"While Congress probably intended to help people with serious handicaps, the unintended
consequence of the [ADA] has been that many people with conditions few
consider to be true handicaps are using the law to gain preferential treatment."
The Rapid 'Progress' of
Progressivism. Not long ago I waited for a flight to board. The plane took off 45 minutes late.
There were only two attendants to accommodate 11 passengers who had requested wheelchair assistance. Such growing efforts to
ensure that the physically challenged can easily fly are certainly welcome. But when our plane landed — late and
in danger of causing many passengers to miss their connecting flights — most of the 11 wheelchair-bound passengers left
their seats unassisted and hurried out. It was almost as if newfound concerns about making connections had somehow improved
their health during the flight. Two passengers had boarded with two dogs each. No doubt the airlines' policy of
allowing an occasional dog on a flight is understandable. But now planes are starting to sound and smell like kennels.
Overcomes Dem Resistance To Letting Wheelchairs On Federal Lands. Democrats tried unsuccessfully Thursday [12/14/2017] to
sink a bill that would allow bikes, game carts, strollers and wheelchairs in federally protected wilderness areas. The legislation,
introduced by GOP Rep. Tom McClintock of California, was passed through the House Natural Resources Committee during a markup on 15
separate bills. McClintock's bill originally gave motorized wheelchairs and many non-motorized, wheeled devices full access to
wilderness areas, but it was amended to allow area's managing agency to reject or restrict the use of certain devices. "Public
lands should be open to all Americans," GOP Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, chairman of the committee, said in a statement. "It is
shocking to see self-proclaimed defenders of public lands in Congress vote to perpetuate a permanent ban on bikers, parents, the disabled,
or certain hunters from accessing public lands."
Cinemark, other movie theaters must provide interpreters for deaf-blind customers, court rules. Federal
disability law requires Plano-based Cinemark and other movie theaters to provide specialized interpreters to patrons who are
deaf and blind, an appeals court said Friday [10/6/2017]. The Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled
against Cinemark, the nation's third-largest movie chain, in a case involving a Pennsylvania man who wanted to see the 2014
movie Gone Girl and asked a Cinemark theater in Pittsburgh to supply a "tactile interpreter." The theater denied
his request. The plaintiff, Paul McGann, is a movie enthusiast who reads American Sign Language through touch. He
uses a method of tactile interpretation that involves placing his hands over the hands of an interpreter who uses sign
language to describe the movie's action, dialogue and even the audience response.
Disabled by Government.
A third threat to free speech at University of California, Berkeley has led to more censorship than political rioters or
college administrators. It's the Americans with Disabilities Act. Berkeley is expensive. Out of state
students must pay $60,000 a year. But for five years, Berkeley generously posted 20,000 of its professors' lectures
online. Anyone could watch them for free. Then government regulators stepped in.
handicapped New Yorkers are behind hundreds of lawsuits. Five New Yorkers in wheelchairs are behind nearly 400
lawsuits brought against small businesses for lacking handicap access. Such legal claims have been criticized as part
of a "cottage industry" of "serial plaintiffs" who target mom-and-pop establishments for quick cash settlements. But
others see the suits as helping enforce the American with Disabilities Act. Wheelchair ramps and bathroom doors are not
the only battleground. Two blind New Yorkers have taken the fight online, filing a combined 23 suits against business
Web sites that didn't have screen-reading software for the visually impaired. And a woman cited seven businesses for
not allowing her service dog inside.
Related story about an experience in England: Muslim
taxi driver sacked for refusing blind couple and guide dog 'because of religion'. In a shocking incident
captured on mobile phone footage, the Leicester-based taxi driver outright refused to accept Charles Bloch, his girlfriend
Jessica Graham and his guide dog Carlo. The couple, who are both registered blind after being born with visual
impairments, were shocked when their booked ADT Taxis driver refused to give them a lift. Mr Bloch, a student at
De Montfort University, said in the video: "By law you can't deny us. It's against the Disability Act of 1995."
Privilege and the Americans with Disabilities Act. There is a lot behind the Obama administration's diktat to
public schools requiring them to treat transgender students in accord with claimed gender identity. The administration
is pandering to radical LGBT activism, attempting to expand federal and especially executive power, continuing the left's
ongoing ideological war against American tradition, and cynically manipulating the Democratic base on behalf of Hillary
Clinton. The Administration has preposterously tried to defend its coercive "guidance" to local school districts as
analogous to federal enforcement operations during the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, the
rationales and means employed bear a closer resemblance to the use and misuse of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
since its passage in 1990, by disability activist groups and wealthy and influential plaintiffs' lawyers. It's a case
of the regulatory state simply picking and choosing rationales from smorgasbord of "rights" statutes to dictate to the people.
[A]n increasing number of your neighbors have been keeping company with their pets in human-only
establishments, cohabiting with them in animal-unfriendly apartment buildings and dormitories, and
taking them (free!) onto airplanes — simply by claiming that the creatures are their
licensed companion animals and are necessary to their mental well-being. No government agency keeps
track of such figures, but in 2011 the National Service Animal Registry, a commercial enterprise
that sells certificates, vests, and badges for helper animals, signed up twenty-four hundred
emotional-support animals. Last year, it registered eleven thousand.
amputee continues legal spree by suing Ralph Lauren. Zoltan Hirsch — a double amputee
in a wheelchair dubbed "Hell on Wheels" by The Post in 2011 after he filed 87 federal claims in one year against
city businesses, arguing they were not wheelchair-accessible — is continuing his campaign.
