Physical Accessibility

By Paul Kehoe and Minh Vu

As noted in an October 2013 blog post (here), more than three years have passed since the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) revised its regulations requiring businesses and state and local governments (“covered entities”) to allow the use of other power-driven mobility devices (“OPDMDs”) in their facilities by individuals with mobility disabilities.  Unlike wheelchairs and scooters, OPDMDs are mobility devices that are not designed primarily for use by people with mobility disabilities (e.g., Segways™ and golf carts).  Last month, the DOJ issued its first full technical guidance document on this topic.  Our takeaway from this recent guidance is that DOJ does not want covered entities limiting the use of OPDMDs, especially Segways, unless there is a very good reason to do so.  DOJ also expects covered entities to develop written policies and rules for OPDMD use and train their employees on how to implement those policies.

The guidance restates the five assessment factors that covered entities should analyze when determining whether the use of a particular OPDMD type should be permitted in a particular facility by people with mobility disabilities.  They are:
Continue Reading

As we’ve previously reported, new Department of Justice rules give individuals with mobility disabilities the right under the ADA to use a wide variety of non-traditional powered mobility devices in public accommodations facilities.  The lawsuits and complaints about this issue are on the rise so businesses should familiarize themselves with this issue to avoid

By Kristina M. Launey

NBC Bay Area recently aired a report by Vicky Nguyen, Jeremy Carroll and Kevin Nious, analyzing federal lawsuits that alleged ADA violations, calling it “legalized extortion.”  NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Team found from the more than 10,0000 ADA lawsuits it reviewed that had been filed in the five states with the

By Chris Palamountain

Over a year after beginning the effort, the Access Board’s Medical Diagnostic Equipment Accessibility Standards Advisory Committee ended 2013 by issuing its final report on accessibility standards for medical equipment.  This report comments on and recommends technical requirements to ensure the accessibility of certain types of medical equipment to persons with disabilities. 

By Michael Fleischer

They’re here and they’re not going away. Six weeks ago we blogged about AXS Map. Now comes AbleRoad, a much more comprehensive customer review website/mobile app that allows individuals to post online reviews of a business’s accessibility to individuals with disabilities.

AbleRoad, which worked with Yelp.com to allow both Yelp

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

By Minh N. Vu

Similar to Trip Advisor and Yelp, AXS Map is a  new customer review website/mobile app that allows people to review businesses on their accessibility to people with disabilities.  Every business that opens its doors to the public can be reviewed.  Hotels, restaurants, retailers, gyms: You name it – it’s on AXS

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

Last month, the Honorable Phyllis J. Hamilton (United States District Judge, Northern District of California) issued an interesting [partial] summary judgment order in the matter of Francie Moeller, et al. v. Taco Bell Corporation, (Case No. C 02-5849) a case pending since December, 2002.  Over the years, this case has been certified as a