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Notable Cases

AKW Law Wins $6.8M Verdict for Disability Discrimination Case in Federal Court


Seattle, WA

Attorney in Charge:

Ada Ko Wong

FedEx Freight Inc. must pay more than $6.85 million to a former employee who was forced out of the company because of his disability. A federal district court jury found FedEx refused to let the employee work because he spoke up against disability discrimination. He protested the company’s rejection of its medical examiner’s opinion that he was physically qualified to drive despite a knee condition. The case is believed to be one of the first jury trials conducted entirely via Zoom, the videoconferencing platform. Federal courts have been shuttered since March due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Plaintiff was represented by attorneys Ada K. Wong and Jordan T. Wada of AKW LAW, P.C. and Beth Bloom of Bloom Law, PLLC. Plaintiff Dave Goldstine worked as a long-distance truck driver with FedEx Freight based in Everett, Washington. When he revealed knee limitations arising from a series of knee surgeries, the company removed him from driving pending a medical evaluation. But when the medical examiner found Goldstine safe to drive, FedEx would not return him to work. Witnesses testified the company was concerned by Goldstine’s vocal opposition to disability discrimination including a request to bring in a lawyer to negotiate his return. After more than 100 days without pay or response from FedEx, Goldstine found other work and did not return.

Witnesses testified FedEx managers jumped to conclusions about Goldstine’s limitations and refused to accept his repeated statements that his knee condition did not prevent him from working. FedEx argued its treatment of Goldstine was no different than any other employee. The jury disagreed.

State and federal disability laws require employers to let disabled employees work when they can safely do the job. The Department of Transportation regulates the physical qualifications for truck drivers but leaves medical decisions to the discretion of approved medical examiners.

As a result of being forced out of a job, Goldstine lost his income and his health insurance. Then a cancer diagnosis in September 2019 delayed necessary treatment because he could not afford care. The jury deliberated for about 2.5 days before reaching a unanimous verdict.

On November 16, 2020, the jury awarded $101,743 in economic damages and $1,750,000 in compensatory damages. In addition, the jury directed FedEx to pay $5,000,000 in punitive damages.

Lead counsel Ada K. Wong said, “What FedEx Freight did to Mr. Goldstine was awful. They kept him out of work because of assumptions and fears about his impairment. The jury sent a loud message today that even the rich and powerful cannot get away with breaking disability laws.”

“I am relieved that the jury heard my case and enforced the law,” Goldstine said. “I brought this lawsuit because I want everyone to know that disabled employees are worthy of the same opportunities to work. My knee condition has slowed me down but it has never kept me from working as a truck driver,” he added. “All I wanted was a fair chance to prove myself.”

“The verdict is a tremendous victory for our community and for our client who courageously refused to be treated as less deserving because of his physical limitations,” said Bloom.

The trial team expressed appreciation for the careful consideration of the jurors who stayed committed to the 8-day trial conducted by the United States District Court for Western District of Washington in Seattle.

This is not the first rebuke of FedEx’s treatment of disabled workers. FedEx Ground agreed to pay $3.3 million to settle another disability discrimination suit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission earlier this year.

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Client Reviews

5 / 5

Ada and her team were always there to answer any question I had throughout the entire process. They helped me through the most difficult time of my life and always made me feel at ease. Everything was handled extremely professionally. Ada knows what she's doing! And her paralegal Kaila is amazing!


5 / 5

Ada and her team are amazing! It felt like they not only cared about my case but my wellbeing as well. Ada took the time and patience with my case. If I didn't understand something her and her team explained it to me clearly and concisely. She also kept my cost low as well.


5 / 5

I had an outstanding experience working with Mrs. Wong. Her meticulous attention to detail, clear communication, and strategic approach set her apart. She not only demonstrated exceptional legal expertise but also provided customed approach, making the entire process more manageable. I highly recommend Mrs. Wong's legal services for anyone in need of top-notch legal consultation.


5 / 5

Ada, Kaila and the AKW Team have been a pleasure to work with. They provide their clients the highest level of advocacy, and are committed to guiding clients through the typically stressful and overwhelming process of a personal injury claim with compassion and patience. Can't recommend this team enough.


5 / 5

Ada is one of the best lawyer in King County. Her team was amazing from day one and always respectful. She was easy to get a hold of by phone or email. Ada is super knowledgeable on the law, and always broke it down for me to understand. I can’t thank Ada and the whole team at AKW law for helping me through my case.


5 / 5

My wife and I consulted with Ms. Wong on an employment issue. She was patient and empathetic while providing us with helpful advice. We would not hesitate to reach out to Ms. Wong and her team for our future legal needs.


5 / 5

Ada and her team are phenomenal!! I would highly recommend. They are professional, honest, responsive and overall great to work with. They talked me through every step and provided great emotional support. I am forever grateful for all their hard work!!! I was impressed with how they handled my case and how hard they fought. Thank you AKW Law!!


5 / 5

I used AKW law's services while starting up my small business. The attorney Ada and her paralegal Kaila were very friendly, responsive, and helpful throughout the entire process. Ada helped my business partner and I find gaps in our knowledge and prompted us to consider important business aspects that we would not have recognized otherwise. Once we had made our major business plans and decisions, she worked quickly to finalize and file our paperwork which made it possible for us to meet our short timeline. I would highly recommend them to anyone beginning a small business!


5 / 5

Ada was very sympathetic to my situation and was thoughtful about cost, time, and overall impact. I am very grateful for all that she did for me. I was in a horrible situation and she navigated it brilliantly. I would not hesitate to use her for legal council at any time. In fact, I personally miss her as she was always easy and lovely to be around.


5 / 5

Ada and her team are the best, they made my very stressful and emotional situation as painless as possible. I felt like I was in the best hands possible and that my best interest was top priority. I hope to never have to recommend Ada to anyone, but if anyone needs her services I would trust them with no one else.


5 / 5

Ada and team did a great job with my case resolving it swiftly and satisfactorily, with an outcome better than I anticipated.


5 / 5

My company consulted with AKW about some issue we faced. They were excellent- very timely responses, and went out of their way to help us get to a resolution.



"The law is reason in free form."


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