Deaf man's case against Hibbing Taconite set for trialby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A deaf man's discrimination lawsuit against Hibbing Taconite Co. is set for trial after a federal judge denied the company's request for an immediate ruling in the case.
James Edstrom and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accuse the company of denying him employment at its mine because he is deaf.
Hibbing Taconite had asked U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle to rule in its favor on the matter before going to trial. But Kyle said this week there is enough evidence suggesting Edstrom's claims should be fully heard.
The judge noted that Edstrom formerly worked at LTV Mining. He has no hearing in one of his ears, but can hear sounds and distinguish some words in his other ear with help from a hearing aid, according to court documents.
"The very fact that he successfully worked at the LTV mine pit is strong evidence that a reasonable accommodation could have been possible," the judge wrote in his order this week, making way for the trial.
Hibbing Taconite had argued that Edstrom was not qualified for the job, and that his deafness could have been a safety threat to other workers.
The case is set for trial in Duluth on July 26.