ADA in the News June 17, 2021

Settlement Agreement between the United States and Newton County, Arkansas

The United States conducted an investigation of the Newton County Board of Election Commissioners (“the Board”) under Titles II and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (“Title II”, “Title V”, and “ADA”, respectively), and their implementing regulations, 28 C.F.R. Part 35.

During Early Voting on March 2, 2020, and during Election Day on March 3, 2020, the United States surveyed the county courthouse used for Early Voting and all 18 of the Board’s polling places used during the election. The United States observed that all of the polling places surveyed contained architectural barriers that rendered the facilities inaccessible to voters with disabilities, such as a lack of accessible parking areas and accessible routes due to gravel and grass ground surfaces; excessively sloped ramps, some without handrails and edge protection; numerous gaps and level changes along exterior routes; and protruding objects. In addition, the United States observed a lack of operable accessible voting machines at all polling places, including at Early Voting.


Sporting Goods Company Changes Policy Following ADA Allegation

Scheels All Sports Inc., located in Overland Park, Kansas, agreed to create a new policy as part of a settlement following allegations the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The allegations stem from a discrimination complaint filed in 2019 by an 18-year-old woman with Down Syndrome. An investigation revealed that during a high school outing at Scheels, a Ferris wheel attendant refused to allow her to ride with a classmate because of her disability. He cited a company policy requiring individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by an adult. Although a teacher assured the attendant as well as managers the complainant could safely ride with her classmate, the staff refused service because of her disability.


Suit Against Nursing Home Wrongly Tossed Before Competency Query

Victor Mondelli sued Berkeley Heights Nursing and Rehabilitation Center after his mother’s 2015 death, bringing a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act and one for intentional infliction of emotional distress. During the litigation, Mondelli failed to produce required discovery responses, missed several deadline extensions, and obtained an administrative pause in the case due to his mental and physical health conditions. The district court ultimately dismissed the case based on Mondelli’s failure to prosecute, concluding that he was responsible for the failure and that he’d caused the nursing home to suffer prejudice.

The Third Circuit vacated this ruling and instructed the district court to conduct a competency inquiry before allowing the litigation to proceed.

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