Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Dec. 17, 2013, 9:44am

TEXARKANA - A visually impaired government employee has filed a discrimination lawsuit claiming he was terminated because of his birth defect.

Trinity Courtney filed suit against Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the United States Social Security Administration, on Dec. 9 in the Eastern District of Texas, Texarkana Division.

Courtney, a 37-year-old male, was hired by the defendant in July 2009 as a Social Insurance Specialist. At the time of his hire, he suffered from a genetic birth defect of visual impairment.

When he was hired, he claims he was informed that his appointment was for a two-year period and if completed satisfactorily, he would be appointed to a career/career conditional appointment.

According to the lawsuit, Courtney had a new supervisor appointed in January 2011, who allegedly referred to him as the “blind guy.”

He alleges the supervisor stated she was promoted to her position in order to get rid of Courtney.

Courtney claims he was discriminated against by the new supervisor and claims he was treated less favorably than non-disabled employees. He was terminated on June 17, 2011.

The defendant is accused of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages for back pay, front pay, damage to reputation, mental pain and mental anguish, interest, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and court costs.

Courtney is represented by Gregg M. Rosenberg of Rosenberg & Sprovach in Houston.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider is assigned to the case.

Case No. 5:13-cv-00126

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