Winning and Losing Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

40 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2001

See all articles by Ruth Colker

Ruth Colker

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law


This article - a sequel to Professor Colker's article, The Americans with Disabilities Act: A Windfall for Defendants - analyzes appellate employment discrimination decisions in ADA cases that are available on Westlaw. She compares ADA judicial outcomes to those under other statutes, and suggests that ADA outcomes are more pro-defendant than outcomes under other civil rights statutes. She entertains and rejects one hypothesis for this result - that the ADA is a new statute experiencing an early period of judicial uncertainty. Having determined that judicial uncertainty has not been a factor in predicting ADA appellate outcomes, she uses a logistic regression analysis to determine what factors do predict ADA appellate outcomes. She concludes that the most important predictors of success by plaintiffs appear to be EEOC participation, being represented by counsel, and the circuit in which the plaintiff litigated. She found a modest trend toward certain types of disabilities associating with positive outcomes but predicts that those results are likely to disappear, or even reverse, in light of intervening Supreme Court decisions. Surprisingly, she did not find that the theory of disability or whether a plaintiff requested an accommodation was a significant factor in predicting appellate outcome.

Keywords: disability discrimination, employment discrimination, judicial outcomes, empirical research

JEL Classification: J7

Suggested Citation

Colker, Ruth, Winning and Losing Under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Available at SSRN: or

Ruth Colker (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
(614) 292-0900 (Phone)
(614) 292-2035 (Fax)


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics