Anti-bias suits filed under Americans with Disabilities Act

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Since its enactment in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act has been the legal foundation for a vast array of lawsuits filed on behalf of disabled people alleging they were discriminated against. Among the many cases that have surfaced or been resolved just in the past year:

—The mother of a 6-year-old Ohio boy with Down syndrome alleged in a federal lawsuit that an Ohio YMCA excluded him from a summer camp and some other programs because of his disability and treated him hypocritically after using him in promotions extolling opportunities for everyone.

—The Illinois High School Association resolved a lawsuit by agreeing in June to give disabled student athletes full opportunities to compete in certain sports, including swimming, diving and track and field. Among other steps, the association will create an annual road race open to all high school students in the state that includes wheelchair divisions for both genders.

—A blind Ohio student, Aleeha Dudley, has pursued a federal lawsuit against Miami University, alleging that course materials were inaccessible to her text-to-speech software and she didn't received material in Braille or other forms she could use without help. The university has denied any wrongdoing and says it takes it takes its responsibilities under the ADA very seriously.

—After six years of litigation, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department agreed to improve conditions in its jails for inmates using wheelchairs and others with impaired mobility. Improvements are to include equal access to jail programming, plus more cells and showers that are accessible to wheelchairs.

—Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, agreed to settle allegations it violated the ADA when it removed a depressed student from school and refused to refund her tuition. Prosecutors said Quinnipiac discriminated against the student by placing her on mandatory medical leave without considering options for her to stay enrolled. Quinnipiac says its ADA standards exceed those of most colleges.

—Miami-based Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise provider, reached a settlement with the Justice Department regarding accessibility for people with disabilities on 62 ships in the Carnival, Holland America and Princess Cruises brands. The case addressed allegations that the company failed to properly provide and reserve accessible cabins for individuals with disabilities and did not afford them equal opportunities to participate in programs and services.