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Reopening Access to the Courts for People with Disabilities

By Barry C. Taylor & Rachel M. Weisberg

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act of 2008 restored the broad definition of “disability” found in the ADA and narrowed by courts over the years. The Act clarifies that episodic or in-remission impairments can be disabilities, prevents courts from considering a person’s mitigating measures when determining whether a person’s impairment “substantially limits a major life activity,” and explains the protections for people who are “regarded as” having a substantial limitation in a major life activity. The amendments list examples of such “major life activities” and include among them a number of “major bodily functions.”

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