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|ADA impairment need not be
permanent or have long-term effects
Shields v. Credit One Bank
(9th Cir 05/06/2022)
Sent to Custom Alerts™ subscribers on 05/06/2022
Circuit held that in order to be substantially limiting, an
impairment need not involve permanent or long-term effects.
Kate Shields alleged that she underwent a bone biopsy surgery
of her right shoulder and arm, and due to the substantial physical
impact of the biopsy surgery itself, she was unable to return to
work for several months.
Shields claimed her former
employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by
failing to accommodate her disability and instead terminating her
from her human resources job after she underwent the biopsy.
The trial court dismissed the case, saying that Shields failed
to plead a "disability" because an impairment is not substantially
limiting unless it involves "permanent or long-term effects."
The 9th Circuit reversed. In order to be substantially
limiting, an impairment need not involve permanent or long-term
The court applied the ADA Amendments Act of 2008
and regulations issued in 2011.
The court concluded that
Shields pleaded facts plausibly establishing that she had a
physical impairment both during an immediate post-surgical period
and during an extension period in which her surgeon concluded that
her injuries had not sufficiently healed to permit her to return
The court also concluded that the activities that
Shields pleaded she was unable to perform qualified as “major life
activities,” which include caring for oneself, performing manual
tasks, lifting, and working.
Finally, her complaint
adequately alleged that Shields’s impairment substantially limited
her ability to perform at least one major life activity.
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