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If foolishness were limited to one day a year this blog would be well overdue, but a glance at the news – legal, political or other, shows that every day in April can be April fools day, so I make no apologies for the delay in getting this out. The difference between accommodation and modification under the ADA and FHA Any discussion of S.W. Fair Hous. Council v. WG Chandler Villas SH LLC, 2021 WL 1087200 (D. Ariz. Mar. 22, 2021) must begin with a vocabulary note. The thing called “modification” under the ADA is called “accommodation” under the FHA and…
I got an email yesterday from John Garra at Square One Architecture¹ with a short paper on an aspect of physical accessibility and Covid-19 that frankly had not occurred to me. The sneeze guards that have been put up at most sales counters may, and frequently do infringe on the space required for those with disabilities to access the counter. I think this is the first non-mask related Covid-19 item I’ve seen. Sales counters are a frequent source of ADA complaints and litigation, usually because they are not low enough, not wide enough, or cluttered with point-of-sale displays. Adding a…
Madeira was traditionally aged in barrels that crossed the equator twice, the heat and time fortifying and sweetening the wine. Like a cask of Madeira the sun will cross the equatorial plane of the earth in a few days, but you won’t have to wait for the next crossing in the fall for a quick hits blog.  Here’s the news. What if someday never comes? The classic Creedence Clearwater Revival song asks what will have if someday never comes. The Eighth Circuit had the same question in Smith v. Golden China of Red Wing, Inc., 987 F.3d 1205, 1209 (8th Cir.…
ICP v Lincoln Properties and its “progeny.” In the last days of the Trump administration HUD promulgated a new regulation concerning disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act whose intent was very clearly to make such claims difficult even to plead, let alone prove.¹ Its implementation remains stayed by a federal court, but in the Fifth Circuit that may not matter because earlier Fifth Circuit cases are even more restrictive. Prompted by the discussion in Treece v. Perrier Condo. Owners Assn., Inc., 2021 WL 533720 (E.D. La. Feb. 12, 2021) I decided to take a hard look at the…
Valentines Day, which has been in the stores since December 26, has finally arrived in reality. Since I last blogged a few weeks ago the courts have continued to decide cases and the blogosphere has continued to cover, or mis-cover, accessibility related news. Here’s a sweet collection of matters to read after you’ve finished your celebration of the day. WCAG 3.0 – Will it really matter at all? The preliminary draft of WCAG 3.0 has generated a lot of attention. From a litigation defense standpoint the possible new standards are irrelevant, as is compliance with existing standards. Lawsuits are not…
With more than 40 new decisions in the last two weeks it hasn’t been easy getting this blog out.  I’m not the only lawyer with too much to do too fast, as the following cases demonstrate. The problem with industrial litigation In a classic episode of “I Love Lucy” she and her friend Ethel get a job in a chocolate factory but find they can’t keep up with the assembly line and have to resort to stuffing chocolates in their mouths and shirts.³ I thought of their predicament when I read Garcia v. Hwangbo, 2021 WL 149086 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 15, 2021),…
Here’s a toast to the end of a bad year. I don’t know anyone who won’t be happy to see 2020 behind us, but it’s worth looking back at how the law of accessibility developed in the last year. Fair Housing Act developments were bracketed by two events, one of which was scarcely noticed but could be important. In February, to considerable fanfare, HUD rolled out its new Guidance on requests for accommodation concerning animals.¹ Its many disclaimers about not being a regulation and not having any binding effect were not enough for the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which opined…
Jeremy Horelick of ADA Site Compliance called my attention to a recently filed lawsuit making a novel ADA claim. In Panarra v. HTC Corporation and HTC America, Inc., Case No. 6:20-cv-06991 (W.D.N.Y.) the plaintiff claims that because he is deaf he is denied equal access to the virtual reality games and experiences offered by defendants’ website, https://www.viveport.com/infinity. This, he claims, violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and New York law.² The lawsuit can be seen as just the latest in a line of cases stretching back at least to Arizona ex rel. Goddard v. Harkins Amuse. Enterprises, Inc., 603 F.3d 666 (9th Cir.…
The Department of Transportation has issued it final rule concerning in-flight rules for animals helping those with disabilities.¹ The bottom line is straightforward. Airlines are only required to permit dogs trained to perform a specific disability related tasks in the cabin of their aircraft. This adopts the same restriction that the Department of Justice has long had in place for Title III public accommodations under the ADA (except that DOT, unlike DOJ, does not recognize miniature horses as service animals). In addition to limiting the kind of animal airlines are required to transport the DOT regulations permit airlines to do…
Although you wouldn’t know it from watching the news many of the 677 federal judges in the U.S. are working on cases that don’t deal with how to count votes.  Here’s a look at what they’ve been up to. Eleventh Amendment abrogation for ADA claims In Natl. Assn. of the Deaf v. Fla., 2020 WL 6575040 (11th Cir. Nov. 10, 2020) the Eleventh Circuit held that Congress validly abrogated 11th Amendment immunity with respect to the State of Florida’s legislature, a holding that may eventually lead to a requirement that public legislative sessions be made accessible to those with hearing disabilities.…