Hirsch last month sued Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply at 99 University Place, claiming he suffered injury
because, according to papers filed in US District Court, he "continues to be discriminated against due to the
architectural barriers." The Brooklyn resident, who lost his legs in a car accident 10 years ago,
previously hit a vast array of businesses ranging from a Brooklyn Dunkin' Donuts to Midtown's Lace strip
club, Soho's Louis Vuitton and even a pedicure spa in Soho.
Serial Plaintiff Alfredo
Garcia Deported to Mexico. Alfredo Garcia, a notorious serial plaintiff, convicted
felon and undocumented immigrant, has been deported to Mexico. Garcia made it his business to sue
small businesses, filing more than 800 lawsuits against businesses in the Los Angeles area for
alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Garcia hasn't held a job since he fell
out of an avocado tree while he was drinking and high on cocaine about 18 years ago. Garcia's
back was broken, his spinal cord severed. Since then, he's made a living off these lawsuits.
moves to require services in movie theaters for the blind and deaf. The Justice
Department moved Friday [7/25/2014] to open up the nation's cinemas to the visually and hearing
impaired with a slate of draft regulations requiring movie theaters to offer closed captioning and
audio description technology. "This proposed rule will allow all Americans, including those with
disabilities, to fully participate in the moviegoing experience," Attorney General Eric Holder said
in unveiling the plan. The DOJ's bid to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act comes four years
after the agency signaled plans to move forward with new regulations, drawing more than 1,000 public comments.
The Editor says...
It is an act of tyranny to make the owners of privately-owned businesses adapt to customers who shouldn't be there.
It makes no sense for a deaf and blind man to go to a movie theater, just as it makes no sense for a paraplegic to go
rock climbing, or a blind person to go to a gun range and expect to be treated like everyone else. If
people go places they shouldn't be, the owners of those places should not be penalized.
New Disability Regs
Limit Slope of Mini Golf Holes. Although the Justice Department has extended the deadline for America's hotels to comply with regulations
regarding handicap access to swimming pools, new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines are already being applied at miniature golf courses,
driving ranges, amusement parks, shooting ranges and saunas. Among the provisions in the "Revised ADA Standards for Accessible Design," which
went into effect on March 15, is one requiring businesses to allow miniature horses on their premises as guide animals for the disabled.
Another limits the height of slopes on miniature golf holes.
The Editor says...
No matter what kind of small business you run, the federal government has rules that will drive you out of business -- and the government
will add some more rules next year.
U.N. Disabilities Treaty a Trojan
Horse. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, despite its innocent-sounding name, contains a Trojan
horse for the pro-life movement. It is the first treaty that contains a reference to "reproductive health." This term may sound innocuous,
but it is not. Ever since the U.N. Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in 1994, anti-life forces have used the term to try to
promote a binding, international legal right to abortion. They have argued — and continue to argue — that the repetition
of these words, in various statements in a variety of contexts around the world, has created a "customary law" right to abortion that, in turn, binds
every nation in the world.
U.N. Disabilities Treaty: 'No Impact Whatsoever On the Sovereignty of the United States'. Despite what critics claim could lead to
restrictions on parenting and educating special needs children in the United States and global abortion promotion, Secretary of State John Kerry
told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday [11/21/2013] that ratification of the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities will have "no impact" on U.S. sovereignty. "There's no impact whatsoever on the sovereignty of the United States," Kerry
said. "In fact, you all are exercising our sovereignty right now by doing what the framers of the Constitution envisioned, which is ratifying
Feds readying movie
theater regulations for blind, deaf patrons. The Obama administration is nearing completion of a proposal to require that movie
theaters offer technology so blind and deaf people can go to the cinema. The draft rule, which is part of a decades-long effort by advocates
for people with disabilities, would likely require thousands of movie theaters across the country to offer devices that display closed captioning
and provide audio narration of what's happening onscreen.
The Editor says...
It wouldn't bother me if all the movie theaters in the world went out of business tomorrow morning. But I find this story annoying because it
shows that the intrusive nanny state is constantly turning the screws tighter and tighter, making it all but impossible to operate a business,
because of the mountain of federal regulations ostensibly designed to help "those less fortunate" among us. That is a sham, of course.
The underlying motivation for tighter and more intrusive regulations is the destruction of capitalism.
DOJ Using ADA to Get Psychotic
Prisoners Out of Solitary. Prolonged use of solitary confinement for prisoners with serious mental illness and
intellectual disabilities is unconstitutional and violates the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Justice Department's Civil
Rights Division says. In a "findings" letter issued on Friday, DOJ announced the results of its investigation into the
Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Cresson in Cambria County, Pa.
goes to bat for drunken steelworkers; strikes out. We sometimes hear of the savings that could be realized by
eliminating "waste, fraud, and abuse" at federal government agencies. But substantial savings might also be achieved
if only we could eliminate absurdity. Consider a lawsuit brought by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC) against United States Steel and the United Steelworkers Union under the Americans With Disabilities Act
(ADA). The suit challenges a practice, approved by the Union, of alcohol testing of probationary employees. EEOC
alleged that the practice violated a provision of the ADA that prohibits medical testing that is not "job related and
consistent with business necessity."
