RSA-509 - Protection & Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR) Program Performance Report

Arizona (Arizona Center for Disability Law) - H240A170003 - FY2017

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameArizona Center for Disability Law
Address5025 E. Washington Street
Address Line 2Suite 202
CityPhoenix
StateArizona
Zip Code85034
E-mail Addresscenter@azdisabilitylaw.org
Website Addresshttp://www.azdisabilitylaw.org
Phone602-274-6287
TTY 602-274-6287
Toll-free Phone800-927-2260
Toll-free TTY800-927-2260
Fax602-274-6779
Name of P&A Executive DirectorJ.J. Rico
Name of PAIR Director/CoordinatorJessica Jansepar Ross
Person to contact regarding reportJ.J. Rico
Contact Person phone520-327-9547
Ext.331

Part I. Non-Case Services

A. Individual Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Individuals receiving I&R within PAIR priority areas82
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas195
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)277

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff7
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)141

1) 10/25/2016. Presentation. “Service Animals Must Always be Welcome”. Topics included the rights of persons with disabilities who have service animals under Title II of the ADA. Phoenix, AZ. 4 people attended.

2) 2/17/2017. Presentation. “Navigating AHCCCS Appeals” at the 6th Annual African American Conference on Disabilities. Topics included appealing Medicaid denials and practical tips. Phoenix, AZ. 25 people attended.

3) 2/17/2017. Presentation. “Making the Case for Workplace Reasonable Accommodations” at the 6th Annual African American Conference on Disabilities. Topics included the legal requirements of the interactive process; classes of potential accommodations. Phoenix, AZ. 30 people attended.

4) 2/17/2017. Presentation. “Evictions and the Fair Housing Act” at the 6th Annual African American Conference on Disabilities. Topics included how to prevent evictions using the reasonable accommodation provision of the Fair Housing Act. Phoenix, AZ. 25 people attended.

5) 3/14/2017. Presentation. “Disability Law Project” at the ASU - Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Topics included the work and services of the Arizona Center for Disability Law. Phoenix, AZ. 7 people attended.

6) 3/15/2017. Presentation. “Empowering People with Disabilities and Their Advocates How to Navigate the Criminal Justice System” at the ASU - Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Topics included the services offered by ACDL, ACDL's work for persons with disabilities in the criminal justice system, the contact of persons with mental illness and law enforcement. Phoenix, AZ. 20 people attended.

7) 9/25/2017. Presentation. “Disability Law - Past, Present & Future. Topics included the IDEA, Titles I - V of the ADA. University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. 30 people attended.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff0
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles0
3. PSAs/videos aired0
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website154,033
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated944
6. Other (specify separately)5

Narrative

1)11/19/2016. Booth/Table. Alhambra High School, Transition, Phoenix, AZ. 60 people attended.

2) 1/18/2017. Booth/Table. Andrada Polytechnic High School, Vail School District, Beyond High School Open House. Vail, AZ. 25 people attended.

3) 2/17/2017. Booth/Table. 6th Annual African American Conference on Disabilities. Phoenix, AZ. 200 people attended.

4) 3/29/2017. Booth/Table. Education Rights of Students with Disabilities. Casa Grande, AZ. 22 people attended.

5) 4/28/2017. Booth/Table. Health & Wellness Fair. Phoenix, AZ. 400 people attended.

Part II. Individuals Served

A. Individuals Served

Count individual once per FY. Multiple counts not permitted for lines A1 through A3.

1. Individuals still served as of October 1 (carryover from prior FY)61
2. Additional individuals served during the year150
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)211
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)11

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 22

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility6
2. Employment95
3. Program access15
4. Housing48
5. Government benefits/services17
6. Transportation8
7. Education9
8. Assistive technology0
9. Voting0
10. Health care17
11. Insurance0
12. Non-government services5
13. Privacy rights0
14. Access to records0
15. Abuse1
16. Neglect2
17. Other0

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor182
2. Other representation found0
3. Individual withdrew complaint4
4. Appeals unsuccessful3
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.2
6. PAIR withdrew from case0
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources8
8. Individual case lacks legal merit1
9. Other0

Please explain

N/A

E. Intervention Strategies Used in Serving Individuals

List the highest level of intervention used by PAIR prior to closing each case file.

1. Technical assistance in self-advocacy7
2. Short-term assistance183
3. Investigation/monitoring0
4. Negotiation6
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution3
6. Administrative hearings1
7. Litigation (including class actions)0
8. Systemic/policy activities0

Part III. Statistical Information on Individuals Served

A. Age of Individuals Served as of October 1

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. 0 - 40
2. 5 - 221
3. 23 - 59129
4. 60 - 6441
5. 65 and over40

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females131
2. Males80

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race31
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native3
3. Asian3
4. Black or African American17
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander2
6. White152
7. Two or more races3
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent188
2. Parental or other family home7
3. Community residential home2
4. Foster care0
5. Nursing home2
6. Public institutional living arrangement1
7. Private institutional living arrangement1
8. Jail/prison/detention center6
9. Homeless4
10. Other living arrangements0
11. Living arrangements not known0

E. Primary Disability of Individuals Served

Identify the individual's primary disability, namely the one directly related to the issues/complaints

1. Blind/visual impairment14
2. Deaf/hard of hearing26
3. Deaf-blind1
4. Orthopedic impairment58
5. Mental illness0
6. Substance abuse0
7. Mental retardation0
8. Learning disability10
9. Neurological impairment32
10. Respiratory impairment8
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment8
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment22
13. Speech impairment1
14. AIDS/HIV2
15. Traumatic brain injury4
16. Other disability25

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities0

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes389,452

Describe your systemic activities. Be sure to include information about the policies that were changed and how these changes benefit individuals with disabilities. Include case examples of how your systemic activities impacted individuals served.

