The Americans with Disabilities Act

"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."


Court: Movie theaters must accommodate deaf-blind patrons.  An appeals court says federal disability law requires movie theaters to provide interpreters to patrons who are deaf and blind.

Deaf-blind patrons must be able to go to the movies too, court says.  Federal disability law requires movie theaters to provide specialized interpreters to patrons who are deaf and blind, an appeals court said Friday [10/6/2017].

Plano-based 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.

These 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."

Transgender 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.

Pets Allowed.  [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.

Double 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.

DOJ 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.

Kerry on 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 a treaty."

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.

EEOC 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.

Gov't: Food allergies may be disability under law.  The Justice Department said in a recent settlement with a Massachusetts college that severe food allergies can be considered a disability under the law.

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.

Obama 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.

U.N. 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.

When 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.

Obama's devastating 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.

Americans 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.

Disabilities 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 disabilities.

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.

High 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.

Feds 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.

Government Sues Trucking Company for Taking Keys Away From Alcoholic Driver.  Citing a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Obama administration is suing a trucking company for taking the keys away from an Arkansas driver and eventually firing him after he admitted he was battling alcohol abuse.

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.

Good Intentions 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.

ADA 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.

Justice 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 generation.

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 every American.

Billion-dollar 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.

State to pay unprecedented $1.1 billion to make walkways accessible to disabled.  In an unprecedented court settlement reached today, Caltrans has agreed to spend $1.1 billion over the next 30 years to repair and improve sidewalks, crosswalks and park-and-ride facilities across the state so they are accessible for people with disabilities.

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.

Armless Man Couldn't Cash Check Because He Had No Thumbprint.  A Florida man born without arms says a Tampa bank would not let him cash a check because he couldn't provide a thumbprint.

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.

Standing 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 way.

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 future litigation.

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.

UN celebrates disability treaty.  The UN is celebrating the coming into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) — a landmark agreement that aims to give the world's 650m disabled people full equality.
This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2013 by Andrew K. Dart

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.

Update:
Government 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.

The 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 handicapped accessible.

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 employment offer.

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 corrected.

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.

Wheelchair 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.

ADA Lawsuit 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 this page.

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 their theaters.

ADA 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.

Congressional Coverage.  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.

Regulatory absurdity!  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.

Private Homeowners Could be Forced to Provide Access to Disabled:  An Illinois man wants local building codes changed so that even newly-built private homes where none of the residents need special access would still have to be made accessible to people with disabilities.

ADA Generates a Flood Of Discrimination Claims:  Critics say the Americans With Disabilities Act is being used as a club against employers by some workers who are filing spurious claims.

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 unintended consequences of the Americans with Disabilities Act:  Contrary to the intent of the backers of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ADA makes the disabled less employable.  [PDF document]

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.

Crippling Thoughts:  The ADA's powerful psychological hold.

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 through adversity.

Misplaced compassion 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 at all?

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Updated October 18, 2017.

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