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Sometimes a Headache is Just a Headache

Hopefully serving as a sign that courts will not regard the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) as license to find every complaint or condition a “disability” under the ADAAA, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recently held that a plaintiff who was diagnosed with migraine headaches was not “disabled” under the ADAAA.  The plaintiff experienced migraines and admitted that she could suffer through them, drive herself to the office, and stay at work while experiencing a migraine, but at night, she would get home and “crash and burn” and was unable to care for herself in the evenings.  The court was not impressed with the “crash and burn” theory and held that the plaintiff did not adequately explain how her evenings were any different from the average person’s ability to care for his or herself at home after a day at work.  The court did not declare that migraines can never be a disability, but did make clear that migraines are not an automatic disability.  Allen v. Southcrest Hospital, No. 11-5016, (10th Cir. Dec. 21, 2011).

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