N.D. Ill.: Having to Wait Half an Hour for a Second Cab After the First Cab Refused to Pick You Up Because of Your Disability is not Discrimination on the Basis of Disability
Two weeks ago, Judge John Darrah of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois issued an opinion granting the defendant's motion to dismiss the plaintiff's ADA public-accommodations claim in Poldberg v. 5 Star Flash, Inc., 2011 WL 6097990 (N.D. Ill., Dec. 1, 2011). The plaintiffs, a blind couple who use a service dog, called the defendant taxi company asking for a ride. According to the plaintiffs' complaint as described by the court, a cab came, but "the driver refused to unlock his doors and permit the Plaintiffs to enter the cab, stating that his car, a Toyota Prius, did not have room for the Plaintiffs' seeing-eye dog." The taxi company then dispatched a new cab about half an hour later. The district court granted the motion to dismiss; it concluded that a half-hour delay does not illegal discrimination make:
Although Plaintiffs encountered somewhat of a delay, they were ultimately transported to their destination. Essentially, Plaintiffs' claim they had to wait for a taxicab for no more than half an hour to take them home. The inconvenience of waiting for a taxi does not adequately plead a violation of the ADA. Plaintiffs' Complaints fails plausibly to allege that they are entitled to relief under the ADA, and any amendment to Plaintiffs' Complaint would be futile. Plaintiffs' ADA claim is dismissed with prejudice.I get what Judge Darrah was trying to do here, but Title III forbids discrimination in the "full and equal enjoyment" of the defendant's transportation services. Judge Darrah made no effort to explain why he thought these plaintiffs received full and equal enjoyment. That said, I think the case may have had other problems; it's hard to get injunctive relief based on a single incident like this. But the discussion of the issue the court actually decided is cursory.