The ADA and Regulatory Overreach. Passed
overwhelmingly by Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, this act represents the single most sweeping legislation ever
enacted on behalf of the disabled citizens of the country. It was controversial at the onset — and controversy revisits it today.
ADA Used to Impose All Manner of Lunacy. The demented lawsuit bonanza known as the Americans
With Disabilities Act has not yet inspired us to rebel, so bureaucrats tightened the screws still further with the "Revised ADA Standards for Accessible
Design," in affect as of March 15. [...] The absurdity of government regulations has passed the point where it has to be deliberate. The ADA
is a test to determine just how much moonbattery we will put up with before we offer resistance.
Complete Streets Occupiers. If you've not heard of the
"Complete Streets" movement, count yourself lucky. You've managed to avoid the acrimonious Bike Lane Wars. And don't ask about them
at social events. "Bike lanes, I put that now in the category of things you shouldn't discuss at dinner parties," a New York City
Councilor tells us. "It used to be money and politics and religion. Now you should add bike lane." So what are "Complete
Streets"? According to the National Complete Streets Coalition, these are streets that accommodate "all users, including pedestrians,
bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities."
US Airways fined $1.2M for inadequate
wheelchair access. The Department of Transportation has fined U.S. Airways $1.2 million for not providing adequate wheelchair access
for disabled passengers. The agency said the airline was in violation of the Air Carrier Access Act during two instances at Philadelphia International
Airport and Charlotte Douglas International Airport in 2011 and 2012. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the fine was one of the largest
penalties in a disability case.
Feds try to eliminate housing for the
deaf — at complex built for hearing-impaired. A 2005 federal study found that the U.S. had virtually no affordable housing for the deaf.
So the federal government helped build Apache ASL Trails, a 75-unit apartment building in Tempe, Ariz., designed specifically for the deaf. Ninety-percent of the
units are currently occupied by deaf and deaf-blind seniors. But now, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development says Apache ASL Trails violates civil
rights law — because it shows a preference for the hearing-impaired.
The Special Olympics — every day, at every school. Schools
must provide sports for disabled, US says. Students with disabilities must be given a fair shot to play on a traditional
sports team or have their own leagues, the Education Department says.
White House: Schools must
open sports to disabled. The Obama administration for the first time is telling school districts across the USA that they
must give disabled students equal access to extracurricular sports, a move that advocates say has been years in the making. In a
letter to schools due out Friday [1/25/2013], Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Seth Galanter of the Department of Education
says schools should provide "reasonable modifications" to allow disabled students to participate — for instance, providing a deaf
track athlete with a flashing light that goes off simultaneously with the starter pistol that others hear.
Seeks 2nd Chance For UN Disabilities Pact. The Obama administration is pushing for ratification of a U.N. accord
on the rights of the disabled less than a year after Senate Republicans rejected pleas for its passage from two former GOP
presidential nominees and delivered a stinging rebuke to a global treaty modeled largely on American law.
After homeschoolers lobby,
UN disabilities treaty fails. A United Nations human rights treaty that drew broad ire from conservative groups was rejected
by a slender margin on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon [12/4/2012]. The vote was 61 for to 31 against, six "aye" votes
shy of the two-thirds majority necessary to pass a treaty. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
ostensibly would have expanded access and opportunity for the disabled. But opponents, particularly those in homeschooling and
faith-based organizations, argued that it redefined parental rights more narrowly while impinging on U.S. sovereignty.
Disabilities Treaty Would Limit U.S. Sovereignty. Those who thought that the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
adequately guaranteed the rights of the handicapped to have access to all facets of American life were apparently wrong. The U.S.
Senate is considering ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which President Obama signed in 2009
and which goes well beyond mandating wheel-chair ramps for public buildings. CRPD doesn't even bother to adequately define what
disabilities it covers but rather merely says the definition is "evolving," a loaded term that rivals in its potential expansiveness
the phrase "the Secretary shall determine" that is repeatedly found in the Affordable Care Act.
Disabilities Treaty Will Not Help
Americans with Disabilities. Earlier today [11/26/2012], Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced his intention to proceed to
executive session tomorrow to consider the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), an international treaty purporting to
protect the rights of the disabled that the Obama Administration signed in July 2009. However, U.S. membership in CRPD would not advance
U.S. national interests either at home or abroad.
DOJ Targeted Public
Library for Lending E-Books 'Inaccessible' to the Blind. The U.S. Justice Department says it has reached a settlement
with the Sacramento (California) Public Library over a trial program the library was conducting that let patrons borrow Barnes and
Noble NOOK e-book readers. DOJ and the National Federation of the Blind objected to the program on grounds that blind people
could not use the NOOK e-readers for technological reasons.
The ADA will spread world-wide if the UN gets its way. Sen.
DeMint taps brakes on UN treaty as home-school opposition grows. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is delaying Senate
consideration of the United Nations treaty on people with disabilities amid growing opposition from home-schooling advocates.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was scheduled to take up the U.N. Convention on the Rights of People With Disabilities on
Thursday [7/19/2012], with the goal of getting it passed in time for the 22nd anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities
Act (ADA) on July 26.
The Editor says...
This illustrates how America has deteriorated to the point where it is today. Bad ideas like the ADA start out in places like Oakland or
San Francisco, where the liberal busybodies are constantly pushing to have local and state government spend someone else's money to implement
their nanny-state ideas. Then the idea spreads to the rest of the state. Then the idea spreads to the rest of the country.
