Accessibility Project

Making Real the Promises of the ADA.

Illustration of diverse characters standing in an open doorway in a colorful wall

Disability is a mighty catalyst for change in the world. Follow and join the disability community as we lead, in our activist lives, as we fight for justice for all.

Carrie Ann Lucas

Purpose

The Accessibility Project fights with urgency to make real the promises of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — that people with disabilities must have equal access. CREEC educates businesses, government entities, the disability community, and their allies about the legal protections guaranteed by the ADA and similar laws. We also engage in negotiation and individual and impact litigation when necessary to address disability rights violations.  

Art by Emily Harvey, author and illustrator of a children’s book series called The Girl with the Robot Leg. https://emily-harvey.com/  

How the Accessibility Project Helps

Our education and enforcement work focuses on these areas:

  • Physical accessibility – including accessible curb ramps; hotel transportation; stadiums and entertainment venues; and jails and prisons. 
  • Equal and effective communication – removing communications barriers for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind, and Blind individuals in medical, law enforcement, detention, and other settings. Check out our FAC program below for more information.
  • Fair housing – including reasonable accommodations in policies; reasonable physical modifications in apartments and condos; and effective communication.

If you or someone you know is experiencing disability discrimination we can help!

If you’re an attorney or advocate with a client experiencing disability discrimination we can help!

Fast Advocacy for Communication Program

We designed our Fast Advocacy for Communication (FAC) program to respond quickly when Deaf or hard of hearing people are denied interpreters or other communication needs for upcoming appointments and events. Our FAC program educates medical providers, entertainment venues, and others about the law and provides resources to help secure communication services. This often results in a positive resolution prior to the appointment or event. CREEC does not charge for this service. Here’s more information about our FAC program.

If you’ve been refused a sign language interpreter or other auxiliary aid or service necessary for communication at a future appointment or event, email intakes@creeclaw.org or call our videophone number: (720) 407-0375. We may be able to help!

Accessibility Project Leadership

Martie Lafferty, Director of CREEC’s Accessibility Project, has been practicing disability rights law for two decades. She joined CREEC in March 2019 and works from our Nashville office. During her career, Martie has successfully resolved multiple accessibility issues through education, advocacy, negotiation, and litigation. She serves on the board of directors of the Tennessee Fair Housing Council and Blind Early Services TN.

Read more about Martie.

Selected Casework

Increasing the Accessibility of Cities

CREEC investigates, negotiates, and monitors cities’ compliance with the ADA’s requirements for accessible curb ramps. Consent decrees negotiated by CREEC and co-counsel require cities to install and remediate thousands of ADA compliant curb ramps over multi-year periods. Check out this video about installation activities in Portland, Oregon.

Videophones and Other Effective Communication in Prison

CREEC sued the Colorado Department of Corrections, resulting in an order requiring the Department  to provide videophones for Deaf prisoners. Read more information about this case. CREEC is currently litigating a case against the Tennessee Department of Correction challenging its failure to provide effective communication — including videophones and sign language interpreters — for Deaf prisoners, and we are investigating several other prison systems. 

Full Enjoyment of Stadiums and Arenas for Deaf People and People Who Use Wheelchairs

CREEC has brought and settled a number of cases increasing the accessibility of sporting venues for disabled people, including wheelchair access and open captioning for Deaf and hard of hearing fans. 

Captioning of Public Content on University Websites

Following two successful settlements, captioning is now guaranteed for most online content at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. CREEC is interested in investigating other university or government websites that fail to caption their online video and audio content. 

Accessible Hotel Transportation

While abled people can easily rent a car or use a hotel van while traveling, accessible vans are astronomically expensive and hotels are woefully far behind in providing required accessible transportation. CREEC has brought and settled several cases requiring hotels to provide accessible vans for guests who use wheelchairs. 

Fair Housing

With longtime experience working on fair housing cases, CREEC’s newest housing discrimination investigation focuses on discrimination by housing providers of people participating in medication assisted treatment (MAT) programs.

Selected Presentations and Articles

Hearing Loss of America, Boulder Chapter

In April 2021, Amy Robertson presented to HLAA’s Boulder Chapter on the ADA rights of people who are hard of hearing, as well as CREEC’s Fast Advocacy for Communication program.

Colorado Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind

In March, 2021, Amy Robertson and Kyle Neumann presented to the Colorado Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind on the grant CREEC received from the Colorado Health Foundation to investigate effective communications in healthcare. 

Accommodations and the Discovery Process

In January, 2021, Martie Lafferty presented on “Accommodations in Litigation: The Discovery Process” at a CLE program sponsored by Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee and Social Law. 

Fall 2020 Civil Rights Insider 

Martie Lafferty, Director of CREEC’s Accessibility Project, was invited by the “Civil Rights Insider” to write an article about CREEC’s Fast Advocacy for Communication (FAC) program.    

NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund

In October 2020, Amy Robertson presented on the basics of Title II of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to the legal department of the NAACP LDF. 

National Federation of the Blind of Colorado

In October 2020, we attended the [virtual] National Federation of the Blind of Colorado’s (NFBCO) annual conference. We were exhibitors there and discussed CREEC’s recent work with attendees from around the state.

Carrie Ann Lucas Disability Advocacy Training

In February 2020, we presented at the Carrie Ann Lucas Disability Advocacy Training, teaching the basics of the ADA and Rehabilitation Act to lawyers and advocates representing parents in Colorado’s child welfare system. 

Lincoln Memorial University

Also in March 2020, we spoke to students at Lincoln Memorial University – Duncan School of Law about Title II of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.

DeafNation Expo

In October 2019, we presented at the DeafNation Expo in Nashville, TN about the legal rights of people who are Deaf, hard of hearing, deaf disabled, or deafblind and about the ways CREEC can help, including through our Fast Advocacy for Communication (FAC) program.

Upcoming Activities

  • April 2021 Speaking to Association of Infant Mental Health in Tennessee (AIMHiTN) staff about simplified language and disability sensitivity.
  • May 2021 Hosting a table at Tennessee Disability MegaConference.