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Tag: lawsuit

Justice Department Reaches Agreement with Gates Chili Central School District for ADA Violations

Brown service dog with blue vest The Justice Department reached an agreement with the Gates Chili Central School District in Rochester, New York, to resolve the Department’s lawsuit alleging disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Department’s complaint alleges the School District denied a student with disabilities equal access to school by conditioning her use of a service dog on her parent providing a full-time dog handler, despite the student’s demonstrated ability to control her service dog.

Under the settlement agreement, the School District revised its Service Animal Policy and agreed to provide reasonable modifications to facilitate the use of a service dog by a student with a disability. Such modifications include the types of minimal assistance the School District refused to provide the student in this case, such as helping to tether or untether a service dog, assisting a student to get water for a service dog, and prompting a student to issue commands to a service dog.

Continue reading at: https://www.ada.gov/gateschili/gates-chili_sa.html

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Ridgewood Preparatory School for ADA Violations

Seal of the United States Department of Justice

The Justice Department entered into a settlement agreement with Ridgewood Preparatory School (Ridgewood) under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Ridgewood is a private, nonsectarian school that provides education to children in prekindergarten to twelfth grade. The agreement resolves allegations that Ridgewood violated the ADA by denying a child with spina bifida admission to its pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs on the basis of his disability, failing to reasonably modify its policies, practices, and procedures to enable the child to access the school’s programs, and failing to ensure that its buildings and facilities are accessible to people with disabilities. The Department’s investigation found that the school, among other things, had inaccessible doors, walkways, and bathrooms.

The three-year agreement requires Ridgewood to offer two years of tuition-free enrollment to the child and, upon enrollment, provide him with reasonable modifications. Ridgewood will also modify its facilities to make them accessible to individuals with disabilities, revise its policies to ensure compliance with the ADA, train relevant staff, and pay a $1,000 civil penalty to the United States.

Continue reading at https://www.ada.gov/ridgewood_prep_sa.html.

MTA Plan Expands List of NY Subway Stations to get Accessibility Improvements

Subway station with stairs

Accessibility and compliance with the ADA was front and center for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in 2019. With as many as four lawsuits challenging the MTA’s subway accessibility record the MTA has been working to correct the situation. In a series of announcements the MTA, the largest public transit authority in the United States, has expanded on its original accessibility improvement plan.

On April 20, 2018: “The MTA Board approved a capital plan amendment today that significantly increases the agency’s investment in ADA accessibility projects as part of the 2015-2019 MTA capital plan.”

On September 19, 2019: “MTA Commuter Railroads Announce the Addition of 11 ADA-Accessible Stations as Part of 2020-2024 Capital Plan”

Most recently on December 19, 2019: “MTA Announces 20 Additional Subway Stations to Receive Accessibility Improvements Under Proposed 2020-2024 Capital Plan”

Public transportation is a major resource for people of all abilities and with our aging population it is sure to see even greater demand in the years to come. Funding such long term initiatives is frequently a challenge. A challenge the MTA is taking head on, setting a foundation for a more inclusive and accessible public transportation in the future.

Sources: MTA Press Releases
http://www.mta.info/press-release/mta-headquarters/mta-board-approves-additional-funding-subway-station-ada
http://www.mta.info/press-release/mta-headquarters/mta-commuter-railroads-announce-addition-11-ada-accessible-stations
http://www.mta.info/press-release/mta-headquarters/mta-announces-20-additional-subway-stations-receive-accessibility

Accessibility In Design

Interior of Hunters Point Library New and grand public buildings often open to great fanfare. Typically well received, they offer new and modern solutions to the needs of the organizations and people who use them. However, Universal Design doesn’t always get the attention it deserves in what some might call function following form. The Americans with Disabilities Act has been law for many years, It is reasonable to expect modern public buildings to be free of obvious accessibility oversights. Unfortunately this expectation is not always met. The much anticipated Queens Public Library at Hunters Point is one such case, and unfortunately the oversight has lead to a lawsuit.

“The class action lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, argues that the lack of accessibility amounts to a violation of the three-decade-old legislation known as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, newly constructed public and commercial buildings must meet accessibility standards.”

While opening difficulties are not uncommon for new buildings, situations like this serve as a stark reminder to civic and business leaders that compliance with accessibility laws are a minimum standard. Much can be done to go above and beyond the minimum requirements to create truly inclusive, accessible and welcoming environments.

Source: Lack Of Handicap Accessibility At Flashy New Hunters Point Library Sparks Lawsuit
By: Elizabeth Kim Nov. 26, 2019 1:32 P.M.
https://gothamist.com/news/lack-handicap-accessibility-flashy-new-hunters-point-library-sparks-lawsuit

New York City Settlement requires survey of 162,000 sidewalk curbs

vehicles traveling on road near buildings during daytime in New York City

Photo by Toni Osmundson on Unsplash

Accessible public right-of-ways are good for everyone. Gentle slopes, well defined landings and wide smooth pathways are all convenient for the able user. However, for some, they are more than convenient, they provide a path to independence that would otherwise be unattainable.  

In New York City, municipal administrators are starting important work to identify inaccessible sidewalks and curbs, and integrate them into a remediation plan. This work follows the resolution to two lawsuits. “U.S. District Court Judge George B. Daniels gave the final approval of a class action settlement resolving two separate lawsuits—the first filed by the United Spinal Association and the second by the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY)—and establishing a plan that will require citywide surveys of all ramps and identify which corners need curb cuts installed or upgraded.”

ADA compliance issues and lawsuits are becoming more common by the day. Municipalities have a choice to be proactive and move toward compliance and inclusiveness, or become the targets of lawsuits and DOJ investigations.

Source:
City to make more sidewalk curbs accessible
Lizeth Beltran, Crain’s New York Business  
July 23, 2019

https://www.crainsnewyork.com/transportation/city-make-more-sidewalk-curbs-accessible

 

Courts Rule Subway Station Accessibility Lawsuit Can Proceed

Public transit is a major resources for senior citizens and those with disabilities to get around without having to rely on care givers or private transportation services. That is one of the key reasons public transit must be made accessible to them. Recently, the New York Supreme Court ruled that a lawsuit against inaccessible subways stations could proceed. The judge presiding over the case ruled that there was substantial evidence that people with disabilities were being discriminated in public spaces. According to the plaintiff, only 25% of the subways system’s 472 stations provide elevator access. This case is just one of many against public transit systems that have failed to remediate access barriers to their buses and mass transit vehicles.

Public transit is a major resources for senior citizens and those with disabilities to get around without having to rely on care givers or private transportation services. That is one of the key reasons public transit must be made accessible to them. Recently, the New York Supreme Court ruled that a lawsuit against inaccessible subways stations could proceed. The judge presiding over the case ruled that there was substantial evidence that people with disabilities were being discriminated against in public spaces. According to the plaintiff, only 25% of the subway system’s 472 stations provide elevator access. This case is just one of many against public transit systems that have failed to remediate access barriers to their buses and mass transit vehicles.

Source:
Subway station accessibility lawsuit against MTA can proceed
Vincent Barone, AM New York
June 5, 2019
https://www.amny.com/transit/subway-accessibility-nyc-1.32021995

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