Then, with the help of the United Nations, the idea spreads to the rest of the world. And then the world is an equal opportunity utopia,
except that the money runs out long before utopia can include everyone.
UN Treaty Mischief on Disabilities.
The United Nations in collusion with Obama's globalists has cooked up another scheme to slice off a piece of U.S. sovereignty and put us under global
government. The plan is to stampede the Senate into ratifying the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD. This
particular piece of globalist mischief had been unnoticed since President Obama ordered U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to sign this treaty on July 30,
2009. Now he is trying to ram it through to ratification.
political correctness collides with political correctness. [Scroll down] In fact, service dogs routinely
fly with their disabled masters. Lately miniature horses have shown up on planes and,last November, ABC News reported
a 300 pound pot bellied pig on a flight from Philly to Seattle. [...] Airlines are required to allow these animals
on board at no extra charge, and any rejection of a service animal on a flight must be documented in writing for the DOT.
Airport owners are also required to provide "relief areas" for service animals. Americans are indoctrinated to accept
any special accommodation for the disabled. [...] But what about the average Muslim passenger? What happens (and it
will happen) when the Muslim traveler demands the removal from the flight of the "unclean" dog or the (Allah help us) pig?
Feds: Airlines Must Let
Passengers Fly With Pigs for 'Emotional Support'. Pot-bellied pigs must be granted passage on airplanes if they are
used for "emotional support" by their owners, states the Department of Transportation's (DOT) draft manual on equity for the
disabled in air travel. The DOT published its "Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel: Draft
Technical Assistance Manual" in the Federal Register on July 5, providing guidance that allows swine on airplanes
if they are determined to be service animals.
The Editor says...
Oh, yes, let's all appease the irrational demands of the mentally ill, so they can have "access" and be "just like everyone else". I've just decided
that I can't bear to fly on an airplane unless I can bring a shoebox full of tarantulas for emotional support.
disability-hiring quota. Political appointees at President Obama's Labor Department are getting ready to issue
an edict compelling government contractors to adapt a 7 percent hiring quota for disabled job applicants. This
radical personnel change approved by the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is pushing a
radical personnel policy that could ravage the productivity of more than 170,000 companies with government contracts, including
most of America's largest corporations.
Medical pot not protected by disabilities act, 9th Circuit
rules. The suit charged that the Orange County cities were violating the Americans With Disabilities Act by closing down dispensaries that
distributed medical marijuana. The court said the disabilities law does not protect patients who claim to face discrimination on the basis of
medical marijuana use.
with Disabilities Act covers 'bashful bladder syndrome,' could cost employers billions. It could cost U.S. employers
between $2 billion and $4 billion to comply with an obscure Americans with Disabilities Act regulation meant to protect workers
who are gun-shy in public restrooms. According to an informal discussion letter the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
issued in August 2011, "paruresis" — more commonly known as "shy bladder syndrome" — qualifies as a disability
under the amended Americans with Disabilities Act.
Hotels, rec centers try to slow pool access
regs. Owners and managers of swimming pools at hotels, city recreation centers and public parks are scrambling to install
mechanical chair lifts to comply with new federal requirements that all public pools be accessible to disabled swimmers.
Obama Holds Off on Pool-Destroying Regulations til After Election.
[Scroll down] Needless to say, most facilities will just close their pools. And I'm quite certain that all the disappointed tourists
will be told their vacation was ruined by President Obama. Which is why the regulations had to go. But they were not
eliminated — only suspended. Facilities will now be given until January to comply.
Act Prompts Flood of Suits Some Cite as Unfair. A small cadre of lawyers, some from out of state,
are using New York City's age and architectural quirkiness as the foundation for a flood of lawsuits citing
violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The lawyers are generally not acting on existing
complaints from people with disabilities. Instead, they identify local businesses, like bagel shops and
delis, that are not in compliance with the law, and then aggressively recruit plaintiffs from advocacy
groups for people with disabilities.
Obama administration may soon require all Federal
contractors hire 7% disabled workers. In December, the Labor Department proposed expanding the
government's affirmative action program for federal contractors (a category that includes nearly all of the
nation's largest corporations) to include new obligations in hiring disabled workers. Once, and if, the
proposed rules goes into effect, companies with federal contracts will be asked to have a workforce compromised
of [sic] at least seven percent of people with disabilities — in addition to two percent with severe
No Diploma Necessary.
In the latest bit of politically-correct economically-ignorant insanity to come from Washington, D.C., the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) — an organization which should (but won't) be at the top
of any Republican president's list to eliminate — has opined that employers may be in violation of
the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if they require that potential employees have a high school diploma.
school diploma requirement might violate Americans with Disabilities Act. Employers are facing more
uncertainty in the wake of a letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission warning them that requiring
a high school diploma from a job applicant might violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. The development
also has some wondering whether the agency's advice will result in an educational backlash by creating less of an
incentive for some high school students to graduate.
San Francisco's Half-Million-Dollar
Wheelchair Ramp. The city of San Francisco has completed work on a $515,000 wheelchair
ramp that measures 10 feet. It's true. It all began last year when Board of
Supervisors member Michela Alioto-Pier, who uses a wheelchair, complained that the dais
serving the board's meeting room in City Hall was not wheelchair-accessible. When she
threatened to sue, the city went into overdrive to build a small ramp.
sue company for firing 600-pound worker. [Ronald Kratz II], who weighs more than 600 pounds,
asked if he could transfer to another position but he was told he could not, according to the lawsuit.
