ADA in the News December 4, 2020

Complaint & Settlement Agreement: National Railroad Passenger Corporation (“Amtrak”)

DOT Announces Final Rule: No More ESAs on Flights

On December 2, 2020 the Department of Transportation (DOT) released its final rule for accommodating service and emotional support animals as a reasonable accommodation request under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). Most notably, air carriers will no longer be obligated to provide access for emotional support animals (ESA) in the airplane cabin.

This is good news (with a big caveat). As previously stated in our analysis of the proposed rule, the final provisions correct the most challenging animal-related issues that plague air travel. Moreover, the DOT is, for the most part, fair in balancing the needs of those living with a disability with the health and safety of the other travelers and flight crew.

Remarks of Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband on the Announcement of the Settlement with Amtrak – Washington, DC (12/2/2020) 

Settlement Agreement– Amtrak commits to make its intercity rail stations accessible, prioritizing stations with the most significant barriers to access. Over 10 years, Amtrak will design at least 135 stations to be accessible, complete construction at 90 of those stations, and have at least 45 more under construction. Amtrak will also train staff on ADA requirements and implement an agreed-upon process for accepting and handling ADA complaints. As part of this commitment, Amtrak recently established an Office of the Vice President of Stations, Properties & Accessibility to coordinate its compliance with the ADA. To compensate those harmed by inaccessible stations while trying to travel by train, Amtrak will establish a $2.25 million settlement fund. Individuals with mobility impairments who traveled or desired to travel at 78 specified stations with significant accessibility issues may be compensated from the settlement fund. (12/2/2020)

Complaint– alleges that Amtrak has violated and continues to violate the ADA by failing to make existing stations in its intercity rail transportation system readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs (12/2/2020)

Letter of Finding PDF – re: failure to make existing station facilities in its intercity rail transportation system, for which it is responsible, accessible (6/10/15)

ADA Lawsuits Are Defensible

Following our  ADA Website Litigation Update in June, federal courts have begun to signal the end of a series of nearly 500 ADA lawsuits filed by one plaintiff against several hotels concerning accessibility descriptions on hotel reservation websites. Martin Orlick, Chair of JMBM's ADA Compliance & Defense Group, gives an overview of these cases and explains why a recent ruling by a Maryland judge has proved that they are defensible.

While this ruling demonstrates that courts are beginning to push back against serial plaintiffs, it is important for hotels to understand  what the ADA requires during the online reservations process.

Workplace Struggles For Deaf Employees

Deafness in the workplace leads to a communication barrier and can create a constant battle for them to understand everyone around them. You can understand why deaf people in corporate America have to jump through many hoops to get to where they want to be, professionally.

GoMarketing Offers Home Services Companies Website Compliance for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), with Development and Software

GoMarketing offers Americans with Disabilities Act Website Compliance. The digital era is not a self-automated mechanism that convinces and offers home service companies with ADA compliance support. But continuous evolution of digitalization has managed to create a need for home services businesses to remain ADA compliant. "As much as GoMarketing takes pride in its AI-based content modification, we want to help home service companies understand the financial and legal impact of violating the Americans Disabilities with Act," continued Richard Uzelac, the CEO and Founder of GoMarketing Inc.

"Once home service companies understand the value of ADA site compliance, business owners would make the right call and ensure their business site is accessible and usable for disabled individuals," added Richard Uzelac, the CEO and Founder of GoMarketing Inc.

Practically, ADA website compliance boils down to making business sites more accessible and more usable for people with disabilities. Home service companies also need to understand that the Americans with Disabilities Act have set forth certain web design and web content standards. For instance, one of the ADA clauses dictates that business sites should have integrated tools such as keyboard-only or screen readers to make the content more accessible for disabled people.

Disability Resources in New Jersey

Every year on December 3rd, the Day of People with Disabilities is celebrated internationally. This year’s theme is “Not All Disabilities Are Visible” and will focus on spreading awareness around conditions our friends, family members, colleagues, and peers may be living with, in silence. Some of these conditions could include mental illness, hearing or vision impairment, cognitive disorders, and more. Read on to discover resources for those with liabilities in New Jersey.

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