The suit, filed by Access Living and three individuals with disabilities who use power wheelchairs, says the ADA requires Uber to provide wheelchair accessible service as part of its transportation business.
In December 2018, Judge Manish S. Shah of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that Uber must comply with the ADA and allowed the lawsuit to proceed. However, he dismissed Access Living from the suit.
Now, Access Living is appealing its dismissal as a plaintiff to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals because the ADA allows advocacy organizations to enforce the protections of the ADA. As Chicago’s premier advocacy organization for the rights of Chicagoans with disabilities, Access Living must be able to continue in the case as a plaintiff.
“There is a long history of advocacy organizations acting as plaintiffs to enforce civil rights laws,” said Ken Walden Managing Attorney from Access Living. “Otherwise, such laws may not be enforced. The point of this lawsuit is to enforce the ADA and hold the rideshare industry accountable to the ADA.”
The emergence of the rideshare industry, while increasing mobility options for many people, has reduced the travel options available to others, particularly people who use power wheelchairs. The equal access requirements of the ADA must continue even in the fast-paced world of tech developers such as Uber.
“This appeal is about recognizing the right of an organization like Access Living to enforce critical protections under the ADA,” said Steven P. Blonder, Principal in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution practice group at Much Shelist and co-lead counsel on the complaint against Uber. “Its aim is to ensure the ADA’s goals can be fully implemented.”
Plaintiffs are represented by Steven Blonder, Jonathan Loew and Daniel Hantman of the law firm of Much Shelist, P.C. in Chicago, and Charles Petrof of Access Living.