Nor did BAE officials discuss whether he needed what's known as a "reasonable accommodation" under the
Americans with Disabilities Act so he could better perform his essential job duties.
Feds to Drunk Drivers: Keep On Truckin!
The Old Dominion Freight Line trucking company, based in North Carolina but with 211 service centers across the
country, found itself with a personnel problem back in June 2009. An employee with an otherwise clean
record approached management and confessed he had a drinking problem. Following U.S. Department of
Transportation regulations, the company suspended this employee from his driving position, and referred him for
substance abuse counseling. The company took one other action: they told the alcoholic that they
would never let him drive trucks for them again, even after he finished his counseling program.
Tales of the red tape.
According to new guidelines issued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses have to modify their
"policies, practices or procedures" so that the pygmy ponies can be used as service animals. Why would someone
who's disabled use a miniature horse instead of a dog? The Department of Justice, which administers the ADA, says
they're a "viable alternative" for those whose medical condition or religious belief precludes canine assistance.
Chimps, pigs, goats, iguanas, birds and rats — all of which have owners who claim they could also act as
service animals — remain off-limits. For now, at least.
Gone Bad. The ADA was supposed to help more disabled people find jobs. But did it?
Strangely, no. An MIT study found that employment of disabled men ages 21 to 58 declined after
the ADA went into effect. Same for women ages 21 to 39. How could employment among the
disabled have declined? Because the law turns "protected" people into potential lawsuits. Most
ADA litigation occurs when an employee is fired, so the safest way to avoid those costs is not to hire the
disabled in the first place.
S.F. bookshop owner to close
over ADA lawsuit. In the latest chapter of a struggle between San Francisco merchants and disabled people
suing them for better access, several Richmond District business owners have decided to close or move in the face of
lawsuits demanding alterations and monetary damages. The trend is raising concerns among area shopkeepers, the
district's supervisor, Eric Mar, and other city officials.
Strikes Again: First Burritos, Now The Kindle. The Washington Examiner reports today on
a promising new education program that provides Amazon Kindles to students to reduce paper use in universities —
and how the the Department of Justice stepped in to squash it. The DOJ actually threatened to sue the
schools, including Princeton, Arizona State and Case Western Reserve, to halt the programs because it
decided the e-book reader does not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Department's Civil Rights Division is out of control. [Scroll down] It isn't just the South
Carolina prisons in the crosshairs of the Civil Rights Division. It is mortgage lenders and insurance
companies. It is movie theaters and flat-broke counties that don't print ballots in foreign languages.
It's also Amazon.com, which tried to sell a talking Kindle reader, but Justice said it couldn't because the button
to make the Kindle talk didn't have Braille. Never mind that books neither talk nor have Braille buttons
telling them to talk. The business community would be wise to wake up and recognize the immense power
the Civil Rights Division exerts over the private sector.
Happy Birthday, Americans with Disabilities
Act: The Americans with Disabilities Act is twelve years old. And much like an adolescent
child without proper education or adult supervision, the ADA continues to wreak havoc throughout the American
business community, making it arguably the most damaging piece of legislation to economic freedom in this
Congress and The
Disabled — More Harm Than Help. Studies show that the well-intentioned ADA has
actually reduced the number of disabled Americans with jobs. Now many members of
Congress want to expand the scope of the Americans with Disabilities Act to cover almost
sidewalk makeover for disabled. State transportation officials agreed Tuesday [12/22/2009]
to spend $1.1 billion over 30 years on safer sidewalks and better curb ramps to help the disabled.
The settlement, filed in federal court in Oakland, requires Caltrans to install and improve curb ramps along
state-owned highways and repair and widen sidewalks.
Are you able to
obey this law? In the real world, even Congress can't wish problems away. Their
well-intended solutions create nasty unintended consequences. The Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA) is proving to be yet another sad example. Consider what an employer has to do to
try to obey the ADA. Even the job interview is a minefield.
Regulation Grills Small Businesses.
Small business, which were responsible for a full two-thirds of all new jobs produced during the boom 1980s,
have been hurt disproportionately by new government mandates and regulations. Small businesses bear the
brunt of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) since the costs associated with ADA compliance represent a
greater portion of company assets for a small firm than a large one. Further, even before the ADA was
passed, most large firms already had facilities to accommodate employees with disabilities.
up to the disability police: Vague legal requirements leaves every business owner vulnerable
to the threat of a lawsuit. For many small businesses, settling is more cost-effective than fighting,
even if they are really in compliance. This is banana republic governance. Make laws no one can
comply with. Enforce the laws at random. Favor your friends by selectively looking the other
After more than
400 lawsuits, disabled man can sue no more. Whether Jarek Molski is a crusader for the disabled
or an extortionist who abused the law for personal gain, the vexatious litigant has filed his last lawsuit.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to hear the case of Molski vs. Evergreen Dynasty Corp., owner of a
Chinese restaurant in Solvang, Calif., in a legal Waterloo for the 38-year-old Woodland Hills man. Molski
filed more than 400 suits under the Americans With Disabilities Act before a federal judge barred him from
Can't Read, But Can Sue. Is a
school district asking too much when it requires its employees to read at least at a third-grade level?
