In 2011, an EEOC Commissioner noted that one aim of the ADAAA was to have the parties “stop obsessing about coverage”, i.e., about who is “disabled,” and move to the merits of the substantive claim.

A Tenth Circuit decision suggests that there is still value in obsessing about ADA coverage. In Allen v. SouthCrest Hospital (10th Cir. 12/21/11), a medical assistant claimed her migraine headaches substantially limited her ability to care for herself and to work. Her employer argued that she was not disabled and the court agreed.

The plaintiff had claimed that she would “crash and burn” when she got home from work with a headache by taking medication and going to sleep, rather than caring for herself. Rejecting this argument, the court held that plaintiff did not present any evidence about how her need to “crash and burn” compared to the average person’s ability to care for herself after work or that will permit a comparison of the effects of her sleep disturbance to those experienced by the average person.

 Also, since plaintiff said her migraines only affected her ability to do her job for one doctor, the court rejected her claim that she was substantially limited in working because her impairment did not prevent her from working in a class or broad range of jobs.