A car accident can be a traumatic experience, no matter how serious. Even experienced, cautious drivers can be involved in accidents due to the negligent...
Thank you to the Cleveland Jewish News for this wonderful story as I get ready to travel to Ohio this weekend to work with Cleveland...
A special thanks to Paula Tutman and WDIV Local 4 for their interest in the work of Achilles International as they begin working with the...
Detroit Free Press
Both defend treatment of such travelers
By Jennifer Dixon, Free Press Staff Writer
April 15, 2008
Detroit Metro Airport and Northwest Airlines dropped disabled passengers to the floor, denied them accessible parking, damaged wheelchairs by tossing them in baggage storage and failed to provide an area for guide dogs to relieve themselves, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.
The suit seeks no monetary damages, but asks the court to require the airport and Northwest to follow federal disability and transportation laws.
"What's good for the disabled is good for everyone, and by improving air travel for the disabled, it will make things better for everybody," said Farmington Hills lawyer, Richard Bernstein, who filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Detroit on behalf of five passengers. Bernstein is blind and travels weekly out of Metro.
A spokeswoman for Northwest, Michelle Aguayo Shannon, issued a statement that said the airline tried repeatedly to discuss any concerns with Bernstein, but he made it clear he preferred to sue.
"NWA has a solid record of compliance in this area and is an industry leader," the statement said.
Airport spokesman Michael Conway said providing service to special-needs customers "is something the airport authority takes very seriously. However, since Mr. Bernstein has filed a legal action in this matter, it would not be prudent for us to comment."
The suit alleges Northwest Airlines and the Wayne County Airport Authority, which runs Metro, discriminate against people with disabilities by denying them equal access to air travel as well as the terminals, parking and van shuttle service.
The suit also says the airport and Northwest Airlines, its largest tenant, have forced people with disabilities who cannot stand or walk for long periods of time to wait in long lines and have provided improper boarding assistance. The airline also is accused of failing to stow electric wheelchairs in the cabin, resulting in wheelchairs being frequently lost or damaged in baggage storage.
Some disabled passengers pay higher booking and reservation fees because they cannot access the Internet to make their travel plans, the suit contends.
"By ignoring the needs and dignity of disabled passengers, and denying equal access to airport facilities and planes ... the defendants treat them as second-class citizens and unjustly disregard their basic rights," the suit says.
Visually Impaired Athlete Sues USA Triathlon
Richard Bernstein Challenges ABA for Discrimination Against Blind Law Students
Michigan Sports Hall of Fame Honors Richard Bernstein with Courage Award
Attorney Richard Bernstein Named Leader in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly
Victory! Disabled Win Access to U-M Stadium