5th Circuit: ADA Standard of Proof is "Motivating Factor"

Both the Developments in EEO Law Blog and Jottings of an Employer's Lawyer had coverage last week of a recent Fifth Circuit decision finally putting a steak through the heart of the tired old "sole cause" standard of causation in cases under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act. The case is Pinkerton v. Paige and in holding that the standard is the same in both cases, the court stated:

"[u]nder a plain reading of the statute, and in accord with the position of other circuits, we conclude that the "sole causation" standard is not the appropriate standard for ADA claims. We hold that under a straightforward reading of the statute, the "motivating factor" test should be applied to ADA claims."

While the court's ultimate opinion is not surprising, it is nice to have it set forth in black and white. As the case itself illustrated, trial judges were still forcing litigants to go to trial with what was clearly the wrong standard and defense lawyers felt the need to argue it in every case as long as there was any question at all remaining in the circuit's jurisprudence.

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