Justice Department Settles Disability Rights Case in Pennsylvania
The Justice Department today announced that it has reached an agreement with a continuing-care retirement community for persons 65 and older in Bucks County, Pennsylvania that restricted residents' use of manual wheelchairs and motorized chairs and scooters within its complex, resolving a lawsuit that alleged disability-related housing discrimination.
"Persons with disabilities who choose to make their homes in retirement communities do not forfeit the protections of the Fair Housing Act," said Bradley J. Schlozman, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Wheelchairs and motorized scooters assist individuals to live and move about independently. A person can lose the right to that aid only if he or she operates it in a way that poses a significant risk of harm."
According to the government's complaint, Twining Services Corporation (TSC), which owns the Twining Village retirement community, banned manual wheelchairs from its dining rooms until February 2005, and continued to ban motorized wheelchairs and scooters from those rooms and other public and common use areas. It also allegedly required persons who use scooters to indemnify TSC and to submit to an evaluation and training program annually, regardless of their "driving record."