In observance of Disability Pride Month and the upcoming anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Relman Colfax renews its commitment to fighting for disability justice and inclusion.
As part of our celebration, we reflect on what it means to truly be part of the community. The Supreme Court’s most important ADA decision—Olmstead v. L.C., decided in June 1999—articulated the law’s central goal of “community integration,” echoing Dr. Jacobus tenBroek’s seminal 1956 law review article, “The Right to Live in the World.” We view our job as using litigation to realize that objective in housing, public services, public accommodations, employment and education.
Among our recent cases is Gilead Community Services v. Town of Cromwell, in which a federal jury found that a Connecticut town violated the ADA and the Fair Housing Act through a series of discriminatory actions resulting in the closure of a small group home for six people with mental health disabilities. Finding the actions of town leaders to be egregious, the jury awarded $5 million in punitive damages. In California ex rel. Bashin v. Conduent, Inc., we have fought to establish the obligation to develop a state agency website that is accessible to blind users. In Equal Rights Center v. Uber Technologies, Inc., we continue to litigate claims that Uber’s policies exclude certain wheelchair users or relegate them to inferior services with excessive wait times and much higher fares. And in Access Living v. City of Chicago, we seek systemic remedies for three decades of Chicago’s failure to comply with federal accessibility requirements in its 50,000-unit affordable rental housing program.
As Jasmine Harris so astutely noted in a 2020 article reflecting on Dr. tenBroek’s vision of full community inclusion, much work remains to be done, in the courts and in society. This July, Relman Colfax remains ready to engage in that work and expresses its solidarity with the 61 million people in the U.S who have visible and non-visible disabilities. The world is yours. Enjoy and share.
If you have experienced discrimination because of your disability status, feel free to contact us by clicking here.