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California Drops ADA Challenge
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 5, 2003

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA--Last Friday night, the Medical Board of California chose to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to dismiss its case against Michael J. Hason, which was scheduled to be heard March 25.

The decision means that the case, a ruling on which could have further limited people from suing state agencies under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, might not be heard by the high Court.

Nearly a dozen states, along with the U.S. solicitor general and disability rights advocates from across the country, had been pushing California's Governor Gray Davis and Attorney General Bill Lockyer to drop the case.

Last week, Davis urged the board to withdraw its "petition for certiorari" to the Supreme Court. Over the weekend the board and Lockyer, whose office represented the board, agreed.

Dr. Hason sued the Medical Board of California after it refused to grant him a medical license because of his depression. Hason argued that the board should have given him a reasonable accommodation by offering him a probationary license and requiring him to go through therapy.

An appeals court later ruled that Hason could sue the state board under the ADA, but the board claimed that a 2001 Supreme Court ruling protected it from suits filed by individuals. In that ruling, Alabama v. Garrett, the court determined that state workers could not use the ADA to sue their employers for damages.

The Hason case was considered the most likely during the current term to have a negative ruling against the ADA.

Virginia Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore, who had filed amicus (friend of the court) briefs on behalf of his and seven other states against Hason's position in the case, was sharply criticized by his state's Office for Protection and Advocacy, and from Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, chairman of the Virginia Disability Commission.

Related articles:
"Crip activists get CA to drop Supreme Court appeal" (Ragged Edge Online)


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