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JULY, 2010  (20th Anniversary of the ADA)  JULY, 2010








JULY, 2010

(20th Anniversary of the ADA)




****Please Note****










This month of July, 2010 marks the 20th anniversary of the passing into law of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  It is difficult to believe and sad to contemplate that, even after all this time, we still receive pleas daily from people who are being denied their rights under this civil rights law. 


As you may know, we have never required a membership fee for joining with us in our mission and we are NOT going to change that now.  However, we have always stated that voluntary donations are welcomed and deeply appreciated, although we have never actually solicited them.  This year, however, is different, as it is for so many people.  ACCESS NOW HAS TAKEN A BIG FINANCIAL HIT.  THEREFORE,  WE ARE NOW, FOR THE FIRST TIME, ASKING FOR VOLUNTARY DONATIONS IN ORDER TO KEEP OUR EFFORTS MOVING FORWARD.  (Please remember that all donations to us are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.) 


Any donation of any amount will, you may be certain, be put to good use as we pursue as much accessibility as possible for as many members of the disabled community as possible.  To that end, we will now begin to send our twice-yearly newsletter by EMAIL TO THOSE WHO HAVE FURNISHED US WITH EMAIL ADDRESSES, thereby saving costs as well as trees.  (Of course, for those who have not sent us an email “addy”, we will be mailing this newsletter via postal mail, as we have done in the past.)  We look forward to hearing from you at any level of financial assistance which you feel able to provide.  THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!





HELLO AGAIN, EVERYBODY!  Well, here in our second newsletter of the year,  we have much to report.  We have had many, many requests for assistance with regard to the ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act) and the FHA (Fair Housing Act – which governs multiple-dwelling units).  We are also receiving many calls for assistance with regard to service animals.  It continues to astonish us that in the year 2010, there remain vast pockets of ignorance of and non-compliance with the ADA, which was enacted into law in 1990!  That is why your continuing support is so very, very important to us!  I would like to thank all our members, worldwide, for their continued support and, in an abundance of optimism, our prospective members as well!  And now, to our news--------


We would like to begin with an article on the scope and meaning of the ADA.  We believe it is an appropriate retrospective as we take the fight for equality to the law’s second 20 years.  However, we would first like to take time to remember a charter member of Access Now’s Board of Directors who was a passionate advocate regarding the issues addressed in this newsletter.





Aaron Schecter, of Hollywood and Aventura, Florida, was one of the founding directors of Access Now, Inc.®  He was a passionate believer in our mission, responding immediately when my late husband, Edward, and I first formed this organization.  He continued to the end of his life to encourage and support our efforts.  Therefore, his passing on April 27th was a sad day for Access Now as well as for me personally.  Aaron was truly a Renaissance man, deeply involved in all aspects of culture.  In addition, he strongly believed in giving back to his community, which he did in so many ways.  He was the personification of all that is best in human nature and will be truly missed by all who knew and loved him.  May he rest in peace. 




20TH ANNIVERSARY:  ADA poised to open even more doors


This week is the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of the country's landmark civil-rights measures and the signature domestic achievement of President George H. W. Bush.  The ADA mandates equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities in employment, access to public facilities, transportation and telecommunications.

Although problems persist, particularly in employment, it has transformed America, improved the lives of the 50 million people with disabilities (half of them severely disabled) and served as a model for much of the rest of the world.  The gains have been most visible in accessibility, with curb cuts, transportation and access to public facilities. The ADA has changed the way Americans get around and relate to their communities,'' says Andy Imparato, the president of the American Association of People with Disabilities.

Citing the landmark 1954 civil-rights school-desegregation case, Imparato says, The ADA is our Brown v. Board of Education.''  And like Brown, it's an evolving process that takes years, decades.  A look around the globe and the ADA's impact is evident, it was a catalyst for the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an international accord that requires parties to promote equal rights for and full employment of the disabled.  The U.S. still leads the world in safeguarding the rights of its citizens with disabilities,'' says Tanya Gallagher, head of the Disability Research Institute at the University of Illinois.

There remain daunting challenges in healthcare, technology and especially jobs. In the United States, the jobless rate for disabled people is officially 14.3 percent, or almost double that of able-bodied workers.  Since this figure only counts those looking for jobs, the real unemployment rate for the disabled, experts say, probably exceeds 50 percent.

There are companies that have adopted a more aggressive policy for hiring employees with disabilities. Professor Peter Blanck, chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, recently surveyed 30,000 disabled employees at 14 companies. He found that in firms labeled by employees as “disability friendly'' -- providing more accommodations, flexibility and less autocracy -- disparities in wages, retention and workplace issues disappeared.  In an interview, Blanck cited several examples of disability-friendly companies: Microsoft, Sears Roebuck and Procter & Gamble among them.

The courts, especially conservative judges, and all the way to the Supreme Court, handed down a series of anti-ADA decisions limiting these civil rights.  Often, discrimination claims then were summarily dismissed.  However, the last Congress passed the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which overturned a number of these unfortunate court decisions, and has facilitated the legal process for people with disabilities.

The political problems haven't disappeared.  A few months ago, Rand Paul, the Republican candidate for senator in Kentucky, dismissed government efforts.  “I think if you have a two-story office, and you hire someone who's handicapped, it might be reasonable to let him have an office on the first floor rather than the government saying you have to have a $100,000 elevator,'' he said.

Much of the disabilities community considers the term “handicapped'' pejorative; it originated in Elizabethan England, when people with disabilities were forced to beg on the street and were given a cap for handouts.  Contrary to Paul's assertions, accessibility costs for businesses and public facilities have been comparatively low.

