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Disability Discrimination

     Monthly Law Joural Article: Police Interactions with Deaf Persons, 2009 (3) AELE Mo. L. J. 101.
     Monthly Law Joural Article: Police Interactions With Autistic Persons, 2009 (7) AELE Mo. L. J. 101
     Monthly Law Joural Article: Police Accommodation of Mentally Impaired Persons Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (Part One), 2015 (9) AELE Mo. L. J. 101.
     Monthly Law Joural Article: Police Accommodation of Mentally Impaired Persons Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (Part Two), 2015 (10) AELE Mo. L. J. 101.

     A seven-year-old second grade student in a public school received special education services because of autism. One morning, he disrupted his class, ran away from the staff, kicked a social worker, and kicked and shot rubber bands at a school security officer. To protect the student and others, the security officer handcuffed the child to a chair. Before doing so, the officer called the child's mother, who granted her permission to restrain him, and repeatedly warned the child to calm down. The officer was aware of the child's disability. Afterwards, the child's parents sued the school system under the Americans with Disabilities Act, arguing that it denied the child a protected benefit of education and discriminated against him on the basis of disability. A federal appeals court upheld summary judgment for the defendant, agreeing that the plaintiffs had failed to show disability discrimination either by showing denial of a protected benefit, the implementation of a policy that imposed a disparate impact on the disabled, or failing to act on a request for reasonable accommodation. J. V. v. Albuquerque Public Schools, #15-2071, 813 F.3d 1289 (10th Cir. 2016).
     A woman living in a group home for the mentally ill started to act erratically and threatened to kill her social worker. Two officers were sent to the home to escort her to a facility for temporary evaluation and treatment. When they entered her room, she grabbed a knife, threatening to kill them. They retreated and closed the door, but later reentered, concerned about what was going on within the room, and allegedly without considering if they could accommodate her disability. She again confronted them with the knife, and after pepper spray failed to subdue her, they shot her multiple times. She sued the city for alleged disability discrimination in arresting her without accommodating her disability, and the two officers for allegedly violating her Fourth Amendment rights. A federal appeals court ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act applied and that the issue of whether the plaintiff's disability should have been accommodated should be decided by a jury. It also held that the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity, since it was clearly established that, in the absence of a need for immediate entry, officers cannot forcibly enter the home of an armed, mentally ill person who has been acting irrationally and threatened everyone who entered.  The U.S. Supreme Court granted review, but dismissed its review of the issue of whether the ADA "requires law enforcement officers to provide accommodations to an armed, violent, and mentally ill suspect in the course of bringing the suspect into custody" as "improvidently granted." A review of this issue was based on the assumption that the city would argue that the ADA does not apply when officers face an armed and dangerous person. Instead, the city argued that the plaintiff was not "qualified" for an accommodation because she posed a direct threat to others, a threat which could not "be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services." Since the court below had not addressed the issues in that context, review by the U.S. Supreme Court was not proper. The Court also noted that the parties in the case had also failed to address the related question of whether a public entity such as the defendant city could be vicariously liable for damages under Title II of the ADA for an arrest made by its officers. The Court did hold, however, that the two individual defendant officers were entitled to qualified immunity on the Fourth Amendment claims. They did not violate the plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights when they opened her door the first time, and could, without a doubt, also have opened her door the second time if she had not been disabled. Their use of force in response to her threats with the knife was reasonable. So the only remaining question was whether they violated her Fourth Amendment rights when they opened her door the second time rather than attempting to accommodate her disability. As there was no clearly established law on that issue, they were entitled to qualified immunity. City and County of San Francisco v. Sheehan, #13-1412, 135 S. Ct. 1765, 2015 U.S. Lexis 3200.
     Under current security procedures imposed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), some passengers cannot pass through some security checkpoints without submitting to a pat-down that includes security personnel touching areas around the groin and breasts to search for concealed metallic and non-metallc weapons. A woman whose job required her to fly frequently, had a metallic joint replacement and was often subjected to such searches. She sued the TSA, claiming that its standard pat-down constituted an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment, as well as violating federal disability discrimination law, specifically the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A federal appeals court rejected both claims. The TSA could conduct pat-downs to search for weapons on passengers who triggered walk-through metal detector alarms just as it did for passengers who declined to pass through advanced imaging technology scanners. The security procedures did not discriminate against persons with metallic joint replacements as the plaintiff could not point to any government benefit, service, program, or facility to which the TSA's screening denied her meaningful access on the basis of a disability. Ruskai v. Pistole, #12-1392, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 24350 (1st Cir.).
