Public Policy Leadership Award
Kapche Litigation Team
The Kapche Litigation Team received the American Diabetes Association’s prestigious 2010 Public Policy Leadership Award in Orlando, Florida. The litigation team includes:
Jeffrey S. Kapche, Katy, Texas
Katherine L. Butler, JD, Houston, Texas
James R. Gavin III, MD, PhD, Fayettesville, Georgia
Desmond A. Schatz, MD, Gainesville, Florida
Ralph A. DeFronzo, MD, San Antonio, Texas
Garin Reetz, Rockwall, Texas
Mr. Kapche has twice won major battles against discrimination on the basis of diabetes, first against the city of San Antonio, which held that no one who uses insulin can serve as a police officer, and now against the FBI. The FBI argued that despite Mr. Kapche’s impeccable record of diabetes management, he wasn’t qualified to be a special agent because he uses multiple injection therapy to manage his diabetes.
Like most discrimination against people with diabetes, this policy was based on a lack of understanding, lumping people with diabetes into categories rather than providing the individual assessment required by the law. And because Mr. Kapche was discriminated against before the new Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act went into place, the government also argued that, despite denying him the job because of his diabetes, he took such good care of himself that he didn’t qualify for protection under anti-discrimination law.
That’s when the “dream team,” which shares this award with Mr. Kapche, came into play—a combination of the finest experts in civil rights, medicine, and graphics working together to explain to a federal court jury why Mr. Kapche was capable of serving his country as an FBI Special Agent. The jury agreed, and on May 20, 2009 they returned a verdict in his favor after a seven-day trial and a five-year struggle.
While Mr. Kapche’s legal battle continues with issues of damages and possible appeals, the stand that the Kapche Team took will help others facing discrimination around the country. This collaboration of lawyers and health care professionals is the essence of why the American Diabetes Association’s legal advocacy efforts have been so successful in combating the discrimination that people with diabetes face at work, at school, and elsewhere in their lives.