Like the great struggles over civil rights and race, the most determinative issue is attitudinal.  Without the ADA, ignorance about the abilities and potential of persons with disabilities would be far more pervasive,'' Gallagher says.  The progress since Bush signed the measure in the summer of 1990 has been notable.  Moreover, auguring well for the future, there's a generational divide, with younger people far more comfortable and accepting of those with disabilities.

Yet the most remarkable change has been for those most affected.

“The ADA has helped disabled people think about their status as a measure of civil rights and equality, not simply as a medical or social welfare policy,'' Imparato says. “The ADA has given us the right to talk about our disabilities and not be ashamed.''

Albert R. Hunt is the executive editor for Washington at Bloomberg News.  This article was reprinted from the Miami Herald edition of July 27, 2010.



The following newspaper article is about our longtime member, Leonard Wein.  He has done a remarkable amount of work as an activist for disabled access and he has taken a remarkable amount of very nasty, absurd criticism.  Many kudos to our good friend, Lenny, and long may he wave!!!!!

Palm City Man Raises Ire While Increasing Access for Disabled

He has been called every name in the book.  Extortionist.  Pain in the butt.  A more profane version of “pain in the butt.”  Some critics have made cracks about Leonard Wein’s last name.  You can imagine how those went over.  But the western Palm City resident has not let the abuse deter him.  Thirteen years after he started suing local governments and businesses over their lack of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, he’s still at it.  “I have no regrets in doing what I did,”  Wein told me. “And if I had to do it all over again, I would.”

Wein, who is 64, has a form of muscular dystrophy known as peroneal muscular atrophy.  The disease has weakened muscles in the lower portions of his arms and legs.  Some of his fingers curl inward, prohibiting him from grasping a pen or turning the knob on a faucet.  When he was diagnosed in 1980, his doctor told him he would be wheelchair-bound within six years.  Today, he can still manage short distances with a cane, but a motorized scooter is his mode of transport for most ventures outside his home.

I sat down with Wein this week, which marks the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, to talk about why he has devoted so much of his retirement to crusading for accessible bathrooms, parks and other facilities.  In other words, to talk about the things he’s been such a pest about.  Wein has single-handedly riled elected officials and business owners over his insistence the ADA be enforced.  The federal law made it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities and required public facilities and businesses to accommodate people with disabilities.  When it was enacted in 1990, Wein thought, “This is great.  I don’t have to worry.”  He figured everyone would comply with the law without a problem.  Boy, was he wrong.

After he moved to Martin County 18 years ago, he set out to make things right.  Wein first sued Martin County in 1997 over access to sidewalks, beaches and public restrooms.  He lodged another suit in 2008 over lack of access at the Martin County Fairgrounds.  In the end, the county improved access at all of the facilities — even the beaches, where special mats are now available to accommodate wheelchairs.  St. Lucie County became a target in 2006 when Wein couldn’t sit near his friends at the county-owned spring training camp now known as Digital Domain Park.  The county settled with him and built more accessible features.  The City of Stuart got its turn in 2002, when Wein sued over public restrooms and parks.  The following year, the city went a step further, passing an ordinance requiring sidewalks to remain uncluttered.

Wein says he always sends a letter or makes a few phone calls first.  But when the polite approach doesn’t work, he knows he has the legal weight of the ADA behind him.  He doesn’t limit his ire to governments either.  He has sued restaurants and strip-mall owners.  He has taken on corporate giants including Target and the mother-of-all-retailers, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.  He has been party to 38 suits in Southern District of Florida alone.  Just this year, Wein sued Delray Honda in Palm Beach County.  He cited shortcomings including a lack of handrails and a too-high urinal.

These things seem nitpicky — until you’re the one in a wheelchair or scooter.  Then they are essential to your independence.  Wein doesn’t make any money off of the suits, but he hasn’t lost any either.  When he wins or settles (and he always does), his attorneys fees are covered.  His ultimate goal also is achieved: the disabled gain access.

Next time you stroll the sidewalks in downtown Stuart, think of Wein.  If you ever find yourself in a wheelchair or on crutches, you’ll have an easier time getting around because he raised such a stink.  Think of him — just don’t curse his name. He gets enough of that.

Eve Samples is a columnist for Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers.  This column reflects her opinion.  For more on Martin County topics, follow her blog at  Contact her at (772) 221-4217 or



The following interview by Judy Woodruff was aired on PBS TV


ANALYSIS    AIR DATE: July 26, 2010

20 Years After ADA, Accessibility Remains 'An Evolutionary Process'


Twenty years after the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted, the effects can be seen across the country in curb cuts, lifts on buses and so on. Judy Woodruff speaks with Andrew Imparato of the American Association of People with Disabilities and Amelia Wallrich, a student who says she continues to face discrimination.


JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight: looking at what the Americans with Disabilities Act changed 20 years ago, and the challenges that remain today.

o        LINDA ANDRE, Americans with Disabilities Act Advocate: This is where we blocked the buses. 

On July 5, 1978, Linda Andre rolled her wheelchair off the curb and on to Denver's busy West Colfax Avenue, and sat there in the heat for two days.  She was one of 19 protesters who blocked downtown bus traffic to call attention to dismal access to public transit for the city's disabled.  It was part of a long buildup of frustration and protests among people with disabilities who sought better access to travel, jobs and activities.

LINDA ANDRE: We did sit-ins in Washington.  We did everything we could, locally, on a local level, with our legislature and the senators and -- to get it passed.  We just wouldn't be quiet.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Twenty years ago today, things began to change when President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law.


GEORGE H.W. BUSH, Former President of the United States:  You have called for new sources of workers.  Well, many of our fellow citizens with disabilities are unemployed.  They want to work, and they can work.  And this is a tremendous pool of people.


