Newsletter Update – October, 1999
We have inspected more than 250 public accommodations and have found substantial non-compliance in over 175 of them. We have settled or entered into settlement negotiations with the great majority of those, either by agreements brought about with or without lawsuits, or, where necessary, by active litigation which is generally resolved when the Defendants realize that it makes much more sense to spend their money on doing that which is legally required (as well as being the right thing to do) than on building up fees for lawyers and consultants.
Space, time and confidentiality preclude our listing all of our achievements. Following are some totals, including specified highlights:
HOTELS – MOTELS
Over 68, among them various Marriotts, Courtyard Inns, Fairfield Inns, Days Inns, Holiday Inns. Also, the Crowne Plaza in Sunny Isles, the Hollywood Beach Hotel, the Castle Hotel, Alexander, Albion, Crown, Sofitel, Everglades, Miami Airport Hilton, the Omni-Colonnade, Hyatt Regency, DuPont.
Over 22, among them various fast food establishments, such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Miami Subs. Also, several individually owned places on Lincoln Road, the Rascal House in Sunny Isles, Shula’s Steak House (Alexander Hotel), Biscayne Cafeteria, 11th St. Diner.
Over 20 – located in Miami Beach, Miami and Broward County.
Over 25, among them are 9 General Cinema, 5 AMC, 2 Muvico, 3 Silver and the remaining are independently owned.
Carnival Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Lines. (This includes all their ships which dock in Florida and possibly, all of the U.S.) There is no question that these ships do not presently comply with the ADA, although some are better than others. The big legal question is whether the ADA applies to foreign-flagged vessels and that question could conceivably wend its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The law firm which is handling these cases has agreed to take them that far, if necessary. Please bear in mind that, contrary to the opinion of some people, this is not all about making money for lawyers, because if we are not ultimately the prevailing party in these cases, the law firm which we have engaged in this instance would incur a substantial financial loss, rather than gain.
City of Miami City Hall, City of Miami Bayside Docks and Boats, Dade County Courthouse, City of Fort Lauderdale City Hall
Over 7 major shopping centers and malls
3 major hospitals in Miami Beach, more than 10 in Miami/Dade County, 1 in Broward County, 1 in Orange County. (However, hospital defendants insist upon confidentiality in the settlements which we have reached with them. As to those which have not yet been settled, but are in negotiation, we know that they will require confidentiality. Therefore, we are not at liberty to individually name them.)
MAJOR GROCERY STORE CHAINS
Various Winn-Dixie Markets and various Sedano’s markets
Hialeah Race Track and Calder Race Track
MISCELLANEOUS STORES, ETC.
More than 20 in Miami/Dade County
(In each category above, where you notice glaring omissions of high-profile entities, they have been sued by others.)
We find the accomplishments which we have just listed for you gratifying and we trust that you will, too!! In addition, we have reason to believe that some of our negotiations will result in our being able to achieve compliance under the law by HUNDREDS of facilities throughout the NATION!!
OUR NEED TO PROVE MEMBERSHIP
If you are pleased with what “Access Now” is doing, please RENEW your membership by FILLING OUT and SIGNING the enclosed membership form and mailing it back to us in the enclosed envelope. Our attorneys advise us that there may come a day when we are required to PROVE our membership list and this is most easily accomplished by your cooperation in FILLING OUT AND SIGNING the form and by ENCLOSING AT LEAST A $1.00 DONATION
OUR NEED FOR OPERATING FUNDS
We operate on a very slim budget and, so far, at a deficit. Any amount which you can donate is meaningful. (YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS ARE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE.)
OUR NEED FOR NATIONAL MEMBERSHIP
We are also hard at work creating several nationwide, class-action suits against some extremely high-profile, major entities, the names of which we are not free to divulge at this time, again due to confidentiality demands. However, in order to bring these cases into full judicial certification, we need to become a national organization, with members in as many of the 50 states as possible. (Without that it is highly unlikely that a “class” will be certified.) Although members need not be disabled in any way, we do, however, need members who are disabled in each of the three major categories of disability; i.e., mobility, hearing and vision. Within each of those categories we need to demonstrate the various degrees of disability (requiring the use of a wheelchair, walker, crutches, cane) arising from a variety of causes; visual impairment ranging from mild to total and hearing impairment ranging from mild to total.
FIRST STEP TO NATIONAL MEMBERSHIP
(How you can help)
Here’s an easy way for us to become a national organization: we have included at the end of this report a copy of a letter which we URGE you to send to your personal list of friends and family (unless you prefer to draft your own). If you choose to use our form letter, to make it simple and convenient for you to do so, let us know (in the appropriate space on your membership form) how many copies of both that letter and this newsletter, which will include membership forms and envelopes, you would like us to send to you.
OUR NEED FOR INDIVIDUAL PLAINTIFFS WITH A DISABILITY
(How you can help Nationwide)
Although “Access Now” is the major plaintiff in every case we undertake, we nevertheless need some individual plaintiffs as well; frequently, only one or two. Therefore, if you have a disability, we also ask you to indicate in the appropriate space on the enclosed membership form your level of interest. If you will entertain the thought of being a plaintiff, we will further explain what you would be expected to do (which is minimal). Naturally, we hope that you will enlist plaintiff support as well amongst those recipients of your personal letters who may be disabled. Again, in our class-action suits, we need DISABLED PLAINTIFFS NATIONWIDE.
We want to call to your attention that we carefully handpick our attorneys and consultants based on their experience and reputation for integrity. They work on a contingency fee basis only and under our guidelines. We value our reputation as reasonable and businesslike representatives of the disabled community, seeking to achieve compliance with the law which is fair to all, with the understanding that standards are different for large and small chains and for individually owned “Mom-and-Pop” places of public accommodation.
We will update you again in the not-too-distant future. We value your support and encouragement and we trust that we merit them. In the meantime, if you have any questions or suggestions, call, write or e-mail.
WE WISH EACH OF YOU A HAPPY AND HEALTHY MILLENNIUM YEAR 2000!!!!!
Edward S. Resnick, President
Phyllis F. Resnick, Office Administrator