     A mentally ill delusional man left his house naked, beat houses in the area with a stick, returned home and told his mother that he was God and that she must worship him. She went to a neighbor's home to call 911. When police arrived, she told them she was afraid her son was going to kill her. She also informed them that there was a gun in the house. The man briefly emerged from the house naked, claiming to be God, and went back inside, before again emerging. He would not obey orders, initially lying down, but then rising to a standing position with clenched fists. A Taser was fired in the dart mode because of fear that the man would attack officers, and it was activated for six full five-second cycles and an additional two-second cycle. A second officer then also fired his Taser in the dart mode and activated it for four five-second cycles. The man continued to be combative and to ignore commands, kicking and otherwise resisting. He later went into cardiac arrest and died. Product liability claims against the Taser manufacturer were voluntarily dismissed. The trial court found that the officers' uses of their Tasers were reasonable under the circumstances, as the man was uncooperative, combative, and believed to be dangerous. The court also rejected a claim that the city was liable under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for failing to accommodate the man's mental impairment during his arrest. A federal appeals court upheld the trial court's rulings, finding that even if the repeated use of the Taser was found to be excessive force, such rights were not clearly established on July 7, 2008, the date of the incident. The court noted that the decedent continued his violent and aggressive behavior at the time and was non-compliant. The officers were entitled to qualified immunity. De Boise, Sr. v. St. Louis County, Missouri, #13-2742, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 14276 (8th Cir.).
     A woman suffering from a mental illness and resisting officers' attempts to take her to a mental health facility claimed that the officers violated her rights by entering her residence without a warrant and shooting her five or six times when she threatened them with a knife. The officers were justified in the initial entry into the home under the emergency aid exception to the warrant requirement because they had an objectively reasonable belief that she was in need of assistance. There were, however, triable issues of fact as to whether the officers violated the Fourth Amendment in forcing a second entry and thereby allegedly provoking a near fatal confrontation, leading to an unnecessary use of deadly force that could have been avoided. The appeals court also held that federal disability discrimination statutes apply to arrests, and that there was a triable issue as to whether the officers failed to reasonably accommodate her disability when they forced their way into her room, arguably failing to take her mental illness into account or to utilize generally accepted law enforcement practices fo peacefully resolving such a confrontation with a mentally ill person.  Sheehan v. City and County of San Francisco, #11-16401, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 3321 (9th Cir.).
     Officers arrived at a man's home after his mother called 911 to report that he was having a psychotic episode and had attacked a family member. The officers were told that he might have a knife or a screwdriver. He was uncooperative with orders to lie down. A struggle ensued, during which officers claimed that he reached under a pillow and pulled out a knife that he swung at an officer. An officer fired six shots from his gun, hitting him several times. In a lawsuit, the man denied attacking officers with a knife. A federal appeals court found that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity on disability discrimination claims as there was no clearly established law that the officers had a duty to accommodate the arrestee's disability of schizophrenia while trying to secure him and take him into custody. The officer who fired the shots, however, was not entitled to qualified immunity, as there was a disputed issue of fact as to whether the arrestee at that time posed an objectively reasonable threat of violence towards the officers. The court rejected a failure to train claim against the city.  Roberts v. City of Omaha, #12-3426, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 15624 (8th Cir.).
     A mentally retarded adult man was interrogated by a police investigator and was subsequently charged with misdemeanor lascivious conduct with a minor after making statements in response to allegedly leading questions. He was later ruled incompetent to stand trial. A federal appeals court found that the police investigator's conduct did not violate the man's substantive due process rights as the investigation and charging decision did not "shock the conscience." Indeed, the investigator had altered his style of questioning, more fully explained the Miranda warnings, and placed the man in a "less intimidating" room for the interrogation. No reasonable jury could find that the investigator or city failed to make reasonable accommodations for the man's disability. Folkerts v. City of Waverly, #12-1083, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 3847 (8th Cir.).