JUDY WOODRUFF: That landmark law established access as a basic right and made it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities.  It led to more ramps and lifts to improve entrance to public buses and buildings, curb cuts at intersection and Braille on signs.

DAWN RUSSELL, Denver ADAPT: Oh, look at this. This is Lonnie (ph).

JUDY WOODRUFF: Dawn Russell works for the group Denver ADAPT, where office walls chronicle 35 years of the disability movement.

DAWN RUSSELL, Denver ADAPT: The ADA didn't come easy, and it didn't come because politicians thought it was a good idea.  It came because people with disabilities fought and said, we're going to be equal.  We're going to have access.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Fifty-one million Americans -- that's 18 percent of the population -- have at least one disability.  Half of that group have severe disabilities.  And nearly 11 million need personal assistants with daily living skills.

But advocates for the disabled say much work remains to be done.  More than half of Americans with disabilities are unemployed.  Many live unwillingly in nursing homes, because they can't afford needed aid.

Today and over the weekend, the law's anniversary and its accomplishment was celebrated around the country.  In Denver, people turned out at the city's Botanic Garden on Saturday for socializing, speeches and performers.  In Boise, Idaho, today, hundreds circled the capitol building.

The date was noted in the nation's capital as well.  On Capitol Hill, Democrat James Langevin of Rhode Island, who was paralyzed in a shooting accident 30 years ago, became the first lawmaker to preside over the House of Representatives in a wheelchair.

For more now on the impact of the ADA and what more could still be done, we are joined by Andrew Imparato.  He's president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, a nonprofit advocacy organization for the disability community.  And Amelia Wallrich, a student at the University of Illinois, this summer, she is interning at the office of Senator Dick Durbin.

Thank you both for being with us.

Andy Imparato, how much difference has the ADA made?

ANDREW IMPARATO, president & CEO, American Association of People with Disabilities: You know, I think it's been 20 years, and the difference has been gradual.  So, it is hard, I think, sometimes to remember how inaccessible this country was 20 years ago.

One of my favorite examples is buses that people take to get around cities.  And it was appropriate that you showed ADAPT, because that was the group that really lead that effort. When the ADA passed...


ANDREW IMPARATO: Absolutely, in Denver.

When the ADA passed, less than 5 percent of buses were accessible for people in wheelchairs.  Today, over 95 percent are accessible.  That happened in 20 years.  And that's just one of many examples where the ADA said, when you are doing something new, you need to build in accessibility.  And it's been an evolutionary process, but our country is much more accessible today than it was 20 years ago.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, it has changed the lives of people with disabilities?

ANDREW IMPARATO: It's changed the lives of people.  You know, if you are a parent pushing a stroller, if you are pulling a roller bag behind you, if you are a delivery person delivering something, you are using all of those features that are there because of the ADA.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Amelia Wallrich, you are a young woman in college.  How has it changed your life?  And you use a wheelchair, a scooter.  How has it changed your life?  What have you seen?

AMELIA WALLRICH, student, University of Illinois: Growing up, I grew up in a very conservative community, where disability wasn't embraced as it has been in more recent years, as I have gotten to college.

So, the thing for me has really been about pride in the disability community and pride in my disability experience, and noticing that it isn't something I have to compensate for.  It's a unique perspective that adds to the human experience.

And so, for me, joining the disability community and embracing it has really been about pride and the way that the ADA breaks down barriers, so that I can embrace that pride.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Andy Imparato, how do you see a change for the younger generation and those older Americans?

ANDREW IMPARATO: Well, I love that we get to do a congressional internship program and an IT internship program every summer where I have 18 new college students with disabilities every summer who come to Washington.  Amelia is in the program this summer.

And, every year, they impress me with how high their expectations are for themselves, how broad their visions are for what they can hope to achieve personally and professionally, how much they learn from each other and go to bat for each other over the course of the summer.

So, to me, it just gets me excited.  I think we do have a generation coming through college right now that has very high expectations for themselves and will push even more rapid changes moving forward.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Amelia, what do you see as the challenges out there? I mean, you are a college student.  And I understand you are interested in being a lawyer.  You have been looking into law school entrance exams.


JUDY WOODRUFF: Talk about that.

AMELIA WALLRICH: The biggest challenges are getting people to recognize that the ADA and disability access isn't just an issue for the disability community.  It's a human rights issue. And, therefore, we need to be joined by the able-bodied community.

As a disabled person, it shouldn't just be me fighting.  It should be my family and my friends recognizing that, because I am discriminated against, that they are as well.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And how would you -- and, for example, in trying to take the law school entrance exam, the LSAT, what have you faced?

AMELIA WALLRICH: Yes. I have had a set of accommodations I have used my entire educational career that is backed up and supported by doctors and disability specialists.

But the LSAT commission feels that they know better, that they know my disability better than I do that I have experienced for 21 years.  And they have decided to deny me accommodations.

This puts a huge roadblock in the future that I have planned, that I have expected, that I have worked for, for the last 21 years.  And so it needs to be about education, that -- the fact that I know my disability experience, and that my doctor knows my disability experience.  And, therefore, I should be allowed the accommodations and the equal opportunity to pursue my future that I have been planning out.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Andy Imparato, does the ADA give -- is that a tool for someone like Amelia, who is interested in going to law school, becoming a lawyer?

ANDREW IMPARATO: Absolutely.  The ADA is a federal civil rights law.  So, there are a lot of entities that may prefer not to comply with the ADA, but it's not an option.  It's a law for the whole country.

