Woods v. Centro of Oneida, Inc., Central New York Regional Transportation Authority

Filed: February 10, 2023

Court: Second Circuit Court of Appeals

Overview: Amicus brief explaining why accessible bus stops are critical to the lives of people with mobility disabilities and required under federal disability rights laws.

Excerpt: “Accessible, integrated transportation is essential to the lives of disabled people. The ADA’s findings and remedial purpose reflect this fact. The September 19, 2022, Order of the district court frustrates the ADA’s findings and remedial purpose…If permitted to stand, it will allow public entities to evade their affirmative obligations and deflect responsibility for program accessibility to other parties who may have different obligations, or no obligations at all, to disabled people. If such an avoidance of responsibility and accountability is permitted, people with disabilities will be burdened with having to figure out access to public services, programs, and activities on their own by analyzing the respective roles and responsibilities of an assortment of unrelated public and private parties. Such an outcome could not be further from the “clear and enforceable” standards Congress envisioned when enacting the ADA.”

Case Documents

Amicus Brief

In Re Xavier Blade

State: New York

Filed: August 17, 2020

Court: Supreme Court of the State of New York

Overview: The amicus brief focuses on the social science research discussing the ability of people with intellectual disability to parent, an area in which there has long been much discrimination.

Excerpt: “There is a solid body of social science establishing both that parents with intellectual disability can improve their parenting skills, and what kind of training and assistance works best for them. In addition, we have access to countless experiences of persons with intellectual disability and their children, which illustrate what it is like to parent with intellectual disability, or to be parented by a person with intellectual disability. These accounts make clear that persons with intellectual disability can parent when provided with appropriate supports.”

Case Documents

Amicus brief 

New York Supreme Court Opinion

In the Matter of Marian T.

State: New York

Filed: December 31, 2019

Court: New York Court of Appeals

Overview: This brief argues that New York’s adoption statute requires the informed consent of adult adoptees. The lower court held that the consent of the adult adoptee is properly dispensed with where adoption would further the person’s best interests.

Excerpt: “In dispensing with Marian’s consent to her own adoption, the lower courts embraced the outdated-and discriminatory-view that adults with intellectual disability may be treated as perpetual children under the law. Despite changes in law, policy, and societal attitudes regarding the treatment of adults with intellectual disability, outmoded stereotypes of adults with intellectual disability as lacking personhood and the ability to exercise self-determination linger. The lower courts’ decisions reflect those outdated views and threaten a dangerous reversal of advances made by people with intellectual disability.”

Case Documents

Amicus Brief

Public Charge Amicus Briefs

States: California, Washington, New York, Illinois

Filed: 2019

Courts: Northern District of California, Southern District of New York, Eastern District of Washington, Northern District of Illinois

Overview: A coalition of national disability advocacy groups filed four amicus briefs in support of litigation to stop the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from implementing its new “public charge” rule. Twenty-one states–led by California, Washington, and New York–as well as Cook County, Illinois, have filed cases against the Trump Administration to block the new rule. The advocacy groups – representing tens of thousands of people with disabilities and their families across the country – claim that the new public charge rule will prevent people with disabilities from entering this country or becoming legal residents in violation of federal disability law.

Case Documents

Briefs:
California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (District Court)
New York v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (District Court) 
Washington v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (District Court)
Cook County, Illinois v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (District Court)
California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Ninth Circuit)
New York v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Second Circuit)
Washington v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Ninth Circuit)
Cook County, Illinois v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Seventh Circuit)

Decisions:

California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Cook County, IL v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

New York v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Washington v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Related Media

Press Release: The Arc Applauds Federal Injunctions Against Public Charge Rule

Press Release: Disability Advocacy Groups File Amicus Brief Opposing the Administration’s Public Charge Rule as Illegal Disability Discrimination

Press Release: Supreme Court Lifts Stay on Public Charge Rule: Implementation Will Have Chilling Impact on People with Disabilities

The Hill: Disability rights groups join challenge to ‘public charge’ rule

People v. McCollum

State: New York

Filed: December 20, 2018

Court: Supreme Court of the State of New York

Overview: The brief supported Darius McCollum, an adult with autism charged with unauthorized driving of city trains and buses. In an unprecedented decision, the lower court found that, based on his autism diagnosis, Darius met the criteria for a “dangerous mental disorder” and committed him to a psychiatric institution for the most violent offenders despite him never having committed a violent crime. The brief argued that this placement is wholly inappropriate for someone like Darius, who could thrive in the community with appropriate supports and services.

Excerpt: “The principle of community integration…enshrined in the Americans with Disabilities Act…requires public entities to avoid needless institutionalization of individuals with disabilities who can be served in community settings. Decades of research and experience compel the conclusion that community-based services deliver better outcomes for individuals who do not require institutionalization, and better serve the purpose of [state law] to balance individual rights and public safety.”

Case Documents

Amicus Brief: People v. McCollum

In the Matter of Lacee L.

State: New York

Filed: 2018

Court: New York Court of Appeals

Overview: The brief supported a mother with intellectual disability who had her child removed from her care without receiving appropriate accommodations from the state’s child welfare agency that would have allowed her an equal chance to parent effectively. The brief argued that the court must recognize the important role that the family and appellate courts have in enforcing the rights of parents with intellectual disability to receive the supports and accommodations they need to preserve and reunify their families. The brief also provided background on the meaning of an intellectual disability diagnosis, the long history of discrimination against parents with intellectual disability, and the social science and personal stories that show how people with intellectual disability can flourish as parents when provided the supports and services they need to thrive.

Excerpt: “Individuals with intellectual disability can learn how to parent, improve their parenting skills, and parent successfully with appropriate support. Robust enforcement of the reasonable accommodations requirement of the ADA is essential to guaranteeing that they have an equal opportunity to do so.”

Status: In 2018, the Court found that the child welfare agency had met the reasonable efforts requirement and provided all accommodations required. However, on the broader issue of the applicability of the ADA to the proceedings, the Court did state: “An agency, like ACS, that is subject to Title II of the ADA must make ‘reasonable accommodations’ to allow ‘meaningful access’ to government services…To be sure, ACS must comply with the ADA.”

Case Documents

Amicus Brief: In the Matter of Lacee L.

New York Court of Appeals Opinion

In the Matter of Michael A.

State: New York

Filed: 2017

Court: New York Supreme Court

Overview: The brief supported a mother with intellectual disability arguing that the state’s child welfare agency had failed to make reasonable efforts to reunify her with her son in violation of Title II of the ADA.

Excerpt: “While much research exists demonstrating the ability of individuals with intellectual disability to parent with needed supports, parents with intellectual disability…remain an especially vulnerable population given pervasive and harmful stereotypes of people with disabilities. Their abilities are frequently underestimated, and they remain subject to the outdated notion that, by reason of their disabilities alone, they are simply incapable of parenting. Without proper enforcement of the ADA, these vulnerable parents have no recourse or remedy should [the child welfare agency] deny them equal access to the services, programs, or activities that they and their families require to reunite or to remain together.”

Case Documents

Amicus Brief: In the Matter of Michael A.