     A deaf man arrested in a domestic violence situation involving him and one of his deaf children stated a viable disability discrimination claim. He asserted that handcuffing him in the back prevented him from writing notes in order to communicate with the deputies. "The injury is the failure to make communication as effective as it would have been among deputies and persons without disabilities." The deputies were entitled to qualified immunity from liability, however, based on the exigent circumstances involved in a domestic violence situation. With the deputies concerned about their own safety and the safety of the man's family, it was reasonable to try to accommodate his disability by calling an American Sign Language trainee to assist in communication, and by attempting to use his father as an interpreter, even though those accommodations were not the best practices. Seremeth v. Board of County Commissioners Frederick County, #10-1711, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 5105 (4th Cir.).
     Simply confiscating the cell phone from a hearing impaired arrestee during his brief 24-hour detention did not constitute disability discrimination by the county. The plaintiff failed to show that he was denied services or reasonable accommodation on the basis of his disability. The county sheriff, as an arm of the state under Georgia law, was entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity on Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) claims, while no ADA claims were possible against individual officers, since the ADA only prohibits disability discrimination by a public entity. Rylee v. Chapman, #08-15036, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 5056 (Unpub. 11th Cir.).
     Mother failed to establish claims that a caseworker and police investigator violated the due process rights of her and her children by allegedly suppressing evidence of physical and sexual abuse of the children by their father and providing false or misleading testimony about the mother's actions during custody hearings. The federal civil rights claims were barred since they involved issues that had been decided in the custody proceedings by state courts. The mother could not, acting as her own lawyer, pursue disability discrimination claims on behalf of one of her children, who has a speech disability, based on the alleged failure of the defendants to provide assistance from a qualified speech therapist for the child during their interviews concerning possible sexual abuse. Shaw v. Lynchburg Dept. of Social Services, #6:08CV00022, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 6659 (W.D. Va.).
     Federal appeals court rejects claim that police officers failed to properly reasonably accommodate, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a mentally ill man holding a woman hostage in his apartment. Even if there was such a duty of reasonable accommodation, which the court did not decide, the defendants would have satisfied it by their actions of seeking information which confirmed that the suspect had a mental illness, and calling in a hostage negotiator. There was no evidence that they did anything to escalate the situation, and they tried to calm the situation down by trying to speak with the suspect, and even waited two hours before entering the apartment and shooting and killing the suspect, who came towards them swinging what appeared to be a scythe and brandishing what looked like a knife. The accommodations proposed by the plaintiffs, which included summoning mental health professional and the suspect's family and administering medication, were not reasonable under the circumstances. Waller v. City of Danville Virginia, No. 072099, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 2853 (4th Cir.).
     In a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by three deaf arrestees, a deaf girlfriend, and a deaf husband, a county provided public "services" to non-detained individuals by enabling arrestees to contact them, so that the husband and girlfriend stated viable disability discrimination claims under federal and Minnesota state law based on the alleged failure to provide communications assistance accommodating their deafness. Bahl v. County of Ramsey, Civil No. 08-5001, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 10946 (D. Minn.).
     Two arrestees and a relative, all of whom are deaf and mute, sued a police department and a county, claiming that officers who carried out the arrest after a domestic disturbance call and the county violated their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq. by failing to provide them with a sign language interpreter during the arrest, at an initial appearance, and at a dispositional hearing, as well as in failing to give them access to a teletypewriter phone during their detention. The court rejected these claims, noting that the two arrestees were taken into custody not because they were disabled but because they assaulted the officers, and other individuals, or attempted to interfere with a lawful arrest. The defendants did not intentionally discriminate against the plaintiffs on the basis of their disability, and the relay operators and written communications provided were reasonable accommodations under the circumstances, permitting them a means of effective communication. Further, one of the arrestees voluntarily served as an interpreter at a hearing on the other arrestee's criminal charges. The arrest, the court also reasoned, did not constitute a "service, activity, or program" to which the protections of the ADA applied. Tucker v. Tennessee, No. 06-6208, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 18618 (6th Cir.).