I think one of our challenges, as we celebrate 20 years, is that there are still institutions in this country that are not embracing their responsibilities under the ADA.  And you would think that an organization that promotes justice and access to justice would be a model, but, in my experience, it's somewhat unpredictable which groups are going to embrace their responsibilities and which aren't.

AAPD has had a great experience working with Wal-Mart recently, but I know a lot of folks would say, they wouldn't expect leadership from Wal-Mart.  They would expect leadership from the bar.  But, sometimes, the bar, you know, erects unnecessary barriers.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Andy Imparato, talk about the employment barriers out there.  I mean, we cited these just stunning statistics earlier.  Over 50 percent of people with disabilities can't find a job.

ANDREW IMPARATO: That's right.  And that number has been relatively flat for the last 20 years.  And I know Senator Harkin, who is a big champion for the ADA, is concerned about that. I know Senator Dole, another champion, is concerned.

I think, you know, one of the reasons why we are not seeing more movement in employment is I think, as a country, we still don't really expect people with disabilities to work.  I will give you a recent example.  During health care reform, they were debating a provision in the bill that made it into the final bill that would enable people to keep their personal care attendant services and work at the same time.

And a senator said in a close-door meeting, well, people with disabilities don't work, do they?

And this just happened.  So, I really feel like we still have some work to do.  And that's why we're excited that President Obama is releasing a PSA today that's going to air all over the country, both on television and radio, because I think we need that kind of leadership to help educate people about what the expectations are that people with disabilities have for ourselves and why it good for the country when we are working and we are participating fully.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Amelia Wallrich, what are concrete things you want to see happen in your lifetime that aren't out there right now?

AMELIA WALLRICH: I want to see more compliance, a lot more universal design. I see a lot of businesses moving into old buildings or constructing new buildings, even, without paying attention to how it can be accessible until the final decisions of the plans.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Because, right now, there are still buildings that you can't get into.


Like, I mean, I go to U-of-I, University of Illinois, in Urbana-Champaign.  We're one of the most accessible campuses.  But, when I go to town, there's only select bars or restaurants or various things I can go to.  And that affects my social life, as a college student, which is a big part of the college experience.

And even building new school buildings, they kind of think about it last minute, instead of thinking about it from the beginning, thinking, how can we make sure that this building is accessible for all? How can we make sure that this space works for everyone?

JUDY WOODRUFF: Andy Imparato, translate that. Put that on the national scale.  What is it like across the country in terms of accessibility today?

ANDREW IMPARATO: Well, keep in mind that the ADA required more from new construction or major renovations.  So, in parts of the country that have had a lot of new construction, there's a lot more accessibility.  That tends to be urban areas that are doing well, that can afford to do that kind of development.

But there are still lots of parts of this country that have major barriers to accessibility.  And I think that's going to get better over time, but it is going to require leadership at the local level.  For people to embrace the fact that we have an aging population and we make these improvements, we're enabling everybody in our community to participate more fully.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Main challenge for you and the disability community going forward?

ANDREW IMPARATO: You know, I would say our biggest challenge is a political one.  You know, we want elected officials at all levels to take us seriously as a voting bloc, as a political constituency.

And I feel like, when that happens, we will get farther along in terms of the vision of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  We have had wonderful people, like former President Bush, who signed the law, Bob Dole, Tom Harkin, Ted Kennedy, Steny Hoyer, Tony Coelho, all these amazing leaders who did this because they knew it was the right thing to do.

We have yet to have somebody do it because they are afraid of us as a voting bloc.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And you are saying that is one of your goals?



JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, as I sit across from the table from you, I don't feel afraid, but...

JUDY WOODRUFF: ... but I understand what you are saying.

Andy Imparato, Amelia Wallrich, thank you very much, both of you.







Membership – We now have 947 members representing 47 states and Puerto Rico.  We are also proud to claim members in Canada, Hong Kong, Australia.  Our Board of Directors stands at 31, our Executive Committee at 6, our Attorneys represent 4 law firms and our Consultants number 6.  We want to acknowledge here our debt to the members of our Board of Directors and our Executive Committee for their support, their encouragement and their many kinds of contributions to our goals.  Most particularly, we want to express our appreciation to our First Vice-President, Marla Dumas, for assuming that mantle of responsibility.   Above all, our deepest appreciation goes to the attorneys and consultants who handle all our cases.  Contrary to what is widely believed by the public, these are professionals who, although they earn their livings, in part, through these efforts, are primarily attracted to this work by their belief in and dedication to our mission!

Finally, we would be quite remiss if we failed to mention the enormous contributions of our computer consultants, Gregory Arkin and Alain Ginzberg, without whom we would not be able to function!  Above all, I want to express my everlasting gratitude to our assistant extraordinaire, Thomas Miller, for undertaking the task of composing and typing the bulk of this newsletter and for so much more.   Without him this publication would be impossible to achieve!


Since our September Newsletter, Access Now, Inc.® has made progress in settling cases in several states.  We have filed a total of 977 cases since our inception.  Presently, there are 149 cases with outstanding Settlement Agreements, requiring alterations or modifications which in several cases should be completed by August 15, 2010, or later.  (Cases involving hospitals and other large or complex facilities have post-settlement compliance completion dates much further in the future.)

During the past seven months, Access Now has entered into 24 additional settlements to make properties A.D.A.-compliant.  They include:


Hospitals                                 22

Government                              2


Access Now® continues to assert itself nationally in scope.  The 9 states in which cases have been settled in the last seven months range from the Southeast to the Pacific shore.  Our headquarters state of Florida accounted for 16.7% of settlements over that time.

We will keep expanding our geographical presence as best we can as we continue to receive requests for information and assistance from around the country and internationally.  Please notify us if you become aware of situations where access continues to be denied.  We remain solidly in the forefront of the fight for accessibility.