Yes, according to the illiterate supervisor of a St. Louis area school district grounds maintenance crew.
The man failed to take the district up on its offer to get him reading instruction on the job, at district expense
and at a class of his choice. He was then fired for not attending classes in which he enrolled. He is
suing under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
ACLU files lawsuit against county for
treatment of TB patient. A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union
alleges that Maricopa County officials have violated the rights of a quarantined tuberculosis patient for months
by treating him as a criminal. The U.S. District Court complaint on behalf of Robert Daniels alleges health
officials and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office have violated numerous constitutional rights and the Americans
with Disabilities Act.
Wood chips ruled
unfriendly to disabled kids. A Contra Costa County school district's use of wood chips in play
boxes makes it harder for boys and girls in wheelchairs to get to swings and slides, a violation of the
disabled children's rights, a federal judge has ruled.
Judge Orders Treasury Department to Make Paper
Money Recognizable to Blind People. American paper money represents an unfair impediment to the
blind, and the Treasury Department must come up with new U.S. currency to help the visually impaired use cash,
a federal judge ruled Tuesday [11/28/2006]. U.S. District Judge James Robertson said keeping all U.S.
currency the same size and texture violates the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits discrimination on the
basis of disability in government programs.
The Editor says...
Is this a problem that suddenly developed in the last few weeks? Is the circulation of money
a "government program"? Do judges have the authority to make laws? The answer to
all three questions is NO.
Appeals Currency Redesign. The Bush administration on Tuesday [12/12/2006] asked an appeals court
to overturn a ruling that would require a redesign of the nation's currency to help the blind. The appeal
was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by Justice Department lawyers on
behalf of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. The appeal seeks to overturn a ruling last month by U.S.
District Judge James Robertson who ordered Treasury to come up with ways for the blind to tell the difference
between different denominations of paper currency.
Blind ambition: Reshaping
dollars to make them easier to identify. After Frank Welte finished a tuna sandwich and plate of
french fries in a San Carlos cafe Thursday, the 45-year-old blind man opened his wallet and approached the
cashier with a twice-folded $20 bill. Welte, like most of the estimated 1 million legally blind
Americans, resorts to a folded-bill system to distinguish denominations by touch: One dollar bills lay
flat, fives get creased once, tens are folded lengthwise, and twenties get the twice-over.
Legislating from the bench... Judge: New money
design should accommodate blind. When the next generations of $5, $10, $20 and $50 bills roll
off the presses, there should be some way for blind people to tell them apart, a federal judge said
Thursday [9/4/2008]. U.S. District Judge James Robertson said he would not allow the Treasury
Department to go at its own pace as it complies with a May ruling that U.S. paper money discriminates
against the blind.
Discouraged Employer. Some legislation affecting jobs is so recent that it is premature to attempt
to estimate the specific impacts on labor costs and on labor supply or demand. An example is the Americans
With Disabilities Act, which took effect on July 26, 1992, in the case of employers with 25 or more workers
(and on July 26, 1994, in the case of employers with 15 or more workers). The officials charged with
carrying out the statute explain that it will take extended litigation to determine the full scope of the
vague and often sweeping provisions of the law, which covers an estimated 43 million Americans.
However, early experience indicates that the costs will be substantial. The Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission is now receiving about 1,000 ADA claims each month — on top of its already heavy caseload
dealing with other discrimination claims.
A Review and Synthesis of the Cost of Workplace
Regulations. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employment discrimination against
people with disabilities. The law mandates programs for making places of business handicapped
accessible. Furthermore, it requires accessibility modifications for customers as well
employees. The ADA also includes mandates for making public transportation and telecommunications
Disappearing swings: In
addition to liability and safety fears, the Americans with Disabilities Act turns out to play a role in the
decline of swing sets at public playgrounds: it seems the least expensive way to make a swing set safer
is to surround it with sand, but sand is considered a non-accessible surface for wheelchairs which makes it
suspect under the ADA.
Deaf sue to force closed-captioning
of Redskin football. "The National Association of the Deaf has filed a lawsuit against the
Washington Redskins to get team officials to offer closed-captioning for the deaf and hearing-impaired at
FedEx Field." The lawsuit cites the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Target sued: website not
accessible to the blind. The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), represented by Berkeley's
Disability Rights Advocates as well as two law firms, has sued discounter Target, alleging that it violates
California disabled-rights law because its website is not operable by blind computer users.
Wal-Mart job pays
millions. Who says you'll never get rich working at Wal-Mart? A federal magistrate judge
has just approved a $2.8 million award for disability-based discrimination on behalf of plaintiff
Patrick Brady, who suffers from cerebral palsy. The company's offense? It "violated federal
and state laws by making a prohibited inquiry [relating to his disabilities] before giving Brady an
Arf! Arf! Arf! Arf! Arf! Arf! Arf!
Arf! A federal jury in Detroit has awarded $300,000 in punitive damages and $14,209 in actual
damages to Joyce Grad, saying the Royalwood cooperative apartment association in suburban Royal Oak violated
her rights under the federal Fair Housing Act when it declined to waive its no-pets policy to permit her to
bring in an emotional-assistance dog.
