Court Patrons And Employees Sue For Courthouse Access
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 25, 2003
WARSAW, KENTUCKY--Four local residents with disabilities -- a former county magistrate, two attorneys and a court employee -- have filed a lawsuit claiming that the historic Gallatin County Courthouse violates the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, along with other federal and state anti-discrimination laws.
The suit, filed Wednesday at U.S. District Court in Covington, claims that the courthouse is not easily accessible from the outside, and that there is no elevator or accessible restrooms inside.
"The Gallatin County Courthouse is a physical barrier standing between disabled persons and full access to the courts of justice and other essential government services," said Marcus Carey, the attorney representing the plaintiffs.
County officials did not deny that the 165-year-old building is inaccessible to wheelchair users and other citizens with disabilities. In fact, the Administrative Office of the Courts approved a renovation plan that would have improved accessibility two years ago.
The problem, said Judge-Executive George Zubaty, is that the current budget does not include the estimated $2.3 million it would take to upgrade the historic building.
Elsie Ewbank, the former county magistrate who is also a plaintiff in the case, isn't buying Zubaty's argument.
"How long have they had the Americans with Disabilities Act?" she asked. "They've had plenty of time to fix this problem."
"Disabled demand courthouse access" (Courier-Journal)