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A significant failure. That is how the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") has been described by legal scholars and disability advocates alike. The statute was widely expected to help prevent disability discrimination in employment, but it has not fully achieved its intended purpose because of the narrow interpretation of the ADA by the courts. Congress recently sought to restore the employment protections of the ADA by amending the statute. Interpreting the complex and comprehensive amendments to the ADA will be a difficult task for the federal courts. Complicating matters further, the proper pleading standard for disability claims was left in disarray after the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions in 2007 in Twombly v. Bell Atlantic Corp., and in 2009 in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, which altered fifty years of federal pleading precedent by extending the plausibility standard to all civil matters. This Article examines the impact of the Bell Atlantic decision on ADA claims and proposes a unified analytical framework for alleging disability discrimination that satisfies recent case law, the ADA amendments, and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The proposed model would streamline the pleading process for disability claims and provide a blueprint for litigants and courts in analyzing cases under the revised ADA.


Republished with permission from Boston College Law Review.