KS, LB, FJ, and KW v. Hospital Corporation

KS is an individual with a mobility impairment and LB, FJ, BF, and KW are individuals who are Deaf and whose primary language is American Sign Language (ASL). The Hospital Corporation denied these individuals equal access to their medical services. ACDL’s investigation of these clients’ claims revealed that the Hospital Corporation did not provide an accessible patient room to KS during his stay and LB, FJ, and KW did not receive effective ASL translation services during their hospitalizations. BF is FJ’s companion and caregiver; she is legally blind and Deaf and ASL is her primary language. BF did not receive effective communication to help her understand FJ’s after-hospitalization care. ACDL claims that the Hospital Corporation has thereby denied them an equal opportunity to benefit from the Hospital’s medical services and its facilities as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a); 28 C.F.R. § 36.201; and Section 504, 29 U.S.C. § 794(a), 45 C.F.R. § 84.4.

ACDL and co-counsel Andrés Gallegos of Chicago-based Robbins, Salomon and Patt, Ltd. entered into a structured negotiation agreement with the Hospital Corporation. The parties are presently engaged in the negotiation process.

ACDL will continue to advocate for a resolution in FY18.

LW v. Transportation Authority

LW is a 46-year-old man who is living with blindness and uses the public transportation services provided by the large regional transportation authority (Authority) in the city where he lives. LW encountered several accessibility problems while utilizing the Authority’s services and contacted ACDL for assistance in addressing those problems. One of the problems LW encountered was that the Authority launched a new mobile application to provide real-time bus and rail arrival/departure times and route planning information; however, the mobile application was entirely incompatible with accessible assistive technology on mobile phones. The Authority also provides similar information through a call-in service; however, in order to find out the next bus or rail arrival information for the stop, a rider must enter the stop identification number. Throughout the Authority’s system, that stop identification number is only available on unraised print signage at stops, and is inaccessible to riders such as LW who are living with blindness or low vision.

ACDL Staff Attorney wrote a demand letter to the Authority, and subsequently entered into settlement negotiations to resolve the accessibility issues encountered by LW. We are currently in negotiations regarding the proposed settlement and expect negotiations will conclude in early FY18.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts99,256
2. Number of individuals named in class actions5

Describe your litigation/class action activities. Explain how individuals with disabilities benefited from your litigation activities. Be sure to include case examples that demonstrate the impact of your litigation.

BS, DP & Arizona Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Inc. v. TTI, Inc. (dba Discount Cab)

ACDL represents BS, DP, and the Arizona Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Inc. (AzPVA). Individual plaintiffs BS, DP, and organizational plaintiff AzPVA represent the putative class of people with mobility impairments who use power wheelchairs and cannot board Discount Cab’s taxis without a ramp or lift. TTI and TTE, which own and operate Discount Cab, impose a $10 Per-Trip Van Fee for individuals who request a taxi with a ramp or lift rather than a standard taxi. This $10 Per-Trip Van Fee has a discriminatory effect upon the class because the class must always pay the Fee for a taxi ride, while non-disabled individuals incur the Fee in less than 1% of the total rides requested. Additionally, TTI and TTE admit that they instituted the $10 Per-Trip Van Fee because of the extra time and complexity in transporting people with disabilities.

On November 19, 2015, when TTI and TTE refused to stop charging the $10 Per-Trip Van Fee to the putative class, ACDL and co-counsel Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against TTI and TTE. Since ACDL and DRA filed the lawsuit, they have issued written discovery, responded to Defendants’ written discovery requests, deposed numerous corporate designees on a multitude of topics, retained an expert witness in the transportation industry, submitted the expert’s report, deposed Defendants’ expert witness, and defended the deposition of Plaintiffs’ expert witness. On April 4, 2017, the parties participated in a Settlement Conference that did not result in a resolution. The parties completed fact and expert witness discovery.

In August 2017, Plaintiffs and Defendants filed cross-Motions for Summary Judgment. Plaintiffs argued in their Motion that the undisputed facts show that Defendants’ $10 Per-Trip Van Fee is discriminatory under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Arizonans with Disabilities Act (AzDA) because it is a: 1) denial of a reasonable modification of a policy, 2) discriminatory eligibility criteria, and/or 3) an unlawful higher charge to carry people with disabilities and their equipment. Defendants argue that because they purchased used vans they were not required to have accessible vehicles and therefore ADA requirements do not apply. Defendants also argue that because the $10 Per-Trip Van Fee is charged to anyone requesting a van, it is not discriminatory.

Defendants filed a second Motion for Summary Judgment based on a counterclaim asking for a declaration that they may lawfully stop providing accessible taxi services. ACDL and DRA filed a response in opposition arguing that 1) TTE and TTI’s vague plan to stop providing accessible services does not satisfy the U.S. Constitution’s case and controversy standard, 2) the court, having wide discretion to decline to consider declaratory relief, should do so in this case, and 3) TTE and TTI are not entitled to declaratory relief, as a matter of law, because discontinuing services may result in discrimination under the ADA and AzDA. The parties await an opportunity for oral argument regarding their respective motions for summary judgment, or the court’s ruling on the summary judgment briefs.