The following is a brief listing of the cases that have been settled since our last newsletter:


City of Huntsville                                                         Huntsville, AL

City of Ada/Oklahoma Dept of Transportation          Ada, OK


Hospitals   (# of beds)


Community Hospital   (389)

New Port Richey


Palmyra Medical Center  (248)



Spring Branch Medical Center, Inc.   (106)



Regional Medical Center of San Jose   (204)

San Jose


Trident Regional Medical Center & Summerville Medical Center   (396)



Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center   (730)

Las Vegas


West Hills Hospital and Medical Center   (236)

West Hills


West Hills Surgery Center    (0)

West Hills


Alaska Regional Hospital   (250)



Dominion Hospital   (100)

Falls Church


Tulane Medical Center   (235)

New Orleans


Research Belton Hospital   (71)



Coastal Carolina Hospital   (41)



Frye Regional Medical Center   (355)



Good Samaritan Medical Center   (326)

West Palm Beach


Hahnemann University Hospital   (496)



Hialeah Hospital   (396)



Houston Northwest Medical Center   (514)



Placentia-Linda Hospital   (114)



Saint Francis Hospital   (519)



St. Mary’s Medical Center    (463)

West Palm Beach


East Cooper Medical Center   (140)

Mt. Pleasant



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NOTABLE CASES – There are some cases that are especially important because of their value as precedents or because they remove significant numbers or types of barriers.  Several of those types of cases are listed below.  Please remember that most defendants in non-class action cases insist on confidentiality as a condition of signing settlement agreements.  Therefore, we cannot discuss those cases by name, although they number quite a few.  However, several of them are included in the cases listed above. 

1.                  Hospitals – We continue to make significant progress in this area.  The total of 22 Tenet Healthcare Corporation and Children’s Health Corporation of America (CHCA) facilities listed in this newsletter brings to 187 the total adjudicated at Fair Hearings over the past two years.  The 22 facilities have a total of 6,329 beds in thirteen states.  As a consequence over 37,000 beds have now been made accessible or are in the process of being made accessible because of our legal action.

We continue to be actively involved in cases involving medical institutions because of our strong belief that they constitute one of the most important ways to enhance the quality of life of the disabled community.  These hospital settlements will make a great difference to members of our community.  The settlements show that the ADA can work when there are dedicated advocates and attorneys using it for our benefit. 

2.                  City of Huntsville, Alabama A $1.2 million legal settlement approved by the Huntsville City Council on May 27th will greatly improve handicapped access to the city-owned Von Braun Center.  The city will create dozens of new handicapped parking spaces around the Center, lower sinks, toilets and baby changing stations in restrooms, place Braille signs on elevators, improve wheelchair seating and provide "assistive listening systems" in the arena, concert hall, playhouse and exhibit halls.

3.                  City of Ada, Oklahoma –This case also includes the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (OK DOT).  OK DOT is giving the City of Ada $30,000 to provide curb ramps and curb cuts along Highway 99 in the city.  The city and OK DOT will also work together to modify a major intersection along the highway.  OK DOT will provide an additional $100,000 for this project to increase accessibility.  Finally, the City of Ada will spend $50,000 each fiscal year for ADA accessibility construction, repairs, maintenance or improvements beginning July 1, 2010.  This represents an excellent outcome extending accessibility in Ada, Oklahoma.


OTHER LEGAL MATTERS: We want to keep you informed about important recent litigation around the country, of which you might not be aware, as well as to update information from our previous newsletters affecting the rights of the disabled.  We think it is important for our members to keep abreast of successes realized by and within the disabled community, whether accomplished by Access Now or by other organizations.  We are all in this fight together! 


Starbucks to Pay $80,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A Starbucks store in Russellville, Arkansas will pay $80,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC’s suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, at Little Rock, charged that Starbucks failed to hire Chuck Hannay because of his multiple sclerosis.  According to the EEOC, Hannay applied for one of six open barista positions but was never contacted for an interview.  The EEOC alleged that individuals with less experience and availability were hired instead of Hannay.  Such conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employment discrimination based on a person’s disability.

In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree approved by U.S. District Judge Brian Miller enjoins Starbucks from discriminating on the bases of disability and retaliation.  Further, the decree requires the company to provide training to its managers and assistant managers on disability discrimination, to submit two reports to the EEOC on the training and about any complaints, and to post a notice reinforcing the company’s policies on the ADA.  Starbucks will also make a good-faith effort to hire individuals with disabilities at its Russellville location by notifying Arkansas Rehabilitation Services of all job openings.

“People with disabilities should have equal opportunities for employment,” said Regional Attorney Faye A. Williams of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and certain counties in Mississippi.  “This case demonstrates the EEOC’s commitment to combating discrimination that prevents individuals with disabilities from taking their rightful place in the work force.”

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NAD Sues Wells Fargo/Wachovia over Failure to Accept Relay Calls

August 2009

By Char and Larry Sivertson, Hearing Loss Web -

You'd think that by now everyone would know that accepting relay calls is not only the right thing to do, but is legally mandated throughout the US.  Apparently that's not the case, and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is doing something about it!

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The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) has received many complaints about banks that refuse to accept telephone calls made through relay services.  When advocacy efforts do not result in appropriate policy changes, sometimes the only thing left to do is to file a lawsuit in court. In the case of banks not accepting relay calls, the NAD says, "enough is enough."  The NAD and Advocacy, Inc. filed a lawsuit on behalf of Amy Baxter against Wells Fargo.