     The state of Pennsylvania was not entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity against claims asserted by a deaf mother and her deaf son contending that their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12131, and the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 794, were violated by the failure to provide them with a qualified sign language interpreter during their arrest or while they were incarcerated at a county prison. Congress abrogated any such immunity that the state might have in connection with these claims. Gonzales v. Pennsylvania, No. 07-2901, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 13514 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
     Six Muslim Imams sued an airline and an airport commission for alleged violations of their federal civil rights in having airport commission police remove them from an airplane after boarding, and arresting them and questioning them for several hours, after three of them had allegedly prayed together at the gate prior to boarding. Their lawsuit also claimed that the airline refused to rebook them after clearing them of any wrongful actions. A federal trial court found that the plaintiffs adequately asserted Fourth Amendment and equal protection claims, based on an alleged lack of probable cause and alleged motivations of race and religion for their arrest. The court rejected, however, a state law false arrest claim against the airport commission, while finding that such a claim was possible against the airline. The court further found that a viable claim was stated for intentional, but not negligent, infliction of emotional distress against the airline under Minnesota state law. The court rejected a claim by one of the Imams, who is blind, for disability discrimination, ruling that the Air Carrier Access Act, 49 U.S.C. Sec. 41705, does not provide for private lawsuits for such discrimination. Shqeirat v. U.S. Airways Group, Inc., No. Civ. 07-1513, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 85881 (D. Minn. 2007).
     When police officers reasonably believed that they were facing a potentially violent hostage situation in which an individual was in danger, they had no obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide a reasonable accommodation for an allegedly disabled mentally ill suspect.  In a previous decision, officers were held not liable for shooting and killing the suspect, who had threatened the life of an officer, and who they perceived was holding a knife and a large metal pipe with a hook at the end, and kept advancing towards them despite orders to stop and drop his weapons. Because the officers, under these exigent circumstances, had no duty to reasonably accommodate the suspect's mental illness, it was irrelevant whether or not the police department had effectively trained its officer in providing such accommodations to mentally ill hostage takers. Waller v. City of Danville, Virginia, Case No. 4:03CV00039, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 73582 (W.D. Va.).
     Even if, as the arrestee claimed, deputies falsified certain information in applying for an arrest warrant, there was still sufficient information left supporting a finding of probable cause, so that the deputies were entitled to qualified immunity in a subsequent false arrest lawsuit. Further proceedings were ordered, however, on whether the arresteee, who was deaf, was subjected to violation of his rights under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12132 following his arrest. Robertson v. Las Animas County Sheriff's Dept., No. 06-1027, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 21706 (10th Cir.).
     Federal appeals court upholds dismissal of HIV positive person's lawsuit claiming that police engaged in disability discrimination under federal and Florida state law by allegedly refusing, after he was a victim of a crime, to investigate it, and by denying him access to services after he reported the officers' alleged refusal. Under state law, the decision to make an arrest was discretionary, so that police were entitled to immunity on the state law claims for negligent investigation, supervision and retention. A state statute mandating no discrimination against HIV-infected individuals required written notice of his claim, which the plaintiff failed to provide. The plaintiff failed to adequately plead claims under either the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Albra v. City of Fort Lauderdale, No. 06-14544, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 9376 (11th Cir.).
     Estate of paranoid schizophrenic shot and killed by police who came to his house in response to a 911 call from his family requesting assistance failed to show that more adequate training as to how to respond to incidents involving mentally disturbed persons would have resulted in a different result. The court found that the officers did not create the dangerous situation. Thao v. City of St. Paul, No. 06-2339, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 7553 (8th Cir.).
     Failure to provide an interpreter during a drunk driving arrest of a deaf arrestee was not disability discrimination. It was not a reasonable modification of normal procedures to wait for an oral interpreter before making a deaf motorist take field sobriety tests. The arrestee was able to read lips and did respond to the officer's directions. The court found that effective communications between the officer and arrestee was established. Bircoll v. Miami-Dade County, No. 06-11098, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 5269 (11th Cir.).