NE et. al. v. Arizona et. al. (“Text to 911 litigation”)

ACDL, counsel for the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), and Stein & Vargas filed a lawsuit on behalf of NE, JS, TG, and NAD challenging the lack of access to 911 emergency services for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities. NE and JS are people who were born deaf and communicate using American Sign Language (ASL), video relay, email, or text message. TG is a person who is hard of hearing and communicates through lip reading, email, or text message. NAD is an advocacy organization that has members living in Maricopa County. This was the first lawsuit in the country challenging lack of access to 911 emergency services.

At the time of suit, emergency services through Arizona’s 911 system and in Maricopa County could only be obtained via a standard telephone call, a call through video relay, or a call via TTY. Persons who are deaf cannot rely on video relay to connect with 911 at all times because video relay depends on high-speed Internet, which is often unavailable in emergencies; and TTY is an obsolete technology that very few persons who are deaf still use. In addition, persons who are not deaf but have other communication disabilities cannot avail themselves of video relay to connect with 911. The failure by Arizona’s state and local officials to make direct and immediate access to 911 available via text message makes the 911 system inaccessible to Arizona residents who are deaf, hard of hearing, or unable to speak because of another disability. The lawsuit seeks an injunction that the 911 system be made available via text message throughout Arizona and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

On July 29, 2016, City of Surprise filed a motion to dismiss, alleging Plaintiffs’ failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and the lack of standing for declaratory and injunctive relief. The other defendants - Cities of Tempe and Phoenix, Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), Public Safety Answering Point Administrator for the Maricopa County Region, Maricopa County, and the State of Arizona joined the motion to dismiss. Specifically, Defendants argued that none of them were responsible for making 911 services accessible and that by providing TTYs they were providing effective communication. Defendants ignored the arguments that TTYs are obsolete and in today’s technology do not provide equal access to emergency services.

On February 10, 2017, the Court denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss, except to grant the dismissal of Defendants Arizona Department of Administration (ADOA), the Director of ADOA, the State Chief Information Officer, the State Budget Director, and the State 911 Program Coordinator as duplicative defendants. The judge’s decision permitted this case to advance its challenge against the public entities’ failure to provide effective communication in light of new technology.

On April 19, 2017, the parties, after conferring and developing a Joint Case Management Plan, attended the Pre-trial Scheduling Conference, during which the Court set the case deadlines regarding discovery and preparations for trial. On the same day, parties counsel met for an initial settlement conference.

On May 25, 2017, after losing the motion to dismiss, MAG approved $150,000 to fund the implementation of a Text to 911 system throughout the Maricopa County 911 region. MAG coordinates the 911 programs and systems for every jurisdiction within the Maricopa County 911 region. As a result, MAG will fund the implementation of Text to 911 for the Cities of Phoenix, Tempe, and Surprise, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, and all jurisdictions within the Maricopa County 911 region, including several Reservations where the ADA does not apply. About sixty percent of Arizona’s population lives in Maricopa County and many people from other parts of Arizona travel to Maricopa County for business, entertainment, and educational reasons.

The parties conducted a second settlement held on July 24, 2017, which the parties, counsel, and technical experts for both sides attended. To facilitate settlement and to avoid unnecessary litigation costs, the parties asked for a 90-day extension to pursue settlement. Settlement negotiations will continue during FY18.

Part V. PAIR'S Priorities and Objectives

A. Priorities and Objectives for the Fiscal Year Covered by this Report

For each of your PAIR program priorities for the fiscal year covered by this report, please:

  1. Identify and describe priority.
  2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.
  3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.
  4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.
  5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions.
  6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.

Priorities and Objectives for the Fiscal Year Covered by this Report

PRIORITY NO. 1: Increase access by persons with disabilities to services, programs, and facilities open to the public.

1. Ensure that places of public accommodation and public entities do not refuse services or engage in discriminatory treatment on the basis of disability, provide auxiliary aids and services when needed for effective communication, and remove physical barriers to accessibility and make reasonable modifications in policies to avoid discrimination.

2. The need addressed by this priority is to ensure that places of public accommodation, including state and local governmental entities, do not refuse access to programs or services on the basis of disability, that auxiliary aids and services are provided when needed, and governmental entities and public accommodations remove physical barriers to accessibility and make reasonable modifications in their policies to avoid discrimination.

3. The Center engaged in the following activities to accomplish this goal:

a. Provide technical assistance or direct representation to challenge discrimination by places of public accommodation and public entities that have refused to modify policies/procedures or refused to provide auxiliary aids or services.

b. Provide direct representation in settlement negotiations and/or litigation to ensure access to transportation services.

c. Provide direct representation in settlement negotiations and/or litigation to remove physical barriers to accessibility.

d. Provide timely and accurate rights information.

4. Collaborative Effort: Co-counsel with Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) on Discount Cab litigation; Co-counsel with National Association for the Deaf (NAD) and Stein and Vargas in Text-to-911 litigation.