The lawsuit alleges that Wells Fargo does not accept relay calls. As a result, individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, such as Ms. Baxter, are not able to place relay calls to Wells Fargo to obtain information that is available and accessible to hearing individuals over the phone.  Refusing to accept relay calls deprives deaf and hard of hearing people of their right to equal access, equal opportunity, and effective communication.  Because Wells Fargo does not accept relay calls, Ms. Baxter claims that Wells Fargo is in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  The lawsuit was filed with the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio.

“The ADA mandated nationwide telecommunications relay services so that deaf and hard of hearing people can have equal access to the telephone network," said Michael Stein, attorney for the NAD.  "The Federal Communications Commission has repeatedly explained that relay services are the functional equivalent of telephone services.  If a bank accepts telephone calls, then it must also accept relay calls.”

“Deaf people, just like hearing people, need to be able to call banks and other financial institutions,” said P. Faye Kuo, an attorney with Advocacy, Inc.  "We expect that banks will treat deaf people and hearing people equally in accepting all telephone calls, including relay calls."  The lawsuit asks the court to order Wells Fargo to accept relay calls from deaf and hard of hearing people, as well as people who have speech impairments.

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New Rule Extends Disability Protections to Passenger Ships & Boats

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced the first federal rule to specifically provide Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protections to people with disabilities who travel on boats and ships.  The rule applies to two categories of vessels – vessels operated by public entities, such as public ferry systems, and vessels operated by private entities that are mainly in the business of transporting people, such as cruise ships.  Under the rule, vessel operators cannot charge extra for accessibility-related services to passengers, cannot require passengers to furnish their own attendants, and cannot deny access to passengers based on disability.  U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regulations will cover a third category of vessels not covered by the DOT rules – those operated by private entities not primarily engaged in the business of transporting people, such as fishing charters and dinner cruise boats.  The new DOT rule will become effective 120 days after it is published.  We would like to thank member Joy Tuscherer for this update.  For additional information you can visit the DOT website at 2010/dot11710.html

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Steve Gold’s “Treasured Nuggets of Information”

Steve Gold is very informed and active regarding issues of Medicare, Medicaid and Home Health Care.  Mr. Gold is a treasure trove of information, and we strongly suggest that you take the time to view his website at  We especially recommend two articles from the April 2010 issue of “Treasured Nuggets of Information”:


Information Bulletin #307U.S. Department of Justice Speech:  Applicable Throughout the Country


Information Bulletin # 206 – Targeting  Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to People on SSI?


Steve Gold, The Disability Odyssey continues.

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New Publication:  Access to Medical Care for Individuals with Mobility Disabilities

The US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, has issued a new technical assistance publication titled, "Access to Medical Care for Individuals with Mobility Disabilities".  This 19-page publication provides guidance for medical care professionals on the ADA's requirement to provide accessible health care to individuals with mobility disabilities and includes an overview of general ADA requirements, commonly asked questions, and illustrated examples of accessible facilities, examination rooms, and medical equipment.  It is available on-line at:

ADA-OHIO (The Americans with Disabilities Act)

700 Morse Road, Suite 220, Columbus, OH 43214


614-844-5537 FAX

ADA-OHIO is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization supported by DBTAC - Great Lakes ADA Center and by Community Shares of Mid-Ohio.

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OFCCP Getting Serious About VETS & Disability Obligations

Although the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) stepped up enforcement of the Rehabilitation Act and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) toward the end of the Bush administration, those efforts pale in comparison with the Obama administration’s stated agenda.  Patricia Shiu, the new Assistant Secretary over the OFCCP, has announced increased focus on enforcement regarding veterans and disabled workers.  Contending that the agency had done “literally nothing” for the past eight years in the area of veterans and disability, Shiu promises change.

Covered federal contractors and subcontractors are required to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, train, and retain individuals with disabilities and certain categories of veterans.  These obligations have, however, previously taken a back seat to enforcement of Executive Order 11246, which requires the same affirmative action for females and minorities.  Executive Order 11246 requires a detailed analysis of the race and gender demographics in an employer’s workforce, as well as employment activity and compensation practices.  Where unexplained areas of disparate impact exist, contractors are often required to pay large amounts in monetary penalties.

By contrast, under the Rehabilitation Act and VEVRAA, contractors are not required to conduct any such analysis, primarily because of the lack of comparative data for individuals with disabilities and veterans.  In the past, the OFCCP’s enforcement of the Rehabilitation Act and VEVRAA has included little more than requesting documentation of contractors’ good-faith efforts to recruit individuals with disabilities and veterans during the course of a compliance review.  Without the analyses, there is also no possibility of monetary recovery.

The OFCCP now says that it will “solicit recommendations from unions, civil rights groups, community-based organizations and other stakeholders which are designed to ensure that the regulations [implementing the Rehabilitation Act and VEVRAA] are responsive to stakeholder needs and concerns.”  To this end, the OFCCP has been conducting town hall meetings and “listening sessions” to gather comments from the public regarding possible changes to its regulations.  Shiu has said that the agency intends to publish proposed regulations updating contractor requirements under these laws in December 2010. There is speculation that the new regulations will require contractors to analyze their recruitment and hiring efforts with respect to individuals with disabilities and covered veterans, and to establish numerical goals for these groups, as is currently required for females and minorities.