     Disabled man's claim that his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) were violated because no handicapped parking space was created for him next to his parents' residence rejected, since the ADA gave him no right to park his vehicle somewhere that he would not be able to park if he were not disabled. Douris v. Newtown Borough, Inc., No. 06-2015, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 30154 (3rd Cir.). [N/R] ]
     Officer acted properly in shooting a man who ignored orders to show his hands, and instead backed his car into a security guard's vehicle, followed by accelerating down an alley towards other police officers in his path. The officer's actions were aimed at trying to prevent him from injuring the other officers, and were reasonable under the circumstances, even if the suspect was then experiencing a bipolar episode. Because of this, there was also no violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Sanders v. City of Minneapolis, Minn., No. 06-1356, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 1396 (8th Cir.). [N/R]
     Officer was not entitled to qualified immunity on claim that he used excessive force in shooting and killing a mentally ill youth as he walked toward the officer while screaming because, if the facts were as alleged, it was not reasonable to shoot an unarmed person under these circumstances. The court rejects, however, a claim for violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C.S. §§ 12131-12165, holding that it does not apply to a police officer's actions in response to reported disturbances. County's 16-hour training course teaching officers how to relate to mentally ill persons, combined with the lack of any incidents in which county officers violated the rights of such persons, precluded success on a claim for inadequate training. Rada v. Miami-Dade County, Florida, Case No. 05-23126, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 89510 (S.D. Fla.).  [N/R]
     Shooting and killing of mentally ill man inside home, after he stabbed one of two deputies who came there to check on him, did not violate Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The administrator of his estate failed to show that the decedent was denied governmental services "by reason" of his disability of mental illness. Officers were also entitled to qualified immunity for their entry into the home because they had a reasonable belief that their entry was lawful. Buchanan v. State of Maine, No. 06-1466, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 28352 (1st Cir.). [N/R]
     Arrestee failed to show that an officer used excessive force against her in handcuffing her, and the failure to show that any officer violated her rights barred any claim against the city for alleged inadequate training as to how to handcuff disabled arrestees. The record in the case also showed that the county's policies regarding the booking/fingerprinting procedures for disabled arrestees was adequate. Calvi v. Knox County, No. 06-1843, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 30276 (1st Cir.). [N/R]
     Simply because there was no violation of the Fourth Amendment in shooting and killing a suspect that an officer reasonably could have believed was armed and was holding a person against her will did not mean that the appeals court could say that there were no set of facts from which the plaintiff could establish a claim for either violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12131-12134,  based on the suspect's mental illness or for race discrimination. The appeals court, therefore, ordered further proceedings on both claims. Waller v. City of Danville, Virginia, No. 06-1107, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 30799 (4th Cir.). [N/R]
     Brother of mentally ill man shot to death by officers inside his home failed to show that the officers used excessive force or violated his rights under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12131-12165 by failing to reasonably accommodate his mental illness. The officers only entered the home to check on the mentally ill man's welfare and safety, and he was only shot after he had repeatedly stabbed one of the two officers present. Under these circumstances, the officers were reasonable in believing that their actions were legal, and the lawsuit failed to show that the decedent had been denied governmental services "by reason of" a disability. Buchanan v. State of Maine, No. 06-1466, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 28352 (1st Cir.). [N/R]
    Transporting a man with ALS to a hospital against his will at a time when he was no longer in imminent danger, and despite his "non-verbal" protests, if true, could constitute disability discrimination and a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. Green v. City of N.Y., No. 04-1006, 465 F.3d 65 (2d Cir. 2006). [2006 LR Dec]
     Arrest of a deaf motorist for driving under the influence (DUI) did not violate his right against disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12131, or the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 794, since the basis of the arrest was not his disability, but rather probable cause, based on observation of his driving, and the smell of alcohol on his breath, to believe that he was in fact intoxicated, along with failure of a roadside sobriety test. Bircoll v. Miami-Dade County, No. 05-20954-CIV, 410 F. Supp. 2d 1280 (S.D. Fla. 2006). [N/R]
     Police officers' shooting and killing of homeless mentally ill man sitting in a car was not excessive force when they acted after he raised a gun and did not know, until later, that the weapon was a BB gun. Under the circumstances, it was reasonable for them to believe that their lives were at risk. Court also rules that the officers did not engage in disability discrimination when they called on a SWAT team to extract the man from his car after the shooting, causing a delay in medical treatment. The officers could reasonably do this to ensure the safety of themselves and others at the scene. Ali v. City of Louisville, No. Civ. A. 3:03CV-427, 395 F. Supp. 2d 527 (W.D. Ky. 2005). [N/R]