5. Center staff handled 60 cases under Priority No. 1.

6. The following (3) case summaries demonstrates the impact of this priority.

BS, DP & Arizona Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Inc. v. TTI, Inc. (dba Discount Cab)

ACDL represents BS, DP, and the Arizona Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Inc. (AzPVA). Individual plaintiffs BS, DP, and organizational plaintiff AzPVA represent the putative class of people with mobility impairments who use power wheelchairs and cannot board Discount Cab’s taxis without a ramp or lift. TTI and TTE, which own and operate Discount Cab, impose a $10 Per-Trip Van Fee for individuals who request a taxi with a ramp or lift rather than a standard taxi. This $10 Per-Trip Van Fee has a discriminatory effect upon the class because the class must always pay the Fee for a taxi ride, while non-disabled individuals incur the Fee in less than 1% of the total rides requested. Additionally, TTI and TTE admit that they instituted the $10 Per-Trip Van Fee because of the extra time and complexity in transporting people with disabilities.

On November 19, 2015, when TTI and TTE refused to stop charging the $10 Per-Trip Van Fee to the putative class, ACDL and co-counsel Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against TTI and TTE. Since ACDL and DRA filed the lawsuit, they have issued written discovery, responded to Defendants’ written discovery requests, deposed numerous corporate designees on a multitude of topics, retained an expert witness in the transportation industry, submitted the expert’s report, deposed Defendants’ expert witness, and defended the deposition of Plaintiffs’ expert witness. On April 4, 2017, the parties participated in a Settlement Conference that did not result in a resolution. The parties completed fact and expert witness discovery.

In August 2017, Plaintiffs and Defendants filed cross-Motions for Summary Judgment. Plaintiffs argued in their Motion that the undisputed facts show that Defendants’ $10 Per-Trip Van Fee is discriminatory under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Arizonans with Disabilities Act (AzDA) because it is a: 1) denial of a reasonable modification of a policy, 2) discriminatory eligibility criteria, and/or 3) an unlawful higher charge to carry people with disabilities and their equipment. Defendants argue that because they purchased used vans they were not required to have accessible vehicles and therefore ADA requirements do not apply. Defendants also argue that because the $10 Per-Trip Van Fee is charged to anyone requesting a van, it is not discriminatory.

Defendants filed a second Motion for Summary Judgment based on a counterclaim asking for a declaration that they may lawfully stop providing accessible taxi services. ACDL and DRA filed a response in opposition arguing that 1) TTE and TTI’s vague plan to stop providing accessible services does not satisfy the U.S. Constitution’s case and controversy standard, 2) the court, having wide discretion to decline to consider declaratory relief, should do so in this case, and 3) TTE and TTI are not entitled to declaratory relief, as a matter of law, because discontinuing services may result in discrimination under the ADA and AzDA. The parties await an opportunity for oral argument regarding their respective motions for summary judgment, or the court’s ruling on the summary judgment briefs.

N.E. et. al. v. Arizona et. al. (“Text to 911 litigation”)

ACDL, counsel for the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), and Stein & Vargas filed a lawsuit on behalf of NE, JS, and TG and NAD challenging lack of access to 911 emergency services for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities. NE and JS are people who were born deaf and communicate using American Sign Language (ASL), video relay, email or text message. TG is a person who is hard of hearing and communicates through lip reading, email, or text message. NAD is an advocacy organization that has members living in Maricopa County. This was the first lawsuit in the country challenging lack of access to 911 emergency services.

At the time of suit, emergency services through Arizona’s 911 system and in Maricopa County could only be obtained via a standard telephone call, a call through video relay, or a call via TTY. Persons who are deaf cannot rely on video relay to connect with 911 at all times because video relay depends on high-speed Internet, which is often unavailable in emergencies; and TTY is an obsolete technology that very few persons who are deaf still use. In addition, persons who are not deaf but have other communication disabilities cannot avail themselves of video relay to connect with 911. The failure by Arizona’s state and local officials to make direct and immediate access to 911 available via text message makes the 911 system inaccessible to Arizona residents who are deaf, hard of hearing, or unable to speak because of another disability. The lawsuit seeks an injunction that the 911 system be made available via text message throughout Arizona and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

On July 29, 2016, City of Surprise filed a motion to dismiss, alleging Plaintiffs’ failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and the lack of standing for declaratory and injunctive relief. The other defendants - Cities of Tempe and Phoenix, Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), Public Safety Answering Point Administrator for the Maricopa County Region, Maricopa County, and the State of Arizona joined the motion to dismiss. Specifically, Defendants argued that none of them were responsible for making 911 services accessible and that by providing TTYs they were providing effective communication. Defendants ignored the arguments that TTYs are obsolete and in today’s technology do not provide equal access to emergency services.

On February 10, 2017, the Court denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss, except to grant the dismissal of Defendants Arizona Department Of Administration (ADOA), the Director of ADOA, the State Chief Information Officer, the State Budget Director, and the State 911 Program Coordinator as duplicative defendants. The judge’s decision permitted this case to advance its challenge against the public entities’ failure to provide effective communication in light of new technology.

On April 19, 2017, the parties, after conferring and developing a Joint Case Management Plan, attended the Pre-trial Scheduling Conference, during which the Court set the case deadlines regarding discovery and preparations for trial. On the same day, parties counsel met for an initial settlement conference.

