Posts tagged as:

service animals

  • Blockbuster “web accessibility” issue, with potential for massive disruption of online life, continues to drag on without action in Washington despite urgings from academics; but at Ninth Circuit’s behest, California Supreme Court will decide whether state’s Disabled Persons Act covers websites [David Ettinger, Horwitz & Levy] More: Amy Alkon and commenters;
  • Federal district judge (E.D.N.Y.), suspecting foul play in multiple ADA filings, sends staff to investigate, but that’s a no-no as the Second Circuit reminds him [Josh Blackman]
  • Noting “continuing paranoia and obsession,” Vermont Supreme Court rebuffs bar applicant claiming discrimination on basis of mental illness [ABA Journal]
  • Just fine and dander: optician’s shop in suburban Detroit turns down worker’s request to bring service dog for generalized anxiety disorder, will pay $53,000 in settlement [EEOC]
  • Attack on “sheltered workshops” fits into multi-front effort to extend reach of federal wage-hour law: “Landmark DOJ settlement with RI provides road map to disability-law compliance for 49 other states” [ABA Journal]
  • Coalition politics counts: prominent disabled-rights groups [AAPD, DREDF, Bazelon Center, etc.] favor driving up cost of at-home attendants at expense of their own putative constituents [Benjamin Sachs, On Labor, on Harris v. Quinn amicus]
  • “Alcoholism and the ADA: Not as clear-cut as you think” [Dan Wisniewski, HR Morning, on Crosby v. F.W. Webb Co.] “Playing golf and having sex are major life activities under the ADA” [Eric B. Meyer]

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March 13 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 13, 2014

  • Claimed prison guard punched him in face: “Man convicted in Chicago-area mass murder awarded $500,000″ [WHAS, ABA Journal]
  • Ken White “immediately repulsed and enraged” by Mayer-Brown-repped suit seeking removal of Glendale, Calif. “comfort women” memorial [Popehat]
  • “Las Vegas: Man Sues Casino After $500k Loss ‘While Drunk’” [Sky News]
  • Regulators blame everyone but selves: “Drug Shortages Continue to Vex Doctors” [Sabrina Tavernese, NYT on GAO report, earlier here, here, etc., etc.]
  • Former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli to speak tomorrow on “dereliction of duty” of AGs who decline to defend laws deemed unconstitutional, hope someone brings up this and this [more background; and his successor Mark Herring's view]
  • Oregon: “Portland State University will pay $161,500 to settle a lawsuit claiming it discriminated against disabled students who have service animals.” [AP/KOIN] Laws make it dangerous for business owners to draw line between legitimate, fake service dogs [L.A. Times]
  • Not The Onion: Canada telecoms regulator pushes XX cable channels to run more Canadian content [CBC, National Post]

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Marcie Davis, founder of International Assistance Dog Awareness Week, noted that ordinary pets passed off as service dogs — often with fake badges, vest, or papers bought off the internet — disrupt public places and eat food at restaurants, bring suspicion on genuine service dogs, and even on occasion get into fights with real service dogs like hers. Davis “said the fakers are also taking advantage of laws that limit the interaction a business owner can have with a disabled person. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits requiring identification documents for a service animal and does not allow any questioning about specifics of a person’s disability.” [CBS Baltimore]

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  • Litigious anti-feminist loses case alleging that Manhattan club’s expensive bottle service for old men, free drinks for young women violate bias law [NY Mag, NYDN]
  • “Hospital cannot ban all service animals from psych ward, federal judge rules” [ABA Journal] “New Yorkers use bogus ‘therapy dog’ tags to take Fido everywhere” [NY Post via Althouse]
  • Canada: foes seek to prevent opening of evangelical law school in B.C. [CBC, Jonathan Kay/National Post, Globe and Mail editorial, TaxProf]
  • Related: broad religious exemptions in anti-bias law make good complement to same-sex marriage [Ilya Shapiro/Cato, my take] Gay couples must also live and let live, or else liberty is in for some cake wrecks [Bart Hinkle, Richmond Times-Dispatch]
  • Hiring based on IQ testing: widely regarded as legally suspect, but mostly tolerated in practice? [Bryan Caplan]
  • “‘Borgata Babes’ lose weight bias suit; judge says casino policy was legal” [ABA Journal, earlier]
  • 2009 expansion of federal hate-crimes law headed for a court challenge? [Josh Gerstein, Politico]

Texas: “Two students say [their federally protected service-animal] rights were violated when the Denison Independent School District ordered them to remove the caps and gowns their service dogs were wearing for graduation…. ‘It’s not that he’s graduating, because he’s not; I’m aware of that,’ [Ms. Brashier] said.” [WFAA]

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First the complaint, then the money, now the public accolade: as we noted last month, student Kendra Velzen filed a complaint — and got a $40,000 settlement — after administrators at Grand Valley State University in Michigan declined to allow her emotional-support guinea pig to live with her in the dorm, even though she had a doctor’s note for it. Now the “Fair Housing Center of West Michigan has given … Velzen its annual Outstanding Effort by an Individual award. The group says Velzen was honored for promoting ‘equal housing opportunity for university students throughout the country.’” The center has a previous connection with the case, having assisted Velzen in her complaint. [AP/WILX]

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Kendra Velzen had a note from a doctor prescribing the companionship of the rodent, but Grand Valley State University outside Grand Rapids, Mich. nonetheless resisted her request to keep the guinea pig with her at class, in the dorm, and in food service areas. Now school administrators have folded. [Eric Owens, Daily Caller](& Greenfield)

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Between 2006 and 2011 the Iowa Civil Rights Commission engaged in a practice of filing housing discrimination charges against landlords, which it would then settle through “donations” that went directly to the commission rather than the state’s general fund, reports Jason Clayworth at the Des Moines Register. “The requests came after sting operations in which representatives of the commission would, for example, pose as prospective tenants and tell landlords over the phone that they needed a service dog for anxiety reasons and quiz them as to whether a pet deposit would apply to them.”

