SOUTHFIELD, Mich., March 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Detroit Metropolitan Airport's new plan to create separate, segregated bus stops for public transit passengers with disabilities is illegal and discriminatory, according to the managing partner of a Southfield law firm specializing in disability cases.
"Providing segregated accommodations and services relegates persons with disabilities to the status of second-class citizens," said Jason Turkish, managing partner of Nyman Turkish.
The airport announced its plan in response to a federal lawsuit filed against it in January by Paul Palmer of Lansing, who uses an electric wheelchair and suffers from cerebral palsy, and Donna Rose of East Lansing, who is blind and a kidney transplant patient whose anti-rejection drugs make her especially sensitive to extreme heat and cold.
Palmer and Rose objected to the pick-up and drop-off location at the end of the nearly mile long parking garage across the street from the McNamara Terminal. The airport's new plan, rather than moving the location closer for everyone, would require persons with disabilities to make pre-arrangements with bus companies to use separate entrances to the airport, something unheard of in 2016 when Federal Law mandates an accessible entrance for all.
"Courts have recognized that the stigma of living as an individual with a disability is severe and can constitute irreparable harm," he said. "Nothing is more stigmatizing than outright segregation, and accordingly, the plan proposed by the airport cannot stand."
The firm today filed a request on behalf of Plaintiffs Rose and Palmer for an injunction with the U.S. District Court to prevent the airport from implementing the plan.
Turkish said the airport's failure to address the inaccessible facilities for persons with disabilities essentially "passes the buck" to transportation providers, who will have to ask passengers whether or not they have a disability, further stigmatizing those who do. This is particularly troubling given that for nearly five years public transportation existed at an accessible and integrated location, just steps outside the terminal proper, before the airport relocated the stop for its most vulnerable customers to the further possible location on the airport property.
"There is also certainly no guarantee that transportation providers servicing the airport will actually comply with the plan at all. Because of the segregated nature of the new bus stops, service providers will have to determine whether using the alternative bus stop is legal, and whether it fundamentally alters the nature of their service, by delaying buses and creating mass confusion through servicing separate stops," Turkish said.
The motion for the temporary restraining order can be viewed here: http://origin-qps.onstreammedia.com/origin/multivu_archive/ENR/341920-nyman-turkish-pc-motion-for-tro.pdf
Contact: TJ Bucholz, 517.657.3944
SOURCE Nyman Turkish PC