By Minh Vu and Paul Kehoe

Many individuals with disabilities are choosing other power-driven mobility devices (OPMDs) such as Segways™ over traditional wheelchairs and scooters to provide them with enhanced mobility.  In response, as we previously reported, the Department of Justice (DOJ) amended its regulations in 2010 to require businesses to allow the use of OPMDs in their facilities unless the business can establish that the particular OPMD cannot be operated safely within any particular facility.  Three years later, businesses still have very little practical guidance from the courts and DOJ about when they may limit the use of these devices.

The regulations specify that businesses must analyze five factors to determine whether they must allow a particular OPMD to be used in a specific facility, including (i) the type, size, weight, dimensions and speed of the device, (ii) the facility’s pedestrian traffic, (iii) the facility’s design and operational characteristics, (iv) whether legitimate safety requirements can be established to permit the safe operation of another OPMD in that facility, and (v) whether the use of that OPMD creates a substantial environmental harm or conflicts with federal land management laws.  But there is little guidance on how to apply these factors to specific situations.

The DOJ’s position is that “in the vast majority of circumstances,” public accommodations would have to admit Segways™ and other OPMDs.  In its technical guidance document, ADA Update, A Primer for Small Businesses, the DOJ encourages businesses to develop written policies based on these factors specifying when OPMDs will be permitted on their premises and to communicate those policies to the public.  However, it does not give examples of scenarios in which OPMDs can be excluded, other than to say a business may be able to limit OPMD use at certain times of the day when a facility has a high volume of pedestrian traffic.


Continue Reading Do I Have to Let Segways™ Used by Persons With Disabilities Into My Business?

By Minh N. Vu

We often hear from commercial landlords that they are not concerned about whether their tenant spaces are accessible because their leases place the obligation for complying with accessibility laws such as Title III of the ADA on the tenants.  A recent decision from the federal district court in Northern California makes

The ADA regulations currently contain no technical specifications for accessible hotel guest room beds.   According to The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), travelers with mobility disabilities often complain that beds in many lodging facilities are too high for a transfer to and from a wheelchair.  Other travelers with mobility disabilities have complained that the use

We love fighting – and winning – ADA Title III cases, especially those brought by serial plaintiffs.  But litigating ADA Title III claims, even in serial plaintiff cases, has its risks.  While there is often a compelling business case for fighting, a recent case out of the Southern District of New York illustrates that there

By:  Karen Stephenson

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) has issued proposed accessibility guidelines for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  These guidelines will apply to passenger vessels that provide public transportation services such as ferries and excursion boats, and public accommodation passenger

By: Kristina Launey

As we reported last year, in September 2012, the Governor signed into law legislation reforming some of California’s disability access statutes.  Most of those reforms went into effect as of the date the Governor signed the bill, but one provision becomes effective today, July 1, 2013. 

California Civil Code Section 1938

By John W. Egan

One common misconception about the design and construction requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is that historical landmarks are exempt.  Another is that the ADA does not apply when an element is merely replaced.  A recent decision by a New Hampshire federal court dispels both of these notions.

At

By: Kristina Launey

Businesses in California have for years struggled to comply with both California’s Title 24 accessibility standards for buildings and the federal standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because those standards differed in many respects.  The differences became even more pronounced after the Department of Justice adopted the 2010 ADA Standards