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Sixth Circuit dismisses ADA claim

Sherry Milholland sued her school district after she was transferred from her job as an Assistant Principal to a classroom position.  Milholland has arthritis, and while she did not believe that she was disabled or handicapped by the condition, she alleged that her supervisors did regard her as disabled.  She alleged that her supervisors twice confirmed that she was transferred in part because of their perception that she was partially disabled by arthritis.

The Sixth Circuit noted that Millholland's change in duty status occurred before the Congress re-wrote the ADA to make it applicable in cases where an employee cannot prove a disability, but the employer acts in a discriminatory manner based on the perception that the employee is disabled.  While such legislative changes are normally given immediate retroactive effect to accomplish the underlying statutory purpose, this panel of the Sixth Circuit declined to apply the change in the law to Milholland's case and ordered the case dismissed, since Millholland could not document that she was a "disabled" person.  The pertinent provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act is located at 42 USC section 12102(2).

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