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In Connecticut, disability vs. disability: “A cab driver who claims he suffers from cynophobia (a fear of dogs) and who refused to pick up a blind customer with a service dog has filed a federal lawsuit against his employer for discrimination on account of his disability after he was fired.” [Daniel Schwartz]

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  • Window office, transfer over more qualified candidates: “5 reasonable accommodations an employer never dreamed it would have to make” [Robin Shea]
  • Rep. Lungren [R-CA] introduces ADA notification bill [Elk Grove Citizen, House Judiciary hearing]
  • 2nd Circuit: NYC doesn’t have to make taxis disabled-accessible [NY Mag, NYDN, William Goren, earlier]
  • More on the Netflix captioning ruling from Julian Sanchez and Doug Mataconis [earlier]. “I am so sick and tired of hearing people like Olson … the Walter Olsons of the world” writes Ellen Seidman [Parents mag] Don’t let her hear what Eric Goldman said.
  • Report: 86 California Burger King outlets to pay $19 million to settle complaints on ADA accessibility [Sam Bagenstos]
  • Service animals on planes: when pigs fly [Amy Alkon via James Taranto] S.D. Fla.: “Fair Housing Act Requires Allowing Emotional Support Animals as a Reasonable Accommodation” [Bagenstos]
  • Cuttino Mobley loses doc-wouldn’t-let-me-play disability suit against New York Knicks [Alex Raskin, NJ.com, earlier]

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“A former city worker is suing Indianapolis after she claims the city failed to accommodate the service dog she needs due to her severe allergy to paprika.” The city had already removed certain foods from its vending machines but declined to accept a service dog as reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because a co-worker was allergic to dogs. [WRTV]

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In 2005 Jack and Sandra Biegel purchased a unit in Long Island’s Woodbury Gardens, which had a no-pet policy. The next year they acquired a miniature schnauzer to assist with Sandra’s multiple ailments, which included depression and strained breathing. She died the next year. Now the federal government is taking Jack’s side against the co-op in its effort to enforce its rules. [NY Daily News]

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A judge has ruled that an elderly Manhattan woman can sue her landlord and a guide-dog provider over a fall she suffered on a step at her building. Gloria Clark argues that her earlier guide dogs had always guided her around a dangerous step over 26 years of living in the building but that while she was auditioning a new guide dog the dog’s trainer did not properly take care against the hazard. [New York Daily News]

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Dogs in the dorms

by Walter Olson on December 1, 2011

The Justice Department has sued the University of Nebraska-Kearney and its regents and employees for allegedly “denying reasonable accommodation requests by students with psychological or emotional disabilities seeking to live with emotional assistance animals in university housing.” [Disability Law]

More/update: Inside Higher Ed.

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“City officials in Denver and in the neighboring suburb of Aurora are being sued over their enforcement of dog breed bans. The suit claims the bans violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.” [Arin Greenwood, ABA Journal]

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May 2 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 2, 2011

  • In suit over weird, elaborate online hoax, court allows fraudulent-misrepresentation claim despite lack of motive of tangible gain [Chi Trib]
  • Service animal rodeo: “A trained rat probably would have had a good case in California” [AP/Statesman-Journal] Broward County, Fla. backs lonely widow’s right to keep “prescription Chihuahua” against rules of condo board [AOL, Sun-Sentinel] Oklahoma: “Depressed Woman Fights to Keep Therapy Kangaroo” [Newser] Earlier on recent change in federal rules;
  • DahliaCrateLabel

  • Should lawmakers screen bills for constitutionality? Ms. Lithwick has trouble sticking to a position [AEternitatis]
  • Human-relations complaint leads to arrest of U.K. man for singing “Kung Fu Fighting” [MSNBC]
  • Barney Frank: Yes, let’s talk about med-mal reform [The Hill] Ringing the bell: Roundups of more big med-mal verdicts [White Coat, more]
  • “Expert Witnesses Stripped Of Immunity From Negligence Suits In The UK” [Erik Magraken]
  • “Sustainability”: an empty idea? Or perhaps actively wrongheaded? [David Friedman via David Henderson]

The silence of the goats

by Walter Olson on March 16, 2011

I’ve got a new post up at Cato at Liberty on the politics of not-really-deregulation under the ADA, as new federal rules take effect on service animals. Earlier here, etc.

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I’ve got an op-ed in today’s New York Post. It begins:

For the service goat, assistance monkey and emotional-support iguana, it could be the end of an era. Under new federal rules taking effect Tuesday, the Americans with Disabilities Act will no longer compel shops, restaurants and other businesses to accommodate a menagerie of supposed service animals brought in by the public. Only dogs and some miniature horses will qualify. Moreover, dogs will qualify as service animals only if they’ve been individually trained to assist with a disabled human’s needs.

“The provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this new definition.” And they’ll need to be on-leash unless their work requires otherwise.

Finally. You’d think the Obama administration had, in a fit of common sense, for once chosen to heed a public outcry about zany regulations-gone-mad.

But as usual, the politics are more complicated than that. …

Read the whole thing here. Relatedly, Kevin at Lowering the Bar has some free advice for persons with service monkeys, namely that their allegations of service-animal status are more likely to win favor if they don’t dress up four of the little guys in pirate costumes on Bourbon St. in New Orleans’ French Quarter. And from Olympia, Wash.’s KPTV: “Man with service snake lobbies against bill.

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