ADA Requires Accommodation of Peanut Allergy

The U.S. Department of Justice recently found that a theater program for young people violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it failed to provide adequate arrangements for a 10 year old boy who had a severe allergy to peanuts. The program’s director had agreed to ask other program participants to refrain from bringing nut products to the program’s activities. She refused, however, to commit to having an adult present who could administer an Epi-Pen in the event that the child accidentally ingested some nuts and had trouble breathing. Instead, she told the boy’s mother that the mother would be required to sign a waiver of liability, and should consider attending all sessions that her son attended, so that she could administer the Epi-Pen if needed. [Read more…]

Lord Urges MARTA Board to Improve Paratransit Service

At a MARTA Board meeting held a few days ago, Georgia Lord urged Board members to get serious about remedying performance problems in the system’s paratransit service, MARTA Mobility. Simply privatizing parts of the system will not solve the current performance problems, she argued. Ms. Lord and attorneys Bill Nabors and David Ates represent a group of MARTA patrons with disabilities. They are pressing for MARTA to come into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and with a federal district court injunction previously entered against the system.

MARTA Mobility provides transit service for riders whose disabilities make it impractical for them to use the fixed route system. The MARTA Board of Directors is considering outsourcing (privatizing) portions of the paratransit service.

An Atlanta Journal Constitution article describing the meeting reported that Lord told the MARTA Board, “We want to help you bring the system into compliance,” and, “I urge you to tackle the responsibility of genuinely improving compliance rather than hand off this obligation to a for-profit vendor.”

Contempt Motion Filed Against MARTA Mobility

Advocates pressing for adequate, accessible public transit for persons with disabilities charge in a federal court action that MARTA is in contempt of court. The action sets out evidence that MARTA’s paratransit service — MARTA Mobility – fails to provide the level of service required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and by an injunction previously entered against the system. They argue that MARTA has failed to take reasonable steps to improve the system’s performance. As a result, they say, those who rely upon the system for transportation to work, to medical appointments, or to special occasions are often left stranded. MARTA Mobility’s own statistics regarding whether its vehicles show up on time — or even show up at all – show that the system’s performance has recently been worse than it has been at any point in the past twelve years. [Read more…]

25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

The year 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and a year-long celebration is being planned. The activities will include the 2015 National ADA Symposium that will be held in Atlanta on May 10th, 2015, and the 28th Annual Meeting of the Society for Disability Studies, to be held in Atlanta on June 10th. There will also be a nationwide “rolling” celebration, the ADA Legacy Tour. For further information see, 2015 National ADA Symposium, and 28th Annual Meeting of the Society for Disability Studies .