Mr. Littleton is currently twenty-nine-years-old and at a young age was diagnosed with mental retardation. He applied for a job as a cart pusher, also known as a courtesy associate, at Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart claimed that they did not hire Mr. Littleton because in one of his interviews he stated that he did not like to be around people.
To prove discrimination in Wal-Mart's hiring practices Mr. Littleton had to show he i) had a disability, ii) was qualified for the job, and iii) was discriminated against because of his disability. To meet the definition of disability, Littleton had to show he i) had a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, ii) had a record of such, or iii) was regarded as having such an impairment.
The U.S. Supreme Court has not included thinking, communicating, and social interaction as major life activities; however, some district courts have included them and three circuit courts (1st, 9th, and 10th) have found that social interaction is a major life activity. Littleton asserted he was substantially limited in the major life activities of learning, thinking, communicating, social interaction, and working. Because Mr. Littleton did not raise the limitations of thinking and communicating previously (in district court), the Court of Appeals did not consider whether these limitations qualify as major like activities.
In contrast, when Mr. Littleton's job coach was asked if Mr. Littleton would need any additional coaching due to his disability, the job coach compared his need for further and consistent instruction to that of an eight-year-old learning something for the first time.
This would require Mr. Littleton show he is, "significantly restricted in the ability to perform either a class of jobs or a broad range of jobs as compared to an average personís training, skills, and abilities." However, Mr. Littletonís mother and employment coordinator testified that he could do any job.
Consequently, because Mr. Littleton did not prove he has a disability under the ADA the court did not consider whether Wal-Mart's failure to hire him was discrimination.
Thus, the Court of Appeals upheld the district court decision granting summary judgment in favor of Wal-Mart Stores.
Mr. Littleton asked the Supreme Court to review his case, and on July 31, 2007, petitioned for a writ of certiorari with a response due August 31, 2007. If the Court grants the writ it will hear the case and request the case record of the lower courts. The writ gives the higher court the ability to review the entire record before hearing oral arguments from the attorneys. However, if the Court decides not to hear the case, then the decision of the circuit court stands.