On May 25, 2017, after losing the motion to dismiss, MAG approved $150,000 to fund the implementation of a Text to 911 system throughout the Maricopa County 911 region. MAG coordinates the 911 programs and systems for every jurisdiction within the Maricopa County 911 region. As a result, MAG will fund the implementation of Text to 911 for the Cities of Phoenix, Tempe, and Surprise, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, and all jurisdictions within the Maricopa County 911 region, including several Reservations where the ADA does not apply. About sixty percent of Arizona’s population lives in Maricopa County and many people from other parts of Arizona travel to Maricopa County for business, entertainment, and educational reasons. Settlement negotiations are ongoing.

MM, et al. v. Arizona Department of Corrections

ACDL represents MM, HB, JS, and RD, Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) inmates who are incarcerated within the Arizona State Prison system. ACDL is representing these similarly-situated prisoners living with blindness or low vision because they are in need of reasonable modifications to ADC policies, practices, and procedures, and auxiliary aids and services to be able to participate in the prison grievance process, access the prison law library and attorney client communication, and make health needs requests. ACDL wrote a letter to ADC, explaining the situation, but did not receive a response. ACDL will continue to advocate toward a resolution in FY18.

PRIORITY NO. 2: Ensure comprehensive and appropriate healthcare services for persons with disabilities and increase access by persons with disabilities to medical services, programs, and facilities.

1.Ensure comprehensive and appropriate healthcare services for individuals with disabilities and increase access by persons with disabilities to medical services, programs, and facilities.

2.The need addressed by this priority is to ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to appropriate healthcare services, which is often the key to living independently at home and in their communities. When seeking healthcare services, persons with disabilities are often denied critical healthcare services, reasonable accommodations, and auxiliary aids and services that allow them to be as healthy and independent as possible.

3.The Center engaged in the following activities to accomplish this goal:

a. Provide technical assistance and/or direct representation for reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids and services, and/or removal of physical and architectural barriers at medical treatment facilities, including doctor’s offices, hospitals, and health treatment centers.

b. Provide timely and accurate rights information.

4. Pursuing this priority did not involve collaborative efforts with other entities.

5.Center staff handled 20 cases under Priority No. 2.

6. The following case summary demonstrates the impact of this priority.

Individual v. Physician’s Office

ACDL assisted an individual with a physical disability who uses a power wheelchair and needed medical testing from his physician’s practice. The test that the individual was to receive required him to transfer from his wheelchair to an exam table. The physician’s practice did not ensure that there was an adjustable exam table available during his appointment, and refused to assist the individual to transfer from his wheelchair to an exam table. As a result, the individual could not receive medical services and was required to go to a different practice, which caused a delay in his medical care.

ACDL Staff Attorney agreed to file a complaint of disability discrimination with the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division on behalf of the individual and to represent the individual in mediation regarding their discrimination complaint. As a result of the mediation, the physician’s practice agreed to a confidential settlement agreement in which the practice would provide the ACDL Staff Attorney with an in-person demonstration of their adjustable exam tables. The physician’s practice stated that they have one patient transfer lift in their possession, but would be willing to purchase two more and provide an in-person demonstration of one of the patient transfer lifts. Additionally, the physician’s practice agreed to purchase U-shaped slings for the patient transfer lifts, so that the lifts could be utilized even if a wheelchair user does not already have a sling under them. The physician’s practice also agreed to pay monetary compensation to the individual and to update its policies and procedures to require the physician’s practice to assist persons with disabilities, including but not limited to assistance with transfers, and yearly training regarding patient handling techniques and the obligations of the physician’s practice under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

PRIORITY NO. 3: To reduce the discriminatory barriers which prevent qualified persons with disabilities from obtaining/maintaining employment and obtaining reasonable accommodations.

1. Persons with disabilities continue to face barriers to employment including, but not limited to, physical obstacles in the workplace, communication barriers, discriminatory policies and procedures, and attitudinal barriers based on stereotypes, misconceptions and fears.

2. This priority addresses employment discrimination by providing advocacy and legal services in order to promote: (1) non-discriminatory hiring procedures; (2) the provision of reasonable accommodations to employees and job applicants; (3) non-discriminatory policies and procedures; and (4) the prevention and redress of unlawful harassment, retaliation, intimidation, and termination.

3. The Center engaged in the following activities to accomplish this goal:

a. Provide technical assistance and/or direct representation with alternative dispute resolution for cases concerning discriminatory hiring, termination, or failure to accommodate.

b. Provide timely and accurate rights information.

4. Pursuing this priority did not involve collaborative efforts with other entities.

5. Center staff handled 95 cases under Priority No. 3.

6. The following two (2) case summaries demonstrates the impact of this priority

KK v. Employer

KK is an individual with a very rare condition that causes severe pain in the body. K.K. requested a reasonable accommodation of teleworking to manage the pain. KK made a verbal request to her employer, and her employer told her that she needed to provide a doctor’s note. KK provided a doctor’s note, and her employer communicated with KK’s doctor. KK’s doctor fully answered the employer’s questions. KK’s employer asked her to complete an application for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides for job-protected medical leave for up to 12 weeks for a serious medical condition. Because KK asked for a reasonable accommodation of teleworking—not unpaid medical leave—she did not fill out the FMLA paperwork. Instead, she made a written request for reasonable accommodation of teleworking half-days. Her employer notified KK that they received her request, but her employer never approved her request for teleworking. Instead, her employer offered alternative accommodations that proved to be ineffective because they did not sufficiently reduce the pain or heart complications that KK experiences when she continually sits or stands.

