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A partially blind Pfizer sales rep who can’t drive her car to visit doctors will have her day in court.

In a closely watched case, a federal appeals court last week ruled that Pfizer may have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to provide Whitney Stephenson with a driver and car in 2011 after she lost about 60 percent of her vision in both eyes. The sales rep had argued that the company never expressly required her to drive a car in order to visit doctors and promote Pfizer medicines.


For its part, the drug maker maintained that driving to doctors was an essential function and Stephenson must perform this task personally, according to court records. A lower court had agreed with the drug maker and tossed her case. But the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit disagreed and ruled that a jury should decide whether Pfizer violated federal law. A new court date has not yet been set.

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