AND NOW . . . THE UPDATE
We now have 901 members representing 47 states and Puerto Rico. We are also proud to claim members in Canada, Hong Kong, Australia and Pakistan.
A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF OUR LITIGATION
Since our September Newsletter, Access Now, Inc.® has made progress in settling cases. We have filed a total of 979 cases since our inception. Presently, there are 147 cases with outstanding Settlement Agreements, requiring alterations or modifications which in several cases should be completed by August 15, 2012, 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 five months, Access Now® has entered into 4 additional settlements to make properties A.D.A.-compliant. They include:
Medical Centers 1
Shopping Centers 1
Access Now® continues to assert itself nationally in scope. The 4 settlements are in Alabama, Florida and Tennessee.
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:
Knox County Knoxville, TN
Murdock Plaza Port Charlotte, FL
Port Charlotte Medical Pavilion Port Charlotte, FL
Pizza Hut Irondale, AL
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.
Knox County, Tennessee
This March 2012 settlement provides for the upgrading of five county parks and the City-County Government Building in Knoxville, Tennessee to remove architectural barriers that violate the ADA. The renovations will include ADA-compliant parking, accessible routes both indoors and outdoors and accessible toilets at all venues. The renovations are to be completed by October of this year. Our attorney Ed Zwilling did a great job in fighting to make these facilities accessible to all of the members of the Knoxville community.
The case was settled in March 2012, and the implementation of the agreement was completed in June. Our attorney, Charles Ferguson, did a great job in expeditiously moving this settlement to completion.
Port Charlotte Medical Pavilion
This case was settled in May of this year. Attorney Charles Ferguson once again succeeded in getting ADA architectural barriers removed in the settlement agreement. All remedial measures to remove the barriers are to be completed within 180 days of the agreement’s final approval by the court.
This is a settlement that provides increased access to this establishment. Although it is a single restaurant, the settlement will make life easier for disabled patrons. This is our mission.
NON-ACCESS NOW® LEGAL MATTERS
As usual, we want to keep you informed about important recent litigation around the country 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!
This is a great result by a Florida activist who demands that the State of Florida comply with the ADA.
Florida Capitol Complex to be ADA-Compliant Following Legal Settlement
TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Feb 23, 2012 (© BUSINESS WIRE 2012) — The State of Florida Capitol Complex will soon be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant following a settlement between an accessibility advocate and the Florida Department of Management Services. Denny Wood, president of the Florida Paraplegic Association, filed suit against the State of Florida last year seeking to address non-compliance with ADA accessibility requirements in various facilities, including the Capitol Complex which houses the state legislature, the executive offices of the governor and other state agencies. Examples of non-compliance include improperly designed restroom facilities and access ramps.
After mediation and extensive settlement discussions, Wood recently agreed with the Florida Department of Management Services (DMS) on the following actions:
- DMS will expend $1,178,577 in the current fiscal year to implement accessibility improvements to the state Capitol Complex and approximately 60 buildings under DMS management.
- DMS will complete ADA surveys in the 60 buildings it manages by October 30, 2012.
- By May of 2013, DMS will complete ADA Section 504 Transition Plans for each of the 60 buildings.
- DMS will survey the remaining buildings under its management for ADA compliance by July of 2013.
- After the surveys are completed, Section 504 Transition Plans will be completed for the remaining buildings by March 2014.
- DMS will request initiation and completion of ADA surveys and transition plans from other agencies under the governor’s directions by approximately May 7, 2012.
- DMS will make a good faith effort to adhere to the Florida Capitol Accessibility Study, which describes substantial construction needed to bring the Capitol Complex into compliance with ADA requirements. Furthermore, DMS will request $1 million per year for ADA repairs to be made pursuant to the Florida Capitol Accessibility Study.
- DMS through its leasing bureau by approximately August 7, 2012 will contact all state agency leasing coordinators advising them to include leasing specifications to require strict compliance with the ADA.
- Further, DMS will require ADA compliance in any master lease it manages in the future.
Mr. Wood was represented by Thomas M. David, a Homestead, Florida-based attorney.