KK took medical leave for a procedure related to her disability. KK’s physician asked for an extension of medical leave for two months because her physician did not want her returning to full-time work in the office without reasonable accommodation. Her employer notified her that her employment had been terminated.

ACDL Staff Attorney and ACDL Legal Director wrote a demand letter requesting KK be reinstated to her position immediately, that her employer grant either of the following accommodations: a zero gravity chair to use at work or permission for full-time telework. ACDL obtained revised medical documentation that clarified that the doctor would release her to return to work without limitations if her employer granted either proposed reasonable accommodation. Her employer refused to negotiate a solution. ACDL Staff Attorney prepared and submitted KK’s charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC referred the parties to mediation. ACDL Legal Director represented KK at the EEOC mediation; however, mediation proved unsuccessful. EEOC returned the charge of discrimination to its investigation unit. EEOC requested a Position Statement from her employer to respond to charge allegations. EEOC offered KK an opportunity to provide a written Rebuttal Statement to her employer’s Position Statement. Working with KK, ACDL Staff Attorney drafted a written Rebuttal Statement, submitted it to the EEOC, and represented KK during an interview by the EEOC investigator. The EEOC investigation is ongoing and ACDL awaits a response in FY18.

JO v. Newspaper Company

JO is a person who is Deaf, and whose primary means of communication are American Sign Language (ASL), text message, and email. JO called ACDL for assistance because his employer, a Newspaper Company, denied his reasonable accommodations request.

JO requested that Newspaper Company provide ASL interpretation when JO attends meetings with supervisors regarding the status of his job. This accommodation request was denied, and JO’s supervisors would only communicate withhim through written notes during such meetings. JO also requested the option to send a text message or an email to his supervisor and to human resources when he would be absent or late to work. JO requested this accommodation because Newspaper Company uses an automated voice telephone system for employees to report absences and lateness, and JO’s deafness prevents him from using a voice telephone system. However, Newspaper Company also denied this request.

ACDL Staff Attorney wrote a demand letter on behalf of JO to his employer explaining its obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide reasonable accommodations to its employees and that it had denied JO’s reasonable accommodation requests. ACDL also reiterated JO’s reasonable accommodation request for his employer’s reconsideration. When Newspaper Company failed to respond, ACDL sent a follow up letter stating that it would file a charge of discrimination if the employer did not respond. Newspaper Company responded shortly thereafter that Newspaper Company management met with JO and a group of other employees who are Deaf with an ASL interpreter to discuss JO’s accommodation requests. In this meeting, Newspaper Company agreed to allow JO and his coworkers who are Deaf to notify management via text message or email when they are absent or late. Additionally, management agreed to provide ASL interpreters when communicating with employees who are Deaf regarding the status of their jobs.

PRIORITY NO. 4: Promote equal opportunity to housing under the Fair Housing Act for persons with disabilities.

1. Persons with disabilities continue to face barriers to equal opportunity in housing. Housing providers discriminate against people with disabilities by failing to provide reasonable accommodations to existing policies and practices, failing to design physically accessible housing, denying reasonable modifications to dwellings, and including discriminatory terms and conditions in housing agreements.

2. This priority addresses the discriminatory housing practices that affect the availability of appropriate housing for people with disabilities, and ensure that these individuals and their housing providers are aware and trained on the provisions of the Fair Housing Act as it applies to people with disabilities.

3. The Center engaged in the following activities to accomplish this goal:

a. Provide technical assistance or direct representation in matters involving the failure to provide reasonable accommodations or reasonable modifications in housing.

b. Provide timely and accurate rights information

4. Pursuing this priority did not involve collaborative efforts with other entities.

5. Center staff handled 48 cases under this Priority.

6. The following (2) case summaries demonstrates the impact of this priority.

MN v. Active Adult Community

MN is a 48-year-old man living with periodic seizures, partial paralysis, and a brain injury. MN lives with his parents at their home in a 55+ active adult community (Community). MN’s parents are his caretakers, and due to his seizures, he cannot be left unattended. When MN’s parents moved into the Community many years ago, both they and MN were issued resident cards that enabled them to attend community recreational and social events. When MN’s parents moved houses within the same community in mid-2016, MN’s resident card was not reissued because the community association stated he was ineligible to receive a resident card per the covenants, conditions, and restrictions of the Community because MN was not on the lease. Because MN cannot be left unattended, and he was no longer able to accompany his parents because his resident card was not reissued, MN’s parents could also no longer attend the community events.

ACDL Staff Attorney drafted and sent the Community an accommodation request under the Fair Housing Act on MN’s behalf, requesting that it provide him a resident card at no additional expense, so that he can receive the continuous care from his parents that he requires due to his disability, without impeding their ability to participate in the community activities. As a result of ACDL’s advocacy, the Community agreed to grant the requested accommodation upon provision of medical documentation of MN’s disability. The requested documentation was provided, and MN was granted a resident card by the Community at no additional expense, and is now able to access social and recreational events along with his parents.

JD v. Senior Housing Program

JD is a person with a disability as defined under the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and entitled to the protections of both laws. She has a respiratory condition that requires her to use a wheelchair, at times, and has been approved for a wheelchair from her medical provider. When she is not using a wheelchair, she needs to use a walker and can walk only a short distance. Parking for residents in this senior housing program is available on a first come, first served basis. In FY 17, ACDL reported that it had assisted JD in securing a reserved parking space so that she would no longer have to walk a far distance to the entrance of her apartment building.

