In the Courts
What's Happening in the Courts?
- United States Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has decided a number of cases that affect the rights of people with epilepsy and other disabilities. Read key decisions and our analyses of them.
- Other Cases Involving People with Epilepsy from Around the Country
Read our summaries of cases involving people with epilepsy to learn how the courts are applying the federal laws to specific situations.
*As outlined in this section, starting in 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court issued decisions limiting the protections of persons with disabilities under the ADA. In particular, the Court ruled that the ADA does not protect persons with conditions that are controlled with medication or other “mitigating” measures or those whose conditions do not prevent or severely restrict them from engaging in a major life activity (such as walking, seeing or working); based on these decisions, in the large majority of the cases, the lower courts found that people with epilepsy are not covered under the ADA.
The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008, signed into law on September 25, 2008, effectively reversed these Supreme Court decisions. The ADAAA, which became effective on January 1, 2009, greatly expanded the scope of the ADA’s coverage for discriminatory conduct after that date. Under these amendments, the courts will likely find that virtually all people with epilepsy are entitled to protection against discrimination under the ADA. (For more information on the ADAAA, see https://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/epilepsylegal/LegalFactSheets.cfm.) Accordingly, the Supreme Court and lower court rulings discussed in this section which address coverage under the ADA apply only to discrimination occurring prior to January 1, 2009. Note also that some courts have ruled that the ADAAA applies retroactively, that is, to cases in which discrimination occurred before the actual effective date of the law, January 1, 2009. For general information on the rights of persons with epilepsy, see Legal Defense Fund.