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As ADA Nears 23rd Anniversary, NCD Assesses Impact of 2008's ADA Amendments Act

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 23, 2013

WASHINGTON – Today, the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency, released a report titled “A Promising Start: Preliminary Analysis of Court Decisions Under the ADA Amendments Act,” which reviews the court decisions that have been rendered to date applying the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) and reveals significant improvements in how courts are interpreting protections intended for coverage under the ADA.

NCD’s report offers 23 findings and three recommendations based on an analysis of court decisions made under the ADAAA by examining decisions rendered under ADA amendments that were agreed on across both sides of the aisle in Congress. Using this measure, it is clear that the ADAAA has made a significant positive difference for plaintiffs in ADA lawsuits thus far.

For example, in six of the seven Circuit Court decisions in which the provisions of the ADAAA were applied, the plaintiff prevailed on establishing a disability; and in the district court decisions analyzed plaintiffs prevailed on the showing of disability in more than three out of four decisions – a promising start and a substantial improvement over pre-ADAAA decisions under the broad scope of coverage under the ADA that Congress intended.  However, many cases are still dismissed on procedural grounds before the alleged discriminatory conduct of the employer is ever addressed. In an attempt to correct this concern, NCD’s report includes recommendations on guidance and technical assistance to address some of these procedural issues.

“Thorough review of case law in the decisions rendered to date strongly affirms the positive difference the ADAAA has made for plaintiffs in discrimination cases,” said Jeff Rosen, NCD Chairperson. “While the possibility of undermining the intent of Congress when passing the ADA amendments five years ago remains, what we have seen thus far demonstrates a definite improvement over previous case law.”

NCD will host an ADA anniversary event and policy briefing to recall the path to bipartisan support and passage of the ADAAA in addition to highlighting findings of the new report. The event will take place from 1:00 – 2:30 PM Eastern in 2226 Rayburn House Office Building. No registration or RSVP is required but seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

A copy of the report is available online at:

An official website of the National Council on Disability