In FY 18, JD’s condition worsened and her doctor prescribed a motorized wheelchair. JD’s reserved standard parking space needed to be upgraded to a reserved accessible parking space near the entrance of the building. When the housing provider did not approve her reasonable accommodation request for the reserved accessible parking space, ACDL wrote a second demand letter. Management approved the reasonable accommodation. JD now has a reserved accessible parking space.

B. Priorities and Objectives for the Current Fiscal Year

Please include a statement of priorities and objectives for the current fiscal year (the fiscal year succeeding that covered by this report), which should contain the following information:

  1. a statement of each prioirty;
  2. the need addressed by each priority; and;
  3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.

The following objectives and priorities will be followed by the Center in conducting our PAIR activities during the fiscal year 2018.

PRIORITY NO. 1: Increase full and equal enjoyment by individuals with disabilities to the services, programs and facilities open to the public.

1. Ensure that places of public accommodation and public entities provide an equal opportunity for full and equal enjoyment of services, provide necessary auxiliary aids and services, remove physical barriers to accessibility, and make reasonable modifications in policies to avoid discrimination.

2. The need addressed by this priority is to ensure that places of public accommodation do not refuse access to programs or services on the basis of disability, that auxiliary aids and services are provided when needed, physical barriers to accessibility are removed, and reasonable modifications are made in their policies to avoid discrimination.

3. The Center plans to engage in the following activities to accomplish this goal:

a. Provide technical assistance or direct representation to challenge discrimination by places of public accommodation and public entities that have refused to modify policies/procedures or refused to provide auxiliary aids or services.

b. Provide direct representation in settlement negotiations and/or litigation to ensure access to transportation services.

c. Provide direct representation in settlement negotiations and/or litigation to address unlawful discrimination under Title II, Title III and/or the Arizonans with Disabilities Act (AzDA).

d. Provide timely and accurate rights information about Title II, Title III and the AzDA.

PRIORITY NO. 2: Ensure comprehensive and appropriate healthcare care services for individuals with disabilities and increase access by individuals with disabilities to medical services, programs, and facilities.

1. Ensure comprehensive and appropriate healthcare care services for persons with disabilities and increase access by persons with disabilities to medical services, programs, and facilities.

2. The need addressed by this priority is to ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to appropriate healthcare services, which is often the key to living independently at home and in their communities.

3. The Center plans to engage in the following activities to accomplish this goal:

a. Provide technical assistance and/or direct representation for the provision of medically necessary services, reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids and services, and/or removal of physical and architectural barriers at medical treatment facilities, including doctor’s offices, hospitals, and health treatment centers.

b. Provide timely and accurate rights information.

PRIORITY NO. 3: To reduce the discriminatory barriers which prevent qualified individuals with disabilities from obtaining/maintaining equal opportunity for employment and obtaining reasonable accommodations.

1. Persons with disabilities continue to face barriers to employment including, but not limited to, physical obstacles in the workplace, communication barriers, discriminatory policies and procedures, and attitudinal barriers based on stereotypes, misconceptions, and fears.

2. This priority addresses employment discrimination by providing advocacy and legal services in order to promote non-discriminatory hiring procedures and the provision of reasonable accommodations to employees and job applicants.

3. The Center plans to engage in the following activities to accomplish this goal:

a. Provide technical assistance and/or direct representation in negotiations or alternative dispute resolution proceedings for cases concerning discriminatory hiring practices, termination, or failure to accommodate.

b. Provide timely and accurate rights information.

PRIORITY NO. 4: Promote equal opportunity to housing under the Fair Housing Act for individuals with disabilities.

1. Individuals with disabilities continue to face barriers to equal opportunity in housing. Housing providers discriminate against persons with disabilities by failing to provide reasonable accommodations to existing policies and practices, failing to design physically accessible housing, denying reasonable accommodations to dwellings, and including discriminatory terms and conditions in housing agreements.

2. This priority addresses the discriminatory housing practices that affect the availability of appropriate housing for people with disabilities, and ensure that these individuals and their housing providers are aware and trained on the provisions of the Fair Housing Act as it applies to persons with disabilities.

3. The Center plans to engage in the following activities to accomplish this goal:

a. Provide technical assistance or direct representation in matters involving the failure to design physically accessible housing, provide reasonable accommodations, and/or reasonable modifications in housing.

b. Provide timely and accurate rights information.

Part VI. Narrative

At a minimum, you must include all of the information requested. You may include any other information, not otherwise collected on this reporting form that would be helpful in describing the extent of PAIR activities during the prior fiscal year. Please limit the narrative portion of this report, including attachments, to 20 pages or less.

The narrative should contain the following information. The instructions for this form outline the information that should be contained in each section.