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2010 ADA Anniversary Tool Kit Available Online

Improvements in voluntary ADA compliance have been achieved through collaborative efforts by national, regional and local Partners and the ADA National Network. See the 2010 ADA Anniversary Tool Kit online at






Overview of Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA)

Overview of ADA and ADAAA [PDF file]

Overview of ADA and ADAAA [Text file]

Overview of ADA and ADAAA [Large Print PDF file]

ADA - Findings, Purpose, and History

ADA - Findings, Purpose, and History  [PDF file]

ADA - Findings, Purpose, and History  [Text file]

ADA - Findings, Purpose, and History  [Large Print PDF file]

ADA from a Civil Rights Perspective

ADA from a Civil Rights Perspective [PDF file]

ADA from a Civil Rights Perspective [Text file]

ADA from a Civil Rights Perspective [Large Print PDF file]

ADA Resources and Publications

ADA Resources and Publications [PDF file]

ADA Resources and Publications [Text file]

ADA Resources and Publications [Large Print PDF file]

ADA and Olmstead Resources

ADA and Olmstead Resources [PDF file]

ADA and Olmstead Resources [Text file]

ADA and Olmstead Resources [Large Print PDF file]

ADA Amendments Act of 2008 Summary and Resources

ADAAA Summary and Resources [PDF file]

ADAAA Summary and Resources [Text file]

ADAAA Summary and Resources [Large Print PDF file]

National ADA Initiatives

National ADA Initiatives  [PDF file]

National ADA Initiatives  [Text file]

National ADA Initiatives  [Large Print PDF file]

Statistics You Can Use

Statistics You Can Use [PDF file]

Statistics You Can Use [Text file]

Statistics You Can Use [Large Print PDF file]

White House Agenda on Disabilities

White House Agenda on Disabilities [PDF file]

White House Agenda on Disabilities [Text file]

White House Agenda on Disabilities [Large Print PDF file]

Tips on Writing a News Release

Tips on Writing a News Release [PDF file]

Tips on Writing a News Release [Text file]

Tips on Writing a News Release [Large Print PDF file]

Sample Proclamation: ADA Anniversary

Sample Proclamation:  ADA Anniversary  [PDF file]

Sample Proclamation:  ADA Anniversary  [Text file]

Sample Proclamation:  ADA Anniversary  [Large Print PDF file]

Sign the 2010 by 2010 ADA Proclamation

Sign 2010 by 2010 ADA Proclamation [PDF file]

Sign 2010 by 2010 ADA Proclamation [Text file]

Sign 2010 by 2010 ADA Proclamation [Large Print PDF file]

You TubeADA 20th Anniversary Video

Southeast Region Supplement - ADA Toolkit

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Duplication and sharing is encouraged; please include:

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Universal Design (UD) is an issue increasingly in the news as the baby-boom generation begins retiring.  Access Now, Inc.® presents the following article by author Tom Kelly as part of our ongoing discussion of this topic.

Universal design hitting home

Rising long-term care costs fuel demand for aging-in-place modifications

By Tom Kelly          Inman News

Builders are doing an admirable job of incorporating universal design features in new homes, but baby boomers continue to be slow in accepting the need for them.  Perhaps you know the type . . . people who do not want to accept the fact that they will eventually get old.

“I think universal design features can be likened to the first cell phones,” said John Migliaccio, director of research at MetLife’s Mature Market Institute.  “At first, very few people used them. Now, they are ubiquitous.  In fact, every kid has one. Consumers haven’t really gotten the message on universal design, but we feel they will.”

The slow acceptance is not unlike the responses to environmentally friendly homes.  For example, only 12 percent of respondents to a Metlife survey said they would pay more for a “green” home.  The same folks are willing to pay an average one-time amount of $6,732 if it would save $1,000 annually in utility costs.  While another 23 percent of respondents said they are concerned about the environment, it does not drive their decision to purchase.

The educational push by builders, architects and designers is to remove the “old” association from universal design, also known as “UD”.  Universal design advocates that all built environments not only be accessible to people regardless of age, size or physical ability, but also that the features of these environments be compelling and appear seamless to the design of the home.  These amenities and alternations can serve all ages, hence its name.

Builders are striving to create universal design applications that make it easier for someone to carry out daily activities such as preparing meals, climbing stairs and bathing, as well as changing the physical structure of a home to improve its overall safety and condition.  These attractive amenities no longer sing out “An old person lives here!” – and they can also enhance the resale value of the home.

The tools needed for homeowners to stay in their homes longer – or “age in place” – were brought to the forefront of the building community as a result of a cost survey of nursing homes, assisted-living communities, home care agencies, and adult day care services in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., that included national figures and data from 87 individual markets across the country.  For nursing homes, private-pay rates for long-term (custodial) nursing care were obtained for both private and semi-private rooms throughout the U.S.

The Met Life study, produced by LifePlans Inc., was conducted by telephone between July and October 2009.  Here are the key elements of the survey:

·         National average rates for a private room in a nursing home increased by 3.3 percent from $212 daily (or $77,380 annually) in 2008 to $219 daily (or $79,935 annually) in 2009. National average rates for a semi-private room in a nursing home increased by 3.7 percent from $191 daily (or $69,715 annually) in 2008 to $198 daily (or $72,270 annually) in 2009.

·         National average assisted-living base rates increased by 3.3 percent, from $3,031 monthly (or $36,372 annually) in 2008 to $3,131 monthly (or $37,572 annually) in 2009.

·         The 2009 national average hourly rate for home health aides increased by 5 percent, from $20 in 2008 to $21 in 2009. The national average hourly rate for homemaker/companions increased by 5.6 percent from $18 in 2008 to $19 in 2009.

·         Adult day care services national average daily rates increased by 4.7 percent from $64 in 2008 to $67 in 2009.

At assisted-living communities, costs were obtained for room and board (at least two meals per day, housekeeping and personal care) in one-bedroom apartments or private rooms with private baths.  Home care rates were based on hourly rates for home health aides at licensed agencies and agency-provided homemaker/companion services.  Adult day-service costs reflect daily rates at licensed facilities for the majority, though licensing requirements vary by state.

