This case involves the complex employment history of plaintiff Laverne Ballard, an
African-American woman who worked as a bus driver for TriMet until her termination in
November 2008. Ballard allegedly suffered a series of workplace injuries, for which she filed
worker’s compensation claims. Although denied initially, her claims were ultimately approved
on appeal. While she was injured, Ballard attempted to return to work in various ways, including through light duty assignments, driving shorter shifts, and applying for non-driving positions within TriMet.
Ballard was unsuccessful in securing other positions or resuming full-time
1 For simplicity, I often refer to defendants TriMet and John Free collectively as TriMet
when describing their briefing and arguments, since Free joins in all of TriMet’s motions.
Ultimately, TriMet terminated Ballard for failing to work 30 days within a 12-month
period, as required by the continuity of service provisions in the applicable collective bargaining agreement. Ballard maintains that TriMet and John Free, TriMet’s workers’ compensation manager, engaged in a concerted effort to deny Ballard opportunities to return to work in retaliation for her invocation of workers’ compensation rights and because of her race. Thus, the resolution of the pending motions depends crucially on understanding the intricacies of TriMet’s workers’ compensation and human resources systems and examining how those systems functioned in Ballard’s case.
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