     State of Maine was not liable for the death of a mentally ill man shot and killed by police as he was attempting to stab an officer with a knife in his residence. The state's alleged inadequate provision of mental health services, if proven, did not have a disparate impact on the decedent, in violation of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) provisions prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disabilities by public entities, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12132, as he was not denied any public service available to able members of the public. Buchanan v. Maine, No. CIV.04-26, 366 F. Supp. 2d 169 (D. Me. 2005). [N/R]
     Parents of mentally ill man who died, allegedly of positional asphyxia, after being taken into custody by police officers, stated a claim for violation of his civil rights by asserting that the officers, who transported him to a hospital, handcuffed and hog-tied, in a face-down position, had noticed his irregular breathing, but failed to adjust his position at that time. Court also finds a possibly viable claim for disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12132, based on alleged failure to provide adequate training for officers in handling encounters with mentally ill persons. Arnold v. City of York, No. 4:CV-03-1352, 340 F. Supp. 2d 550 (M.D. Pa. 2004). [N/R]
     State police practice of recording, for internal purposes, mental health detentions as arrests did not violate equal protection of law, or federal disability discrimination statutes. Disability Advocates, Inc. v. McMahon, No. 03-7834, 674 (2nd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
     Wheelchair bound woman failed to show that city police engaged in intentional disability discrimination in stopping her or arresting her for riding her wheelchair in the street, even though she did show that the city violated federal accessibility requirements in failing to provide proper curb cuts on the streets. She was not entitled to an award of attorneys' fees as a "prevailing party," because she failed to obtain any specific relief from the trial court. Dillery v. City of Sandusky, No. 03-3465, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 2882 (6th Cir.). [2005 LR Apr]
     Police officers' actions in shooting and killing a deaf man armed with a rifle in a parking lot who intended to protest discriminatory treatment of disabled people did not constitute disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The shooting occurred because the decedent's actions threatened others, not because of his disability. Vincent v. Town of Scarborough, #02-239, 2003 U.S. Dist. Lexis 20910; confirmed, 2003 U.S. Dist. Lexis 22934 (D. Me. 2003). [2004 LR Sep]
     U.S. Supreme Court rules that states may be sued for damages under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for acts of disability discrimination which allegedly interfere with the constitutional right of access to the courts, and that such claims are not barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity. Court does not provide a clear answer about whether similar lawsuits against governmental employees for damages are proper in other circumstances of alleged disability discrimination in the providing of public services or programs. Tennessee v. Lane, #02-1667, 2004 U.S. Lexis 3386. [2004 LR Jun]
     City found to have intentionally discriminated against group home for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts by failing to reasonably accommodate it in relation to exempting it from certain zoning regulations in violation of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12131(2), and in enforcing housing policies and fire code in a discriminatory manner against disabled residents of home. Tsombanidis v. West Haven Fire Dept., #02-7171(c), 352 F.3d 565 (2nd Cir. 2003). [N/R]
     Commissioner of Minnesota state Department of Public Safety was entitled to official immunity against lawsuit by disabled individual claiming that fees which are charged for a disabled parking permit violated a state disability discrimination statute. Podruch v. State Department of Public Safety, No. A03-809, 674 N.W.2d 252 (Minn. App. 2004). [N/R]
     Officers did not violate the Fourth Amendment rights of a woman with Down Syndrome or subject her to disability discrimination by making a warrantless entry into her apartment in response to her 911 call, seizing her, and involuntarily taking her to be hospitalized in a psychiatric unit. Anthony v. City of New York, #01-7987(L), 339 F.3d 129 (2nd Cir. 2003). [2003 LR Nov]
     Brain-damaged motorist who claimed that a police officer used excessive force against him in arresting him on suspicion of driving while intoxicated failed to establish a pattern of the use of excessive force against disabled suspects or inadequate training sufficient to support a claim against the municipality. Officers were trained on how to deal with persons with physical and mental disabilities and an explicit policy prohibited the excessive use of force. Pahle v. Colebrookdale Township, 227 F. Supp. 2ed 361 (E.D.Pa. 2002). [N/R]
    Hearing-impaired criminal complainant could pursue disability discrimination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12132 et seq. against city based on allegation that officer acted with deliberate indifference towards her hearing disability in refusing to provide her with a qualified interpreter during a discussion concerning the crime, despite her repeated request to do so. Center v. City of West Carrollton, 227 F. Supp. 2d 863 (S.D. Ohio 2002). [N/R]
     Federal appeals court upholds $230,000 disability discrimination award to severely hearing-impaired arrestee for county's failure to take his disability into account during the process of arresting him for driving while intoxicated. Court finds that the evidence was sufficient to find that the county intentionally discriminated against him by failing to find a more effective method than verbal communication to explain things to him. Liability could be imposed on county without showing an official policy or that the deputy who arrested the motorist was a policymaker. Delano-Pyle v. Victoria County, Texas, #00-41038, 302 F.3d 567 (5th Cir. 2002). [2003 LR Feb.]
