Prevalence and Outcomes of Ada Employment Discrimination Claims in the Federal Courts

Mental & Physical Disability Law Reporter, Vol. 29, p. 303, May/June 2005

23 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2005

See all articles by Kathryn Moss

Kathryn Moss

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research

Michael Darren Ullman

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jeffrey W. Swanson

Duke University - Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Leah M. Ranney

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research

Scott Burris

Center for Public Health Law Research, Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Abstract

Context: The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was expected to decrease discrimination against and to increase the well-being of people with disabilities. The tendency of court decisions to limit rights under the ADA has been widely reported, but there have been no large-scale studies of court utilization and the overall pattern of outcomes.

Objective: This paper reports the national prevalence and outcomes of ADA employment discrimination lawsuits filed in federal court in the decade after the ADA's passage.

Design, Setting, and Cases: A two-stage stratified quasi-random sampling procedure was used to identify 8,777 ADA employment discrimination lawsuits in 16 federal district courts that were filed between January 1, 1993 and March 31, 2001 was screened; 4,114 ADA Title I cases were reviewed.

Main Outcome Measure: Receiving a benefit from filing an ADA Title I lawsuit, defined as a court ruling in favor of the plaintiff or a settlement between the parties.

Results: 201,371 Title I claims were eligible to be filed in federal court between 1993 and 2001. Of these, only an estimated 27,724 (13.8%) were actually filed. Title I claims took slightly longer than other civil rights or employment claims to be resolved. Plaintiffs received a beneficial outcome in 62% of cases. Plaintiffs benefited primarily through settlement, while defendants won 97% of the cases that were decided by a judge or jury. Attorney representation doubled plaintiffs' chances of benefiting.

Conclusions: Published case decisions create a misleading impression of ADA outcomes. ADA lawsuits benefit most people who file them. However, the low rate of filing and the importance of having a lawyer raise concerns about the ability of those experiencing discrimination to file claims or get legal services.

Keywords: disability, health, policy, law, ADA, employment, discrimination

JEL Classification: I18, I12, I10, K32, K31, K30, J71, J78

Suggested Citation

Moss, Kathryn and Ullman, Michael Darren and Swanson, Jeffrey W. and Ranney, Leah M. and Burris, Scott C., Prevalence and Outcomes of Ada Employment Discrimination Claims in the Federal Courts. Mental & Physical Disability Law Reporter, Vol. 29, p. 303, May/June 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=766264

Kathryn Moss (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research ( email )

725 Airport Road, CB# 7590
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7590
United States
919-966-0601 (Phone)
919-966-3811 (Fax)

Michael Darren Ullman

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Jeffrey W. Swanson

Duke University - Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27715
United States

Leah M. Ranney

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research ( email )

725 Airport Road, CB# 7590
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7590
United States

Scott C. Burris

Center for Public Health Law Research, Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215-204-6576 (Phone)
215-204-1185 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.phlr.org

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