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Thread: Americans Disability Act - Supreme Court to hear a key disability case, Tennessee vs. Lane & Jones

  1. #11
    Banned Faye's Avatar
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    A second disabled person in the case, Beverly Jones, a court reporter who uses a wheelchair, alleges that the lack of handicapped access in a Wilson County, Tenn., courthouse meant that a local judge had to carry her to and from the women's bathroom.


    Tennessee acknowledges that some of its courthouses lack access for the disabled. But the state denies that is a violation of constitutional rights. And it takes such a constitutional violation, Moore argued, to overcome a state's immunity from such lawsuits.

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...abledsuestates



    O.K., so now I guess, we'll have to wait to accumulate enough Workers Comp. cases involving people getting hurt on the job while carrying a disabled person up the stairs, before this is found to be a ridiculous/unacceptable practice.

  2. #12
    Perhaps we can look at the situation this way. What if the Tennessee Courthouse had restricted access to another group of people, i.e. black people, and that every black person had to be carried up the stairs of certain courthouses. Would federal laws supercede local ones? I think that it would. What is the difference between skin color and disability? After all, it is just another physical characteristic.

    Wise.

  3. #13
    Banned Faye's Avatar
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    I've been arguing the exact same to the Office of Civil Rights, when the school claimed that there was no need to make the 1600 trailers wheelchair accessible in this one affluent county in Georgia, even though Florida has each and every trailer accessible.
    The GA school district claimed that since programs were (sometimes made) available in the main building, there would be no need for disabled people to attend class in a trailer. They would just be required to attend class in the main building.

    First, all buildings constructed after Jan. 23, 1991 are required by ADA to be accessible, so the trailers being inaccessible is still against ADA.
    But besides that, it would also be discriminatory to say for example that all hispanics have to attend class in the main building. So why does it continue to be "O.K. to discriminate" against the disabled, segregating them, by limiting them to class rooms in the main building?

    P.S. It had already taken three months in school followed by a two-month long media campaign for the school to make a 6th grade class room available in the main building. Before that the school had just placed Jason in a 7th grade class room as no 6th grade classes had been scheduled in the main building at all.

  4. #14
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    From The Christian Science Monitor
    Commentary > The Monitor's View
    January 23, 2004 edition

    States and Disabilities

    The reach of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is again up for grabs in a case before the Supreme Court. As it has in recent cases, the court may decide that states' rights outweigh a federal interest in helping persons with disabilities.

    An important (and often expensive) provision of the 1990 act requires that public buildings provide "reasonable accommodation" to all. The latest case involves a paraplegic who had to appear in a Tennessee courtroom but was forced to go up two flights of stairs to get there.

    At the time, in 1996, the courthouse had no elevator. The man sued the state for $100,000 in damages under the act, while lawyers for Tennessee argued that the Constitution's 11th Amendment and previous court decisions means states cannot be sued by their own citizens under a federal lawsuit.

    Three years ago, the high court said states could not be sued by state employees for failing to comply with the ADA's guarantee against discrimination in the workplace. But the plaintiffs in this new case argue that Tennessee's inaction in helping the disabled more severely threatens other Constitutional guarantees, such as free speech, the right to confront accusers at a trial, due process, and equal protection.

    Congress passed the ADA precisely because many states were not providing more opportunities for the disabled to live normal lives, from access to the voting booth to access to society at large. Many were (and still are) institutionalized. Some still have difficulty obtaining an education in the least restrictive environment possible. Further, states still have a patchwork of laws relating to persons with disabilities. Some don't even cover basic elements of the ADA law.

    State legislatures by now should have at least absorbed the federal act's basic wisdom of meeting the needs of this minority group of Americans, who number 50 million.

    Whether the disabled have a federal constitutional right to access is a key issue for the court to decide. But human decency calls for the states to measure up to the federal standards set in the ADA.

    Source


    My Comment: We can't rely on Human Decency without rigorous enforcement. It's human nature to ignore the "weak".

  5. #15
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    I am aware that my response is qute late in this rather old subject. But most States subscribe to the model building codes and adopted them as State law, these laws place emphasis on accomodating the ADA as requirements to building school building.

    MY point is placing your attack attention at/towards the Building Codes enforcement officials for granting the out of compliance building a Certificate Of Occupancy or Compliance is/was an illegal act, as required under their sworn duty to enforce their own State Law. A suit placed against the State authority who granted such a required document Cert of Compliance, or Occupancy, may be more easily executed than against the school itself. The other target is the licensed design Archetic or Engineering firm who created the Non-Compliant design for these structures.

    Since every State has different enabling legislation procedures as well as enforcement procedures these are simply suggestions as to how to gain Public Building the Federal compliance with ADA. This is obviously a less direct method of reaching you point, but may have some better opportunity for success.

    To get State compliance, with the ADA you might have to use a Federal Law suit, monetary suits seem to have less success than simply sueing for straight compliance of the law through the DOJ. It is unlikely you will get any money for your personal inconvenience.

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