Bill would allow legally blind Texans to
hunt. A state lawmaker wants to make sure no Texan is left out when it comes to hunting, even if
the hunter is legally blind. Rep. Edmund Kuempel, a Seguin Republican, has filed a bill for the 2007
legislative session that would allow legally blind hunters to use a laser sight, or lighted pointing
instrument. The devices are forbidden for sighted hunters.
Disability Laws Fleece Mom & Pop
Shops. The latest trial lawyers' parlor game is suing small mom-and-pop
establishments — particularly restaurants — over minor violations of federal and state
laws protecting the disabled. Bathroom mirrors that are inches too high, paper towel dispensers that
are difficult to reach by people in wheelchairs, doors that are allegedly too heavy for the disabled to open
by themselves, and other such violations are prompting lawsuits rather than requests that the problems be
Wheelchair ramp will
cost $100,000 a foot. Where else but San Francisco City Hall could a 10-foot-long wheelchair
ramp wind up costing $1 million? Thanks to a maze of bureaucratic indecision and historic
restrictions, taxpayers may shell out $100,000 per foot to make the Board of Supervisors president's perch
in the historic chambers accessible to the disabled.
fight begins in San Francisco. Gloria Chan, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Public Works,
estimated that the lowest the ramp project price could go was $780,000 by keeping work "in house" instead of
using outside contractors. Peskin's proposal to rope off the area and make modifications to the existing
ramps and supervisors' desks would cost about $547,000, Chan said.
Wheelchair ramps in the high alpine
zone: The Americans with Disabilities Act led to the installation of a wheelchair ramp at
Galehead Hut in northern New Hampshire, which is "perhaps the most inaccessible" of the Appalachian Mountain
Club's historic system of White Mountain huts and can be reached only by hiking over very rugged terrain.
Abuse: Businesses of all sizes and types … have been targeted by what they call "ADA
frequent filers" who file look-alike lawsuits where a single plaintiff and his/her lawyers file lawsuits
alleging the same violation against numerous small businesses in a particular area. … For example, one
plaintiff specializes in alleging toilet paper dispenser heights don't meet the ADA-required 40 inches, causing
him emotional pain, humiliation and physical injuries. He has filed more than 700 ADA lawsuits in
California and collected millions from California small businesses in settlements. Another plaintiff has
filed more than 1,300 ADA access lawsuits since 1998; many against small, family-owned Northern California
wineries. Another plaintiff targeted more than 300 businesses in San Diego, using the same attorney
to file all the cases.
What is Section 508? If you produce videos
or webcasts for federal agencies or receive federal funds for programs, you must comply with
Section 508. In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to require Federal Agencies to make
their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. The amendment is
known as Section 508 and it specifies the standards defining how Federal agencies must make their
electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.
Why Lawsuit Abuse Continues in
California: California's business climate suffered another blow [in May 2005] when the Senate
judiciary committee killed SB 855, a measure that would have closed another loophole for unscrupulous
attorneys who shake down California's small businesses.
Frivolous Lawsuits in California: A rapidly
emerging source of frivolous, shakedown lawsuits is the Americans with Disabilities Act, more specifically the
California version of that federal law. Restaurants, hotels, and businesses of all types have become
targets of lawsuits for ADA violations. The major problems include an inability of businesses to get
certification that their business complies with the law, a lack of protection from future lawsuits when the
violation is settled, and no time to fix a violation before a plaintiff sues. These problems discourage
compliance with ADA because a plaintiff can sue anyway.
ADA and Its Discontents. The Americans with
Disabilities Act is a costly and flawed attempt for Washington to impose it usual one-size-fits-all,
Washington-knows-best "solution" upon local communities. Rather than allowing local governments the
flexibility to determine how to deal with the problem of handicapped accessibility, the ADA gives power to
unelected federal bureaucrats and judges to impose requirements on local communities with little or no
consideration of the costs or benefits.
34 People Accused Of Fat Fraud. U.S.
Attorney's Office announced Thursday the arrest of 34 people who investigators said defrauded social security
using obesity as an excuse not to work. The 34 Miami-Dade County residents who were named in 25 separate
indictments allegedly claimed that they were so overweight that they were unable to work. Investigators
said not a single one of those indicted had a legitimate claim to benefits.
Note: The material about "closed captioning" has been moved to
Deaf group files lawsuit against movie
theaters. Invoking the Americans with Disabilities Act, eight hearing-impaired persons in
Portland, Oregon have filed what aspires to the status of a national class action seeking to force three
large cinema chains, Regal, Century, and Carmike, to install closed captioning devices for films in
Goes to the Movies. The movie-theater snob looks for big screens, high-end sound,
legroom, and the newest innovation, stadium seating. If you're a movie-theater snob,
chances are you worship at the altar of AMC theaters because they are the gold-standard of
the cineplex world. So naturally, the Department of Justice is trying to put them
out of business.
Put out that
match. Environmental activists are stepping up efforts to curb agricultural
burning, a practice common among farming peoples since prehistoric times. One pressure
group in Washington state filed a complaint a year and a half ago charging that the state was
violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by issuing permits to wheat farmers to burn the
stubble of their fields, the argument being that the smoke from the practice could aggravate
existing respiratory distress among the disabled.
Under the ADA, We May All Be
Disabled. Karen Sutton and Kimberly Hinton want to be classed as legally disabled
on account of their poor eyesight. There's just one catch: it seems the two sisters
can see pretty much as well as the rest of us. Ah, their lawyers say, but that's when
they're wearing glasses! Ditch the specs, and they're badly nearsighted. Last month,
the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether the physical condition of persons wishing to sue
under the ADA should be considered in its "unmitigated" state, that is, before any remedial
steps have been taken.
