Big thanks to our amici!

The Department of Justice and a terrific collection of disability rights organizations filed amicus briefs before the Tenth Circuit in our Hollister case.   A big thanks to Mark Gross and Sasha Samberg-Champion at the DOJ and to Michelle Uzeta, who drafted the brief on behalf of the disability rights amici:   Legal Center for People with Disabilities And Older People, American Association of People with Disabilities, Center for Rights of Parents with Disabilities, Disability Rights Advocates, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Disability Rights Legal Center, Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center, National Disability Rights Network, and National Federation of the Blind. We deeply appreciate the support and enjoyed reading the excellent briefs! 2014-02-10 Legal Center etc Amicus Brief2014-02-10 DOJ...

CREEC and co-counsel file respose brief in Hollister appeal

We filed our response brief to the 10th Circuit in the Hollister case yesterday. As our many blogfans know, CREEC and the Colorado Cross Disability Coalition are challenging the Raised Porch Entrances at Hollister clothing stores as violations of Title III of the ADA: Shoppers who use wheelchairs have no access to the porch or the entrances from it to the store; instead, they have to go around to the side to accessible entrances decorated to look like shuttered windows. We prevailed before the district court and Hollister appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.   The appeal is a real law-nerd smörgÃ¥sbord*:   Hollister challenged standing, class certification, the merits (why the porches violate the ADA), and the injunction to fix the porches.   Our response brief addresses all of these arguments.   From the statement of the case:         The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) is a “broad mandate” to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities, and to “integrate them “˜into the economic and social mainstream of American life.'”   PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin, 532 U.S. 661, 675-76 (2001) (citations omitted).   Congress found that “historically, society has tended to isolate and segregate individuals with disabilities.”   42 U.S.C. § 12101(a)(2).   Thus, “[i]ntegration is fundamental to the purposes of the ADA.   Provision of segregated accommodations and services relegate persons with disabilities to second-class citizen status.”   H. Rep. 101-485(III), 101st Cong., 2d Sess, at 56, reprinted in 1990 U.S.C.C.A.N. 445, 479 (“House Rep. pt. 3″).   The goal of the ADA is to “”˜eradicat[e] the “invisibility of the handicapped.”’  ...

Abercrombie has a Chief Diversity Officer?

Disability Rights Organizations Congratulate Abercrombie on LGBT Recognition Urge Company to Eliminate Segregated Entrances at Hollister Stores Earlier today, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. announced that it received a high score from the Human Rights Campaign for its LGBT-related employment policies.   A&F’s “Chief Diversity Officer” stated that A&F was “delighted to earn another perfect score” on LGBT employment policies. The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition and Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center congratulate A&F on this recognition but are puzzled that a company with a Chief Diversity Officer would continue to fight for the right to maintain segregated entrances for its disabled and non-disabled customers. At approximately 230 of A&F’s Hollister brand stores nationwide, A&F constructed raised porch entrances that are inaccessible to customers in wheelchairs. At these stores, customers who use wheelchairs must enter through a side entrance, pictured above in the far right-hand side of the photo.   CCDC and CREEC challenged this segregation in court under the Americans with Disabilities Act, resulting in an August 20, 2013, judgment requiring A&F to make its raised porch entrances accessible. Rather than make its entrances accessible, however, A&F has elected to appeal this decision, continuing to fight for the right to maintain segregated entrances. CCDC and CREEC call on A&F’s Chief Diversity Officer to expand his concept of diversity past its “proud support of the LGBT community,” to embrace fully-integrated access to its...

KGNU radio interview on the outdoor exercise class action

Student lawyer extraordinaire Amelia Messegee gave a terrific interview about our new outdoor exercise class action on one of our local public radio stations. Amelia’s interview starts around the 10:10 mark (though University of Michigan fans will not want to miss the classic public radio segment on the missing wolverine at around the 6:60 mark).  Amelia does a terrific job of explaining the case, including a good plain-language explanation of what it means for a case to be a class action. She also reassures listeners that we are only seeking the opportunity for inmates to exercise outdoors, not for mints on their pillows or a spa day. Nicely done,...

Outdoor exercise lawsuit gets some press

KOAA, a TV station in Colorado Springs, covered the lawsuit we and DU’s Civil Rights Clinic filed yesterday, challenging the lack of outdoor exercise for inmates in solitary confinement at the Colorado State Penitentiary.   There was even video, which is to say audio, of yours truly.     A slightly shorter piece appeared in today’s Denver Post. Update:   Good articles in both Westword and the Denver Post.   The latter may be updated now, but originally quoted “attorney Amy Robertson of the University of Denver’s law school clinic.”   Wouldn’t that be...

No outdoor exercise in solitary: CREEC and the Civil Rights Clinic file class action against CDOC

Inmates in solitary confinement at the Colorado State Penitentiary (CSP) never get to exercise outside. In fact, unless they are being transported to another facility, to court, or to the hospital, they never go outdoors at all. Ever. Today, we and our co-counsel from DU’s Civil Rights Clinic filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of three inmates at CSP against the Colorado Department of Corrections challenging this practice. Instead of outdoor exercise, inmates in solitary confinement at CSP get to spend at most one hour per day, generally five days per week, in an exercise cell that looks like this: The CDOC calls this “outdoors” because the tall, narrow windows at the end open to the outside. But even that limited exposure is recessed from the wall and covered with a thick grate: If this case sounds familiar, that’s because Judge R. Brooke Jackson has already held that this denial of outdoor exercise is unconstitutional in our Anderson case. Judge Jackson’s August 24, 2012, opinion stated: Mr.  Anderson   . . . has been deprived of any form of outdoor exercise, and virtually any meaningful exposure to fresh air, for 12 years. Nothing was presented in the evidence of this case to suggest that the end is in sight. Coupled with the other conditions of administrative segregation at the CSP, this prolonged deprivation is a paradigm of inhumane treatment. Anderson v. Colorado, 887 F. Supp. 2d 1133, 1140 (D. Colo. 2012). He gave the CDOC 60 days to present a plan to remedy this violation.  Id. at 1157. Just before this deadline, the CDOC moved Mr. Anderson out...