Newsletter: June 21, 2019

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: June 21, 2019

What's New in Our Region:

New York Lawmakers Plan to Address Website Accessibility

A Committee in the New York State Senate aims to develop a legal standard for the accessibility of business websites under New York law, in response to the exponential increase in website accessibility litigation in the state. Whether state legislation could stem this tide, or instead make matters worse for businesses, remains to be seen. According to a recent article published in the New York Law Journal, a committee of state legislators in New York plan to develop a legal standard for website accessibility, in the wake of years of regulatory inactivity by the federal government. Various state and municipal jurisdictions have laws on the books requiring that government agencies and contractors provide accessible websites. New York, however, would be the first state in the country to directly hold business websites to an accessibility standard. This legislative effort appears, to be motivated by a concern over the surge of website accessibility filings and their impact on businesses. To read more about this go to:

Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day in NY Sees Improvement to Disability Rights

The New York State Assembly passed a series of bills on May 29, 2019 to help New Yorkers with disabilities lead full, independent lives by ensuring access to critical resources, expanding disability rights and encouraging more job opportunities. Legislation improving Disability Rights, education, voting, emergency preparedness, and healthcare were all at the forefront in looking for ways to improve the lives of NY residents with disabilities. To read more about this go to:

Riders With a Disability Face Scarcity of Accessible Vehicles

The question over whether or not ride-hail companies need to comply with the ADA arose after a resident of White Plains, New York, along with the advocacy group Westchester Disabled on the Move, filed a class-action suit against Lyft, a ride-hail company, arguing that the company discriminates against people with disabilities, especially those requiring wheelchair-accessible vehicles. The case, which is still pending in Westchester County, has renewed concerns about the availability of accessible vehicles, both in densely populated areas like New York City, and in the suburbs and upstate. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires private transportation companies to be accessible to individuals with disabilities, including providing certain door heights and wheelchair lifts and attachments. Lyft argues that it is not subject to those requirements because it is an app business that doesn't own any vehicles. "Lyft is an online ride-sharing platform that matches independent contractor drivers with passengers who need rides. To read more about this go to:

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Williamsburg Appeal: Historic Win for Gluten-free and Food Allergy Rights

A U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that a 12-year-old with a severe gluten intolerance has a disability, and that it was reasonable for him to request that a restaurant within the Colonial Williamsburg historic site allow him to eat his own gluten-free food on their premises. Staff at the Shields Tavern within the venue would not allow the boy to do so, which lead to his lawsuit. The case will now be sent to trial and a jury will need to consider the facts related to the dining experience of J.D., as he is referred to in legal documents. However, the language of the May 31 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is already being hailed as a victory for those with medically necessary diets. To read more about this go to:

Federal Court Orders Los Angeles Barbershop to Pay $75,000 to a Man who was HIV-Positive and Denied Haircut

A federal court in California has entered a judgment on behalf of a California man who sued a Los Angeles barbershop for discriminating against him by refusing to cut his hair because he is HIV-positive. U.S. District Judge André Birotte, Jr., of the Central District of California, ordered King of Kuts, a barbershop in the Leimert Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, and its owner, Ramsy Milton, to pay $75,000 in damages, plus attorney's fees and other litigation costs, to Nikko Briteramos, a customer who was refused a haircut on Oct. 13, 2017 due to his HIV-positive status. To read more about this go to:

DOJ Considers Opioid Use Disorder an ADA Covered Disability and Pursues Claims Against a Provider for Refusing Medical Services to Opioid Users

The U.S. Department of Justice reached a January 31, 2019 settlement of an Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") Title III complaint against health care provider Selma Medical Associates relating to the provision of medical services to an individual with opioid use disorder. (OUD) The DOJ complaint was premised on the alleged refusal of Selma Medical to schedule a new patient family practice appointment after the patient disclosed he takes Suboxone. Suboxone is a prescription medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating OUD. The complaint further alleged that Selma refused to treat patients with narcotic controlled substances, including Suboxone, thus imposing "eligibility criteria that screen out or tend to screen out individuals with OUD." The Selma Medical settlement is a reminder that health care providers should make sure they have appropriate non-discrimination policies in place as required pursuant to Health and Human Services regulations for compliance under Title III of the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the non-discrimination requirements of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. To read more about this go to:

Opportunities for You!

Free Webinar-Effective Communication: What Does That Mean?

Tuesday June 25th, 2019 2:00pm EDT to 3:30pm EDT

What does it mean to communicate effectively with someone who is Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind? This session will begin with a brief review of the requirements in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Sign language interpreters, relay service, and captioning are only one piece of the puzzle when working toward effective communication - you are the other piece! The presenter will offer an insider's view on best practices and teamwork strategies to engage when striving for effective communication between hearing and Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind individuals. Case studies will be used to illustrate various approaches in achieving effective communication. To register go to:

Emergency Management Access and Functional Needs Disability Awareness Training in Dutchess County NY

Niagara University (NU) Disability Awareness Training has received a grant from the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council to educate anyone involved in emergency planning, preparedness, response, and recovery as it pertains to individuals with disabilities and access and functional needs. NU has tailored a presentation that identifies the responsibilities of both emergency management personnel and disability advocates during an emergency. This program will introduce the four modules necessary for proper response that include Disability Awareness Training, the Americans with Disabilities Act specific to Emergency management, emergency plan content, and Inclusive Planning and Active Participation.

September 9th & 10th, 2019, 9:00am-4:30pm (Part A:Two-Day Training)
September 10th , 2019, 1:00pm-4:30pm (Part B: Half-Day Training)

Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response
392 Creek Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

To register go to:

Special Spotlight:

Online Group Psychological Health Promotion Program for Women with Spinal Cord Injury

The Spinal Cord Injury and Disability Research Center (SCIDR) at TIRR Memorial Hermann is recruiting for a study to test a psychological health promotion program for women with spinal cord injury (SCI).

The 10-week group program, Zest: A Psychological Health Promotion Program for Women with SCI, or simply Zest, is delivered in the online virtual world of Second Life. Eligible participants will be randomized (like flipping a coin) to either the Zest program or a control group. All participants will complete online assessments at three time points. Participants will receive a small payment for their time.

You may be eligible if you:

  • Are a woman at least 18 years of age;
  • Have had a traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) and are a least one year post injury;
  • Have access to a computer with high speed internet connection;
  • Are able to use a computer and communicate in online group conversations in English

For more information, contact - email: or by phone: 713.797.7572.