By: Kristina Launey and Minh Vu

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals approved state-owned hospital’s exclusion of nursing student’s service animal that posed a direct threat to patients and staff with severe allergies where no reasonable alternatives existed to mitigate the threat.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a decision in Bennett v. Hurley Med. Ctr.

Continue Reading Sixth Circuit Approves Hospital’s Exclusion of Nursing Student’s Service Animal

By: John W. Egan and Ashley S. Jenkins

Occasionally we see a story in the news that we can’t resist blogging about, and this one is no exception:  Last week, an emotional support alligator named “Wally” was denied access to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia to watch a professional baseball game.  We thought this would be a nice opportunity to

Continue Reading No MLB Baseball for Wally The Emotional Support Gator

Seyfarth Synopsis: The ADA Title III team launches the second installment of its 3-part video series containing 30 tips for businesses on how to better serve individuals with disabilities. This video covers reasonable modifications to normal policies, practices and procedures.

Take a look at Part 2 of our video series!

If you enjoyed Part 1 of ADA 30:  30 Tips
Continue Reading Seyfarth Team Launches Part 2 of its ADA 30: 30 Tips for 30 Years Video Series

Seyfarth Synopsis:  Is it a service animal or an emotional support animal?  Do I have to allow both?  How to tell one from the other, and the rules that apply.

We get a lot of questions about service and emotional support animals.  It’s obvious that there is a lot of confusion out there.  Here is how to tell one from
Continue Reading Service Animals Vs. Emotional Support Animals: Ferreting Out The Truth

Seyfarth Shaw Synopsis: Effective December 18, 2017, New York became the latest state to enact a law cracking down on fake service animals.

New York recently joined an increasing number of states that have passed laws aimed at curbing abuse of laws and regulations designed to ensure that individuals with disabilities can be accompanied by their service animals in places
Continue Reading New York Passes Law Against Service Animal Fraud, Joining Other States

Over the past few weeks, our Title III Specialty Team contributed to the following pieces:

The site LXBN.com interviewed Seyfarth’s ADA Title III Team leader Minh Vu for an article about a pending lawsuit brought by an advocacy organization for the deaf against seven Hollywood movie studios for failing to provide closed captioning for lyrics of songs in motion pictures.
Continue Reading Seyfarth Insights Featured In Media Coverage Of Access Issues

Blind woman and a guide dogBy Kristen Verrastro and Andrew McNaught

Recently, a Federal court in Northern California denied Uber Technologies, Inc.’s request to dismiss an access lawsuit. The plaintiffs, National Federation of the Blind of California (“NFBC”) and individual blind members with guide dogs, filed an ADA lawsuit alleging Uber-X drivers committed various forms of discrimination, including refusing to transport blind riders with their service animals.

For example, one blind member of NFBC alleged an Uber-X driver pulled up to the curb; yelled “no dogs;” and then cursed at him before taking off without the NFBC member in the driver’s vehicle. The complaint also alleges that Uber-X drivers have mishandled guide dogs, in one instance even forcing a guide dog into the closed trunk of a sedan before transporting the blind rider. When the blind rider realized where the Uber-X driver placed her dog, she pleaded with the driver, who refused to pull over so the rider could remove the dog from the trunk.

Below, we discuss the arguments considered by the Court regarding Uber’s motion to dismiss. The Court ultimately determined that: (1) the plaintiffs had standing under the ADA; and (2) Uber may be subject to the ADA, potentially as a place of “public accommodation.”

Plaintiffs’ Standing under the ADA

Uber argued that the plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the lawsuit because, among other state law arguments: (1) one plaintiff did not have standing under the ADA’s deterrent effect doctrine; and (2) another plaintiff did not have standing as to the likelihood of future harm under the ADA.

The Court rejected Uber’s arguments. In finding that plaintiffs have standing under the ADA, the Court noted that the plaintiffs shouldn’t have to engage in a “futile” attempt to access services when they: (1) have knowledge that Uber has refused service to passengers with service animals; and (2) believe there is a likelihood such refusals will continue. Specifically, the Court said that “the ADA directs this Court to relax its standard for injury in fact in order to discourage both piecemeal litigation and futile attempts at access” when plaintiffs have actual notice of the alleged discriminatory practice and are in fact deterred from attempting access.

The Court also granted NFBC associational standing to bring suit under the ADA on behalf of its members.

Uber May Be Subject to the ADA
Continue Reading Federal Lawsuit Challenging Uber X’s Exclusion of Service Animals Shifts into Discovery

As we start 2015, the recent activity and interest surrounding the issue of service animals under Title III of the ADA show no signs of abating.  Customers and patrons of retailers and other public accommodations continue to test the boundaries of the federal statute and the applicable regulations, as well as those of state statutes, by bringing service animals (some
Continue Reading Seyfarth Partner Provides Insight for SHRM Article on Service Animals

By Christie Jackson

USA Today recently reported that the number of passengers traveling on airplanes with service animals is increasing.  The article explores possible reasons for this increase.  Perhaps – innocently and legitimately – there are more individuals with disabilities flying the friendly skies with their service animals than ever before.  Or, as USA Today suspects, not all are legitimate
Continue Reading Fraud in the Friendly Skies? USA Today Reports Suspiciously Rising Number of Service/Emotional Support Animals On Planes

If your business opens its doors to the public, it has an obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws to make its goods and services accessible to individuals with disabilities.  This includes allowing service animals access.  Places of public accommodation are experiencing increasing difficulty navigating the sometimes complex interactions with customers surrounding service animals, and the
Continue Reading Don’t Miss Our Upcoming Webinar Next Week – Service Animals and The ADA: What You Need to Know