     Deaf arrestee could not recover damages against "unnamed" or "John Doe" officer defendants for alleged violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq., in connection with failure to attempt to communicate with him during his arrest through "auxiliary aids and services." No claims for damages may be brought under Title II against defendants in their individual capacities. Kennington v. Carter, 216 F. Supp. 2d 856 (S.D. Ind. 2002). [N/R]
        337:4 Officer's shooting and killing of mentally disturbed man who came towards him armed with two machetes did not constitute disability discrimination; if disturbed individual was "denied access to medical services," it was because of his violent, threatening behavior, not because he was mentally disabled. Thompson v. Williamson County, Tenn., No. 99-5458, 219 F.3d 555 (6th Cir. 2000).
     332:117 It was disabled mentally disturbed man's own behavior in attempting to assault others with a knife at a convenience store, rather than a police officer's reaction in shooting him which resulted in his injuries; police officer's use of deadly force under the circumstances was not disability discrimination. Hainze v. Richards, No. 99- 50222, 207 F. 3d 795 (5th Cir. 2000).
     335:167 Officers' actions in detaining an autistic youth for questioning after he reportedly acted strangely while trespassing in a homeowner's garage was a proper investigatory stop; ensuing confrontation with youth and his subsequent arrest for assaulting an officer were not a violation of either the Fourth Amendment or federal disability discrimination statutes. Bates v. Chesterfield County, Va., #99-1663, 216 F.3d 367 (4th Cir. 2000).
     326:21 Police department's action of purchasing patrol wagons without safety nets and using them to transport detainees did not constitute deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of serious harm; no federal civil rights liability for injuries detainee suffered when thrown about by vehicle motions after being placed in wagon with his hands cuffed behind his back. Spencer v. Knapheide Truck Equipment Co., #98-3717, 183 F.3d 902 (8th Cir. 1999).
     323:165 Failure to provide interpreter to deaf woman before officers arrested her was not disability discrimination; officers had probable cause to make the arrest, did not arrest her because of her disability, adequately conveyed Miranda warnings with a written statement, and did not subject arrestee to custodial interrogation. Patrice v. Murphy, 43 F.Supp. 2d 1156 (W.D. Wash. 1999).
     323:164 Family of paranoid schizophrenic man shot and killed by police officer as he smashed car windows could not assert claim that police action was disability discrimination in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Gohier v. Enright, #98-1149, 186 F.3d 1216 (10th Cir. 1999).
     321:133 City's action in giving parking citations to disabled motorist who parked in disabled spaces but only had another state's disability parking permit was not a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Lai v. N.Y.C. Government, 991 F.Supp. 362 (S.D.N.Y. 1998), reported in Liability Reporter No. 309, p. 132 (September 1998). Lai v. N.Y. City Government, #98-7273, 163 F.3d 729 (2nd Cir. 1998).
     315:39 Federal appeals court rules that Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibition on discrimination in government services and programs applies to claim that police department failed to provide patrol wagon with wheelchair lift or wheelchair restraints for transporting a paraplegic arrestee with a spinal cord injury. Gorman v. Bartch, #97-4323, 152 F.3d 907 (8th Cir. 1998).
