Posted in Accesibility for People with disabilities, Americans with disabilities reform act, disability civil rights

A Potentially Huge Setback for the Americans with Disabilities Act

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Let’s say that you keep some valuable jewelry  in a public storage facility, and you need to retrieve it for your niece’s upcoming wedding. The facility has only one entrance and you need to use stairs to get inside. But when you get there, you see that some of the stairs have rotted through and it’s not safe to use them. You’ve called the manager and left voice-mail messages, but she has not returned your calls.

An obvious option is to file a lawsuit against the owner. After all, the wedding is fast approaching and the owner is not fulfilling her obligations to you.

But let’s say you then discover that a new law has just been passed, requiring that before you file a lawsuit, you first have to notify the owner (in writing) that there is a defect in her stairway.  You must also identify how the owner has violated the law, and then give her six months to work on the problem.

I deliberately said, “work on” instead of “fix” because this imaginary new law also says that you can only demand that the owner make “substantial progress” in fixing the stairs – not that she has to have actually fixed them.

What kind of an insane law would that be? You would be up in arms and so would everyone else who stores property in that facility. How dare Congress put these kinds of restrictions on your right to sue when you believe you have been wronged?

Yet there is a bill, currently making its way through Congress, that would require substantially the same thing for people with disabilities.  It is House Bill, 620, the “Americans with Disabilities Reform Act of 2017.”

This proposed law would require that if people with disabilities are unable to access public facilities because they have not installed the accommodations required by law, they can no longer immediately file a lawsuit. Rather, they have to take the steps outlined in the example above.

So for them, there is nothing hypothetical about it. Please contact your representatives and ask them to oppose this nightmarish law.

See the link below:

https://www.aclu.org/blog/disability-rights/house-members-are-pushing-bill-will-roll-back-rights-people-disabilities

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Author:

I am an attorney with a disability, and I co-teach a class on disability law. But because laws are just words, I would like to learn and convey more of the real world of living with a disability in the 21st Century.

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