Breen v. Carlsbad Municipal Schools
133 N.M. 618 (Ct. App. 2003)

Facts:

  • In August 1999, the WCJ entered compensation orders awarding temporary total disability benefits to Workers Breen and Carrasco for injuries that resulted in temporary total disability due to a conditioned psychological response to odors and dust.
  • They argued that they were entitled to more than the 100 weeks of compensation that they were awarded and that this failure was violative of the ADA.
    • Mental impairments were treated differently than physical impairments.

Issue:
Whether New Mexico’s Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) violates the mandate of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

Holding:
No.

Reasoning:
(1) The ADA does not preempt the WCA because the two have different purposes.
(2) The ADA does not mandate equal treatment between disabled persons. Rather, the ADA mandates equal treatment of disabled persons with non-disabled persons.

Rule: New Mexico’s WCA, which treats persons with mental impairments differently from persons with physical impairments, does not violate the ADA.