The Arc Maryland v. Baltimore City et al

State: Maryland

Filed: 2021

Court: U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

Plaintiff: The Arc Maryland

Defendants: Baltimore City, Queen Anne’s County, Carroll County, Garrett County, Somerset County, Talbot County

Counsel: The Arc, Disability Rights Maryland, Brown & Barron LLC

Overview: The Arc Maryland filed a federal lawsuit alleging that six jurisdictions in Maryland, including Baltimore City, discriminate against people with IDD by denying them opportunities to access COVID-19 vaccinations inconsistent with the State’s Executive order and Vaccination Plan. This discrimination puts lives at stake and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

While vaccination sites must offer vaccines to the public in accordance with Maryland’s state vaccination plan, the five counties and Baltimore City exclude individuals with IDD in their list of who is eligible, preventing those with IDD from accessing vaccinations.

It is well established that COVID-19-related fatality rates among people with IDD who test positive for COVID-19 are nearly three times greater than the mortality rates among the general population who are positive for the virus. People with IDD also face heightened risk because many rely on caregivers or direct support professionals who provide assistance with activities of daily living, for which social distancing is often not possible. Frequently, such caregivers serve multiple people raising risks of transmission. Despite advocacy from The Arc Maryland, people with IDD are not getting equal access to vaccines, compelling the need for the lawsuit.

Case Documents


Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order

Related Media

Press Release: Vaccine Discrimination: Disability Advocacy Groups File Federal Lawsuit Alleging 6 Maryland Jurisdictions Discriminate in Vaccine Process

Baltimore Sun: Maryland organization that supports people with disabilities sues five counties and Baltimore City, alleging vaccine discrimination

The Maryland Daily Record: 6 Md. jurisdictions sued over vaccine eligibility for people with disabilities

The Garrett County Republican: Garrett County sued over vaccine info for people with disabilities

The Cumberland Times-News: Organization alleges vaccine discrimination

National Journal: Disability communities face barriers to COVID-19 vaccines

Baltimore Sun: Maryland disability rights group dismisses lawsuit against Baltimore City and three of five counties for alleged vaccine discrimination

National Federation of the Blind v. Lamone

State: Maryland

Filed: 2015

Court: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Overview: The brief argued that the Maryland Board of Elections’ refusal to use an accessible online ballot marking tool in the absentee voting process violates Title II of the ADA.

Excerpt: “Appellants’ arguments, if accepted by this Court, threaten to undermine the purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act in contexts far outside the realm of absentee voting in Maryland. Appellants turn the phrase ‘meaningful access’ on its head, defining it not as the equality of opportunity guaranteed by the statutes and their implementing regulations, but instead as essentially ‘some sort of access to some part of the program.’ This somehow-somewhere standard would significantly reduce the ability of people with disabilities to participate fully and independently in society.”

Case Documents 

Amicus Brief

Fourth Circuit Opinion