The bottom line is that there are not enough nursing homes to accommodate baby boomers’ future needs . . . even if they could afford the care.  It's about cost and space.  So, a good look at incorporating universal design applications may be just what the doctor ordered.


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Seeking Knowledge?  Get Involved in Disability Policy Forums

The Disability Policy Forums, sponsored by the Cornell University Employment Policy Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) in collaboration with the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), are held quarterly in Washington, DC.  The topical theme of each Forum is discussed by nationally and internationally renowned scholars, activists, and policy makers.  The purpose of these forums is to raise awareness of important disability policy issues and to teach the public how to participate in disability policy debates in informed ways.

Recent forums have included topics such as “New Directions for Federal Contractors and Disability Affirmative Action”, “ODEP Update: New Directions for the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the Department of Labor” and “National Health Care Reform: What’s at Stake and Where are the Opportunities to Improve Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities?”. 

The EDI advances knowledge, policies, and practices to enhance the opportunities of people with disabilities through our projects, training, technical assistance, research and publications.  For more information contact Susanne M. Bruyere, Ph.D., Cornell University Employment and Disability Institute (EDI), 201 Dolgen Hall, Ithaca, New York 14853, (607) 255-7727, (607) 255-2763 fax, (607) 255-2891 TYY,,

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This is an article that will resonate with many of us.  If you are receiving this newsletter in the hardcopy version, but do have a computer, you can paste the link into your browser to read Ms. Bartlett’s complaint.

Courtesy for the Disabled

The New York Times, June 11, 2010

To the Editor:

Re “Slightly Disabled, Not Helpless or Dumb” (Complaint Box, June 6):

As the only elected official to my knowledge in the country with cerebral palsy, I read with interest Jennifer Bartlett’s account of dealing with people who have no idea how to behave toward people with disabilities.  Unfortunately, I have faced many of the same issues.

Ordinary New Yorkers expect to be treated according to a simple standard of common courtesy and respect, and those of us with disabilities are no different. Yet too often we are confronted by strangers who make bizarrely inappropriate comments or offer unnecessary and unasked-for expressions of sympathy.  There is a double standard here — as if we are not entitled to the same basic consideration taken for granted by others in their daily interactions.

While I work hard to ensure that the principle of equality is incorporated into public policy, Ms. Bartlett’s column is a reminder that equality begins with respect for people’s differences, and with overcoming deep-seated preconceptions about people with disabilities.

Micah Z. Kellner

Assemblyman, 65th District

Albany, NY June 8, 2010


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These items were brought to our attention by our members. 

Watch Blind Golfers as seen on "Sunday Morning"

Follow the link below to see that a disability does not trump a passion.

This item was brought to our attention by member R. David New, Ability Explosion 2010. In addition to being the visionary behind Ability Explosion, David is also Chairperson of the  Disability Access Committee of the City of Miami Beach, a post which my late husband, Edward S. Resnick, held for 7 years. David is a worthy successor and a dynamite young man!  Access Now, Inc. ® works closely with Ability Explosion.    

You can contact David at: 

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +  + + + + + + + +

Ability Explosion 2010 Takes Aim at Miami Beach

Ability Explosion is a weeklong series of special events held in historic Miami Beach from October 19th thru 24th and created for the enjoyment of the entire community.  From "Lights Out Miami Beach" (a dining in the dark experience) to the Crunch Fitness 5k Run, the mission of Ability Explosion is to celebrate the diversity of people with disabilities while promoting innovations that will improve their lives.  Ability Explosion is sponsored by the Miami Beach Disability Access Committee.  The Committee wants you to share in its vision for not only enriching the lives of disabled people, but also the lives of people everywhere.

Events include a Music Symposium featuring musical performances put on by members of the disabled community; “Lights Out Miami Beach”, a unique simulation that teaches people what it’s like to experience the tastes, the sounds and the energy of a great restaurant without ever seeing it; the Resource and Technology Expo showcasing the latest technologies and products designed to improve the lives of people living with disabilities; the Crunch Fitness 5K Run, with members of the disabled community and the public at large invited to compete in the race taking place in beautiful South Beach; a golf challenge with both able-bodied and blind golfers taking part; a fashion show, Cooking Without Looking, art projects for the blind, a fashion show and a comedy event, at  which several professional comedians will perform and much, much more!  Access Now, Inc.® is delighted to be a sponsor of Ability Explosion.  We will keep you informed about the preparations for this exciting event, or you can visit  We strongly urge you to do so!






(a Florida not-for-profit, 501(c) 3 Corporation)

19333 West Country Club Drive #1522

Aventura, Florida 33180

Tel. 305-705-0059  Fax 305-792-2665               

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PLEASE SIGN!!!!!!!!!!

July, 2010

Dear Reader:

On this, the 20th anniversary of the passage of the ADA, we hope that, once again, you will enjoy reading our latest newsletter and that you would like to join us in our mission, our goal and our achievements.  (THERE IS NO FEE REQUIRED.  HOWEVER, TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS WILL BE MOST GRATEFULLY ACCEPTED.) Also, please let us remind you that our membership is open to both the able-bodied as well as to the disabled.

If you would like to become one among our growing list of members, please either fill out, SIGN and return the attached form to us or, preferably, you may fill out the form online by logging on to our website at and going to the “Membership” link.  (The latter method makes it much easier and quicker for us to enter you into our database and is therefore particularly helpful.) 


We are very proud of the strides we have made and we hope that we can count on you as one of our members and, in an abundance of optimism, we thank you in advance!

Most sincerely,


Access Now, Inc.®

Phyllis F. Resnick, President







Thank you all and please:













Access Now, Inc.®

Phyllis F. Resnick, President