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December 29, 2014 • joedolson

A plaintiff’s declarations that her medical impairment led to her limitations were insufficient to defeat her employer’s summary judgment motion because she failed to provide “proper evidence that any limitation she many have is caused by” her medical impairment, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled (emphasis in original). Expert testimony to establish causation was required, the court said. Felkins v. City of Lakewood (10th Cir, December 19, 2014).

In her opposition to her employer’s motion, the plaintiff stated that she had avascular necrosis, which, she said, substantially impaired her major bodily functions of normal cell growth and normal blood circulation and also substantially affected her ability to lift, walk, and stand. “Clearly, her avascular necrosis was an ADA disability,” she argued.

In affirming summary judgment for the employer, the court held that expert testimony was needed to establish that the plaintiff had the medical condition she alleged and that it substantially limited at least one of the major life activities she had identified. Her own declaration–lay evidence–was inadmissible in court and insufficient to defeat her employer’s motion for summary judgment, the court said.

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