     315:38 City could not be held liable for damages for defects in 911 system which made it more difficult for deaf persons to make emergency calls in absence of a showing of intent to discriminate on the basis of disability. Ferguson v. City of Phoenix, #96-17350, 157 F.3d 668 (9th Cir. 1998).
     309:131 Disabled motorist with disability parking permit from another state was not subjected to disability discrimination when she was given parking tickets that would not have been issued to a New York City resident with a city disability parking permit. Lai v. N.Y.C. Government, 991 F.Supp. 362 (S.D.N.Y. 1998).
     308:117 Unanimous U.S. Supreme Court rules that Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). applies to state prisons, based on "unambiguous" text of statute; Court does not address question of whether applying ADA to state prisons was a constitutional exercise of authority by Congress; ruling expected to result in many more ADA lawsuits by prisoners. Penn. Dept. of Corrections v. Yeskey, No. 97-634, 118 S.Ct. 1952 (1998).
     Editor's Note: In one example of how this may impact on local law enforcement, in an ADA suit brought in state court, the judge refused to dismiss a suit, brought by a paraplegic inmate against a sheriff and others, for transporting him in a van that was not wheelchair accessible. Davis v. Mak, 1997 WL 133410 (Conn. Super. 1997).
     307:101 Deaf motorist who failed field sobriety, breath test and chemical test could not sue for disability discrimination based on failure of county to provide "auxiliary aids and services" for communicating with deaf arrestees; plaintiff failed to allege any injury resulting from this failure. Rosen v. Montgomery County Maryland, 121 F.3d 154 (4th Cir. 1997).
     302:21 Deputy's shooting and killing of mentally disturbed man was not disability discrimination in absence of showing that decedent was a "qualified individual with a disability" or that he was somehow "denied public services" because of such a disability. Thompson v. Williamson County, 965 F.Supp. 1026 (M.D. Tenn. 1997). 301:7 Arrestee could recover damages for disability discrimination against officers if they knew he was deaf but refused to attempt to communicate with him in a way he could understand (in writing). and then arrested him for failure to obey verbal commands that he could not hear and understand. Lewis v. Truitt, 960 F.Supp. 175 (S.D. Ind. 1997).
     {N/R} Federal appeals court overturns $50,000 disability discrimination award to deaf passenger based in part on transit police officer's alleged refusal to supply an interpreter; officer instead communicated by writing notes on a notepad. Burkhart v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 112 F.3d 1207 (D.C. Cir. 1997).
     290:20 Jury awards transit patron with impaired hearing $100,900 in damages in suit claiming transit authority inadequately trained police officers as to how to treat disabled patrons Burkhart v. Washington Metro Area Transit Auth, U.S. Dist. Ct., 1196 U.S. Dist Lexis 18575, DDC, No 1:95CV00812 (JHG/DAR), Mar 15, 1996, 39 ATLA L. Rep.281 (Sept 1996). Editor's Note: In Gorman v. Bishop, 919 F.Supp. 326 (WD Mo 1996), the trial court found that a police chief was entitled to qualified immunity from liability for injuries that a wheelchair-bound arrestee suffered while being transported to jail in a police vehicle that was not equipped with wheelchair lifts or restraints
     287:167 Federal trial court denies summary judgment to town on legally blind man's claim that police chief's revocation of his permit to carry a pistol constituted disability discrimination in violation of the federal Rehabilitation Act Penney v. Town of Middleton, 917 F.Supp. 87 (DNH 1995).
     287:168 Arrestee who was receiving psychological treatment at VA Hospital and was perceived as a "drunk" stated a claim for disability discrimination under the Americans With Disabilities Act when he alleged that deputy who arrested him denied him proper police protection and fair treatment due to his psychological and alcohol problems Barber v. Guay, 910 F.Supp. 790 (D.Ms 1995).
     Deaf man mistakenly arrested as bank robber awarded $100,000 because of city's alleged negligence in failing to provide him with a sign language interpreter after arrest Koth v. City of Los Pasadena, Cal, Los Angeles County Super Ct, No C 698 065, Apr 2-, 1992, 35 ATLA L. Rep.329 (Nov 1992).

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