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TribBlog: Suing for Access

Statewide disability group ADAPT of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project commemorated the 20th anniversity of the Americans with Disabilities Act today by filing more than 20 lawsuits across the state — targeting inaccessibility in restaurants and municipal buildings.

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The statewide disability group ADAPT of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project commemorated the 20th anniversity of the Americans with Disabilities Act today by filing more than 20 lawsuits across the state — targeting inaccessibility in restaurants and municipal buildings, and by doctors and police officers.

The Civil Rights Project filed six cases in Austin, including one against U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, for allegedly not adding a wheelchair ramp to his Austin office, and another against the University of Texas School of Architecture's Goldsmith Hall. The group also sued the city's Duck Tours, also alleging a lack of wheelchair accessibility, and Seton Healthcare of Brackenridge, which allegedly refused to provide a hearing-impaired patient with an interpreter after he was hit by a drunk driver.

Suits were filed in Eagle Pass over inaccessible city sidewalks, and in Bellville over recreational facilities that are inaccessible for fans with disabilities. And the Civil Rights Project's Paso del Norte office filed several suits in the county and city of El Paso — one over the city council chambers' inaccessibility to wheelchairs.

"These cases underline unjust barriers in the daily lives of people with disabilities and wounded veterans," Civil Rights Project attorney Joseph Berra said.

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