Bragdon V. Abbott 524 (1998): Case Study

2313 Words10 Pages
Introduction Bragdon v Abbott 524 U.S. 624 (1998) is a case concerning a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This act was created in response to individuals with disabilities’ demands for an act to protect them from discrimination and grant them equal rights similar to the rights allocated to African Americans and minorities with the Civil Rights Act (Colker, 2005). It is an extremely broad bill that protects individuals with disabilities from a myriad of issues. Previous to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the first form of legislation that granted rights to individuals with disabilities began in the 1970s but was relatively ineffective. Then in the 1988s in the wake of an insensitive comment made towards individuals with…show more content…
Such a discrimination case is Bragdon v Abbott, where an individual female Sydney Abbott claimed her dentist Randon Bragdon had discriminated against her by refusing in-office treatment to her due to the fact that she had asymptomatic HIV. There are two questions the Court is determining, however I will only be focusing on the issue of HIV as a disability. There are two main issues with determination of disability in this case that the Court adjudicated upon for this question. The first being whether HIV is a disability according to the ADA when it is asymptomatic. The second issue is whether reproduction constitutes a “major life activity” since “the statute is not operative unless the impairment affects a major life activity” (case section 2). The Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals and held that HIV, even when asymptomatic, is considered a disability under the ADA (last paragraph of case). They also held that reproduction is a major life activity. However a huge issue that was not named nor solved in this case is in regards to the protection of all individuals with asymptomatic HIV. This case merely resolved this issue for a specific person and not for the HIV infected population as a whole. I assert that the lack of setting a precedent for all individuals infected with HIV as individuals…show more content…
Ms. Abbott had gone to her dentist, Randon Bragdon, for a dental examination. She had disclosed on the office’s questionnaire form that she had been infected with HIV. During her routine examination Mr. Bragdon discovered Ms. Abbott had a cavity. He then disclosed to Ms. Abbott that his policy on filling cavities on patients with HIV was to perform this procedure at a hospital at no extra office charge, but the patient would be responsible for covering the use of the hospital costs. Ms. Abbott determined this was a discriminatory practice based on her disability and that this violated the Americans with Disabilities Act Section 302, “No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who…operates a place of public accommodation (§12182(a))”. As such she sued under this provision as well as under state law. As mentioned in the introduction, one of the main questions in this case is whether “HIV infection is a disability under the ADA when the infection has not yet progressed to the so-called symptomatic phase” (Kennedy opinion page 1). The second question at hand was whether Abbott’s HIV posed a “direct threat to the health and safety of her treating

    More about Bragdon V. Abbott 524 (1998): Case Study

      Open Document