Director of Communications
CHICAGO – The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments today in Access Living’s appeal of its dismissal from a lawsuit against Uber Technologies, Inc. for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The appeal also addresses the dismissal of one of the individual plaintiffs in the case.
The suit, filed by Chicago disability nonprofit 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.
Judge Frank H. Easterbrook, Judge Ilana D. Rovner, and Judge Michael Y. Scudder, Jr. heard the arguments.
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 and plaintiff Rahnee Patrick, who uses a power wheelchair, from the suit.
Access Living appealed its and Rahnee Patrick’s dismissal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. It argues that 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. It also argues that the dismissal of Patrick’s claim on the grounds she only needs to use her power wheelchair periodically, and when she is not using it, she wouldn’t need an accessible vehicle, was also improper because the ADA protects disabilities even when a person’s condition is episodic.
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.
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.
Established in 1980, Access Living is a change agent committed to fostering an inclusive society that enables Chicagoans with disabilities to live fully–engaged and self–directed lives. Nationally recognized as a leading force in the disability advocacy community, Access Living challenges stereotypes, protects civil rights and champions social reform.