal.

In 2002, UMDNJ hired White to work in the Emergency Medical Services Department (EMS) at University Hospital (Hospital) in Newark.[1] She was hired to work as an emergency medical technician (EMT). Her prior experience, dating back to 1995, included work as an EMT and 9-1-1 dispatcher. She was also employed as a police and fire dispatcher in Maplewood for one or two years after starting at the Hospital.

During the course of her employment at the Hospital, in addition to her EMT certification, White held certifications as a basic telecommunicator, emergency medical dispatcher, basic communications officer instructor, and emergency dispatch instructor. She had a clean disciplinary record and was characterized as a "good employee" by her EMS supervisor.

In July 2005, she was injured while on duty. A patient, whom she and her partner were assisting, began flailing her arms and threw her head back, hitting White's head at the left eye orbit. White was subsequently diagnosed with post-concussive syndrome and referred to a specialist in vision and brain injuries. The expert prescribed corrective lenses to address White's vertigo and dizziness.

Because White was unable to perform her EMT duties, she was placed on the Hospital's rehabilitation adjustment program for several months. She was initially out sick and then assigned to modified duty ...


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