Posts Tagged ‘disabled rights’

Des Moines Register on disabled “dog lawyer”

A disabled attorney known for filing dozens of suits against animal control authorities, and for frequent courtroom clashes with judges as well as a wide range of other adversaries, is the subject of a Des Moines Register profile. “In recent weeks, McCleary launched a multi-pronged effort to block the publication of this article.” He has sought accommodations for courtroom conduct under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Despite the run-ins, his “license to practice law is spotless, with no record of any public disciplinary action taken by the Iowa Supreme Court.” [Clark Kauffman, Des Moines Register; Insurance Journal (public records request indicates insurers for city of Des Moines paid him $2.1 million following claim of head injuries from falling garbage can)]

ADA and the workplace roundup

From the comments: Braille at drive-through ATMs

From reader Matt S., on a phenomenon people have been musing about for years:

No, if you think about it, it’s fairly easy to understand that one..

They have to have the braille on walk up ATM and it’s just easier to have one set of buttons on a given ATM model that can be installed anywhere, than to manufacture two different sets of controls for any one model, one for walk up installations and one for drive through installations.

Once you have to have braille on some ATMs, basic economics says that it will be more cost efficient to have it on all ATMs.

It’s part of a lively reader discussion of accessibility rules.

Third Circuit OKs ADA suit demanding tactile interpreter for deaf/blind movie patron

Reversing a trial court, the Third Circuit has ruled that a deaf/blind man can sue Cinemark under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) demanding that it provide a “tactile interpreter” so that he could experience the movie Gone Girl. Each interpreter — two would be required because of the movie’s feature length — would narrate the film in American Sign Language (ASL) while McGann placed his hand in contact with theirs to read the signs. The appellate judges rejected the argument that because of the need for subjective stylistic judgments about how to describe the movie’s action, on-the-fly translation would “fundamentally alter the nature of the good, service, facility, privilege, advantage, or accommodation being offered,” an exception recognized by the law to its accommodation requirement. It sent the case back for further proceedings on whether the theater could plead “undue hardship,” a narrow defense that is often unavailable to large businesses which (it is argued) can cover even very high costs of accommodation by using revenues earned from other patrons [McGann v. Cinemark]

The New Yorker on guardianship abuse

“That weekend, she called her parents several times. She also called two hospitals to see if they had been in an accident. She called their landlord, too, and he agreed to visit the house. He reported that there were no signs of them. She told her husband, ‘I think someone kidnapped my parents.'”

Of all the scams and outrages in the legal system that I’ve written about, few get me as angry as does guardianship abuse. Rachel Aviv’s New Yorker report from Nevada shines a light into some dark places of elder law and of the human heart. Earlier here and here (2009 Brooklyn), here (Connecticut), here (North Carolina), here, etc. (Bronx).

Employment discrimination roundup

From the comments: better safe than sued

Sunday’s ADA-and-the-web post prompted some useful reader discussion. Commenter Jim Collins told this story:

A while back I went to community college. I was recovering from an injury and in a vocational rehabilitation program. Part of the program was working for the college. We had a grant for computer workstations. At that time there was a shortage of computers at the college. We had a large room assigned to us and we were to cram in as many workstations as we could. When I submitted my layout I had 60 workstations in the room. I was asked how many were wheelchair accessible? I said “The front twenty.” I was told that all of the workstations had to be wheelchair accessible because the college didn’t want to have the chance of a lawsuit. In the end we could only fit 40 workstations. We lost 20 workstations. The part that got me was that the room we were assigned was on the second floor of a building. The building was grandfathered in and didn’t have wheelchair access. Another thing was that in the history of the college the most students that they ever had in wheelchairs was five.

Constitutionalize the ADA? No thanks

A dreadful idea, but sure to keep lawyers busy: American Bar Association president proposes constitutionalizing the principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act by getting the Supreme Court to reverse City of Cleburne (1985), in which it declined to pronounce the mentally disabled a suspect or quasi-suspect class under the Equal Protection Clause [ABA Journal]

Meanwhile, where we are now: Mark Pulliam surveys the landscape of the actual ADA and finds that it “has spawned senseless mandates, abusive lawsuits, and stratospheric costs.” [Mark Pulliam, City Journal, and related; thanks for kind mentions]

“Deaf man claims lawyer’s bad sign language cost him millions”

“A deaf former IBM worker claims he wrongly accepted a lowball discrimination settlement of $200,000 because his lawyer exaggerated his knowledge of sign language and confused the sign for ‘million’ with that for ‘thousand’ while negotiating the deal.” Software engineer James Wang, who had blamed his firing on his deafness, got $200,000 but says he expected $200 million. [New York Post]