Disability Rights Legal Center Gets Settlement in San Diego Zoo Suit
I just got this press release:
The Disability Rights Legal Center (formerly Western Law Center for Disability Rights) announced today that it has reached a settlement with the Zoological Society of San Diego to end what it alleged were discriminatory practices against people with mobility disabilities. The settlement was reached in the federal suit Kneeshaw v. Zoological Society of San Diego, Case No. 05-CV-2127-IEG DT (POR), and covers both the World Famous San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park.
As a result of the settlement, the Zoological Society will permanently discontinue its policy of asking people who use motorized mobility aids, such as motorized scooters and wheelchairs, to sign liability waivers or any document regarding their use of such aids in the Zoo or Wild Animal Park. As for previously signed waivers already on file under its prior entrance policy, the Zoological Society has agreed to void all such waivers and never enforce them. In addition, it will notify those who have signed or been deemed to have signed the waivers by putting a notice on its website, its maps, its accessibility guide, and via letters to those who had been subject to the previous policy.
“We are extremely pleased that we were able to reach a resolution with the Zoological Society” said Shawna L. Parks, Director of Litigation at the Disability Rights Legal Center, the nonprofit legal organization that represented the plaintiffs. “The settlement allows people with mobility disabilities to once again enjoy their visits to the Zoo without hindrance or discrimination. The Zoo agreed to do the right thing here.”
Named plaintiff Gladys Swensrud, a long time member of the Zoological Society, was very pleased with the result. “Although I’m sad about the time I lost at the Zoo, I eagerly look forward to resuming my visits to the Zoo with my friends and seeing the animals together,” she said.