Court holds that employer owes no duty to narcoleptic contractor
Gregory Fayz suffered from narcolepsy and sleep apnea. He was involved in four car accidents that resulted from drowsiness and slow reation time. He had worked since 1990 for a group of related companies as an "independent contractor" providing cleaning services. He adapted to his illness by relying on others to drive him to and from cleaning locations. In August of 2008, he was ordered by one of his owner-contractors to immediately return and finish a cleaning job at Willow Run Airport and then run an errand to deliver equipment to another location. When he complained of tiredness, he was allegedly told to follow instructions or be fired.
Fayz left for Willow Run but fell asleep en route and was badly hurt in a car accident on the way. He sued the employing contractor, arguing that the "drive or quit" instruction violated a duty of reasonable care, given Fayz's disability. In an all-too-familiar Judge Henry Saad move, the Court gratuitously threw into its opinion the fact that Fayz had been incarcerated at some time between 2001 and 2003, before ruling that the employing contractor owed him no duty to accommodate his illness.
The Court based its decision on the Judges' conclusion that Fayz's accident was not "foreseeable." Despite his nearly 18 years of service, there was no "special relationship" that would make the owner's demand unreasonable. The Court affirmed the trial judge's summary disposition of the lawsuit.