Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Fourth Division
from the Circuit Court of Cole County The Honorable Jon E.
Before: Karen King Mitchell, C.J., and Alok Ahuja and Anthony
Rex Gabbert, JJ.
Folsom sued his former employer, the Missouri State Highway
Patrol, and his Highway Patrol supervisor, Major Sarah
Eberhard (collectively "the Highway Patrol"), in
the Circuit Court of Cole County. Folsom claimed that the
Highway Patrol discriminated against him on the basis of his
disability (post-traumatic stress disorder) when it
terminated his employment as a Trooper. Folsom alleged that
the Highway Patrol's actions violated the Missouri Human
Rights Act, chapter 213, RSMo.
circuit court granted summary judgment to the Highway Patrol.
Folsom appeals. He contends that summary judgment was
inappropriate because there was a genuine issue of material
fact whether the Highway Patrol should have offered him an
alternative position in which he was capable of working, as a
reasonable accommodation for his disability. We conclude that
Folsom failed to present a genuine factual issue whether an
alternative position was available which would have
accommodated the highly restrictive conditions under which he
was able to work. We accordingly affirm the circuit
court's grant of summary judgment to the Patrol.
was employed as a Trooper with the Highway Patrol starting in
January 1997. Folsom was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress
disorder ("PTSD") after he was involved in a
work-related shooting in 2000. In September 2012, when Folsom
had the rank of sergeant and was a criminal investigator with
the Highway Patrol, he was involved in a second work-related
shooting. This second shooting incident exacerbated his PTSD.
Folsom did not return to work at the Patrol after the 2012
shooting. Once he used up his available leave time,
Folsom's employment with the Highway Patrol was
terminated in December 2014.
testified that he asked for an accommodation for his PTSD in
late 2012 and in 2013, but was told by his supervisors that
if he could not perform his duties as a Trooper, no other
accommodation would be made for him.
the 2012 shooting, Folsom saw a series of mental health
professionals, each of whom concluded that he was incapable
of performing his former duties with the Highway Patrol.
First, Folsom saw Dr. Steven Akeson, a clinical psychologist.
On January 21, 2013, following his third session with Folsom,
Dr. Akeson noted that "[a]t this time it is my opinion
that [Folsom] is not yet ready to return to work." Dr.
Akeson did, however, note that "[a] graduated return to
work related duties would be anticipated but more specific
limitations would depend on progress."
December 2013, Dr. David Lutz, a clinical psychologist,
conducted a fitness for duty evaluation on Folsom at the
request of the Highway Patrol. During the examination, Dr.
Lutz noted that Folsom,
would have great difficulty returning to his job in a safe
and effective manner. He had made it clear that he will not
put himself in such a situation [where use of a firearm might
be required] again. The fact that he has gone through two
shooting incidents heightens his vulnerability for symptoms
even further. If he were [to] return to his job, he likely
would put himself and others at risk. The job description
contains statements such as, "Ability to function
effectively in high-pressure and stressful situations."
[Folsom] would not be able to function effectively in such a
situation, as his symptoms, including hypervigilance and
hyperresponsiveness, are likely to be reactivated even more
Lutz concluded that Folsom "is not psychologically
capable of returning to his job with the Missouri State
2014, Folsom met with Dr. Wayne Stillings. According to Dr.
Stillings' report, Folsom told him that because of his
experience in the two prior shooting incidents, "he will
never work in law enforcement again. Because his PTSD gives
him false signals of being under threat, he is fearful of
pulling a gun and shooting someone when they are merely
reaching into their back pocket for a wallet, etc."
October and December 2014, Dr. Edwin Wolfgram interviewed
Folsom. In his report, Dr. Wolfgram indicated that Folsom
would not be able: "to understand, remember, and carry
out simple instructions"; "to make judgments that
are commensurate with the functions of unskilled work - i.e.,
simple work related decisions"; "to respond
appropriately to supervision, coworkers and usual ...