Congress refuses to obey many of the laws it imposes on ordinary Americans. Nearly a score of federal
laws — including the Civil Rights Act, Americans With Disabilities Act, and Family and Medical Leave
Act — either do not cover Congress at all or apply to Congress differently than to the rest of the
country. Congress's habit of exempting itself from laws that burden citizens, businesses, and state and
local governments is fundamentally undemocratic and makes legislators careless about the regulatory and
financial costs of legislation.
Motel Owners Sued For ADA
Violations. When Karla and Richard Hauk of Wall, South Dakota converted two of their rooms at
their newly-opened Days Inn into handicapped-accessible rooms, they thought they were doing the right thing to
help the disabled. But their act of kindness only generated a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit alleging
violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act that almost drove the couple out of business.
Americans with Disabilities Act vs. The
Internet: Common sense may seem in short supply in today's litigation-happy world, but it got a
boost recently from — of all places — Florida, where a federal judge tossed out a lawsuit
claiming that Southwest Airlines' Web site violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The decision is
good news for the Internet, and for consumers, because it blocked what likely would have become
regulation-by-litigation of Web site design.
Shame on Casey Martin. Instead of
gracefully accepting his inability to beat able-bodied opponents under the rules of an organization he
voluntarily joined, Martin chose to force his way into PGA competition by invoking the Americans with
Disabilities Act, a law requiring "reasonable modifications" to accommodate the handicapped. At Martin's
request, a federal court forced the PGA Tour to change its rules and let Martin ride in a motorized cart, while
everyone else walked.
The average American would be hard-pressed to think of one single action they can take during the course of any
normal day that is not in some way or another controlled or influenced by a government regulation.
The Disabilities of ADA
Regulations: The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a prime example of the
shortcomings of government regulation — even those born out of the best intentions.
Handicapping Freedom: The Americans with
Disabilities Act The ADA is one of the worst cases of the Bush-era reregulation of the
economy. It runs contrary to the goals of the Republican Contract With America as well as sound policy
principles because it devalues private property, burdens businesses, and imposes unfunded mandates on state and
local governments. If Congress is serious about lifting the regulatory burden from the economy, it must
consider major changes in, if not outright repeal of, the ADA.
The Americans with Disabilities Act: Time for
amendments. "Contrary to the claims of its proponents, the ADA imposes significant costs on
American business firms and governmental entities. Indeed, the ADA so zealously pursues its mainstreaming
goal that individuals, businesses, and governmental bodies must make expensive accommodations to ensure full
integration even when less costly, more convenient alternatives ... are available."
Expanding Definitions and
Suspicious Statistics: One way of telling whether a given statistic is a fact or an artifact is
to ask whether the definition used fits the thing that is being defined. Buried in the news story about the
children with disabilities is the fact that the definition of "disability" has been expanding over the years.
Somewhat related: Self-reliance
matters. Consider a recent story out of Connecticut. A Bridgeport city councilman
has proposed a new law that would require all public bathrooms to have a coat hook. Why? Because,
he says, no one should be forced to put their belongings on the floor of a public bathroom. Mandatory
coat hooks? Do they need to be brass or silver? Give me a break!
"Handicapped" In The People's
Republic of Santa Monica: The Santa Monica City Council is now considering a law —
repeat, a law — mandating that private homeowners spend their own money to make their homes handicap
"visitable." But what about the Constitution? What about property rights? This is the
People's Republic of Santa Monica, remember? The land of below-market rent-controlled apartments
whose tenants drive BMWs while their landlords drive Hondas.
Disabled should play the
hand they're dealt, not demand new rules. A multitude of new "disabilities" are being uncovered by
trial lawyers and ADA administrators. Many of the cases are plain nutty. While discrimination should
not be allowed, the disabled might thrive — and we would be awed — by their achievements
Wreaks Havoc: In deciding that a disabled professional golfer has the right to use a golf cart,
disbarred by the association that sets rules for the tourneys, the Supreme Court has insinuated the Federal
Government into one more meaningless facet of our lives.
Bill Proposed To Curb ADA Suits:
Passed in 1990, the ADA was considered a landmark piece of legislation that recognized the civil rights of
people with disabilities by requiring public places and businesses to be accessible. But the law appears
to have been exploited by crafty attorneys who can make a quick buck by filing ADA non-compliance suits against
small businesses, critics say.
Justin Dart Obituary: Widely
recognized as "the father of the Americans with Disabilities Act" and "the godfather of the disability rights
movement," Justin Dart had struggled with the complications of post-polio syndrome and congestive heart
failure. Dart was a leader in the disability rights movement for three decades, and an advocate for the
rights of women, people of color, and gays and lesbians. Dart was on the podium on the White House lawn
when President George H. Bush signed the ADA into law in July 1990.
The Editor says...
The late Justin Dart was my 8th cousin. A very distant cousin, in many ways.
The fashion for
disability: [Alison] Lapper, who seems an agreeable and doughty sort, has said that the statue is
"a modern tribute to femininity, disability and motherhood". A tribute to disability? Why would we
wish to pay tribute to disability; if we're being honest, isn't disability bad, wouldn't we rather not have it