Courthouse Barriers To Wheelchair Users Violate Due Process Rights,
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 18, 2006
SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA--Five wheelchair users are suing San Bernardino County and the San Bernardino Superior Court over what they claim are barriers to equal access to the county's 11 courthouses.
The federal class action suit was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs Tuesday by the Disability Rights Legal Center, formerly known as the Western Law Center for Disability Rights. It alleges that systemic problems such as inaccessible parking, courtrooms, witness stands, clerks' offices, filing windows, libraries, restrooms, cafeterias, and elevators create "a real life obstacle course for people with disabilities", in violation of California's Constitution, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, and due process provisions in the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
"I have had to bang on glass doors and fight my way up ramps. I have been caught in the lady's room without any way out other than having a man open the door," said plaintiff Ruthee Goldkorn, who has multiple sclerosis, during a news conference.
"The county chooses what facilities to make accessible," Goldkorn added. "The courthouse should be at the forefront of work to get done. I am here to send a loud message to San Bernardino County -- let my people in!"
The plaintiffs want the court to declare that the county is violating the laws, and order them to make changes to all of the county's courthouse facilities to improve accessibility.
"Suit: Courthouses not accessible to disabled" (Redlands Daily Facts)
"High Court Upholds Access To State Courts: State of Tennessee v. Lane et al" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)