  1. Sources of funds received and expended
  2. Budget for the fiscal year covered by this report
  3. Description of PAIR staff (duties and person-years)
  4. Involvement with advisory boards (if any)
  5. Grievances filed under the grievance procedure
  6. Coordination with the Client Assistance Program (CAP) and the State long-term care program, if these programs are not part of the P&A agency

A. Sources of funds received and expended

Federal Funds Received: $310,861 Funds Spent: $310,861

Interest Income Funds Received: $0 Funds Spent: $0

Program Income Funds Received: $12,061 Funds Spent: $12,061

Total $322,922 $322,922

B. Budget for the fiscal year covered by this report

Income

Federal Grant Income: $295,169

Interest Income: $0

Program Income: $33,000

Other: $0

Total Income: $328,169

Prior Fiscal Year

Current Fiscal Year

ExpensesExpensesExpenses
Wages/salaries$264,376$191,230
Fringe benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc.)$87,919$62,102
Materials/supplies$13,469$ 9,257
Postage$1,654$963
Telephone$4,562$3,226
Rent/Parking$27,722$19,739
Travel$6,917$1,493
Copying$201$157
Bonding/insurance$5,794$1,019
Equipment (rental/purchase)$0$1,819
Legal Services$0$17,661
Indirect costs$0$0
Miscellaneous$26,869$14,257
Total$439,483$322,922

C. Description of PAIR staff (duties and person-years)

Type of PositionFTE% of year filledPerson Years
Professional
Full-time2.53100%2.53
Part-time0.000%0.00
Vacant0.000%0.00
Total Professional2.53100%2.53
Clerical
Full-time0.97100%0.97
Part-time0.000%0
Vacant0.000%0
Total Clerical0.97100%0.97

Total - Professional & Clerical

3.5100%3.5

Description of Professional Staff

Attorneys

ACDL attorneys provide direct representation, technical assistance and short-term assistance to PAIR clients during the fiscal year. Staff Attorney Jessica Janespar Ross serves as the PAIR program coordinator. The attorneys allocating time to the PAIR program are responsible for determining eligibility for ACDL client services based on the agency’s policies and PAIR priorities. After determining eligibility, the attorneys provide appropriate services including interviewing clients, reviewing records, conducting legal research, and representing clients at administrative hearings/mediations and in state and federal legal procedures.

Advocates

ACDL advocates/STAT (short-term assistance team) provide information and referral, intake of new cases in PAIR priority areas and technical assistance and short-term advocacy service to PAIR callers. The PAIR advocates are under the direct supervision of an attorney. Advocacy services include information and referral and direct advocacy services on behalf of the client, which may include providing self-advocacy materials.

Other

The financial staff, Grants Manager, Acting Director of Information & Referral, Executive Director, Legal Director, and Office Manager provide support to the PAIR program during FY2017. The financial staff’s responsibly includes budget preparation, day-to-day accounting duties, and the financial reporting requirements for the PAIR program. During FY2017, The Grants Manager developed data systems necessary to complete reports for the PAIR program. Additionally, the Grants Manager tracks the PAIR program’s activities, and compiles responses from the Consumer Satisfaction Surveys. The grants manager also supervises the preparation of the annual PAIR program Performance Report. The Acting Director of Information & Referral’s responsibilities include verifying program eligibility and providing leadership and direction to the STAT. ACDL’s Phoenix office manager facilitates the distribution of support services and serves as a liaison coordinating the workload between attorneys/advocates and support staff. During FY2017, Executive Director J.J. Rico and Legal Director Rose Daly-Rooney provided direct supervision for the attorneys, advocates, and other staff with time allocated to the PAIR program.

Support Staff

Support staff provide clerical support to the PAIR program, STAT advocates, attorneys and other PAIR program staff.

D. Involvement with Advisory Boards (if any).

The PAIR Program is not involved with any advisory boards.

E. Grievances __3___

Client: LG

Primary Disability: Neurological Disorders/Impairment

Funding Source: PAIR

Issue: Individual requested ACDL’s assistance as she felt the AZ School of Integrated Studies discriminated against her by forcing her to disclose her disability to her entire class without her permission.

Service Provided: ACDL provided assistance by providing the caller’s options to file a formal grievance using the school’s internal process, filing a complaint of discrimination with the AZ Civil Rights Division, a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and the Department of Justice Disability Rights Division. ACDL’s follow-up letter explained that ACDL could not provide additional assistance due to limited resources and provided referral information.

Grievance Filed with Executive Director: Grievance was denied due to limited resources. Information was provided on taking the grievance to the next level with Board President and the Executive Committee.

Client: MG

Primary Disability: Physical/Orthopedic Impairments

Funding Source: PAIR

Issue: Individual requested ACDL’s assistance in order to receive adequate healthcare while in prison.

Service Provided: ACDL sent a letter regarding the status of Parsons v. Ryan settlement along with contact information for the ACLU and the Prison Law Office. In a second letter, MG was told that ACDL did not have the resources to represent him and was again provided contact information for National ACLU and the Prison Law Office.

Grievance Filed with Legal Director: Grievance denied because we were unable to take new PAIR cases because ACDL has committed our PAIR funding to other individual advocacy and systemic litigation. ACDL’s Legal Director provided him with the names and contact information for three lawyers whose websites or other online information indicates that practice, among other areas, either corrections healthcare or civil rights cases that include prison conditions. ACDL’s Legal Director also provided him with the names and contact information of two public interest law firms that provide legal advocacy services to inmates. Informed grievant that he could appeal decision under the grievance procedure to next level grievance to Executive Director.

Client: DL

Primary Disability: Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired

Funding Source: PAIR

Issue: Individual requested assistance with filing a lawsuit against his employer for unlawful termination. Caller had filed with EEOC but had not heard from them.

Service Provided: Acting Director of I&R sent a letter to DL explaining ACDL’s inability to help due to lack of resources, but provided information on filing a complaint with the EEOC and the ACRD. In a second letter, ACDL provided the caller with information on what to expect after filing a charge of discrimination.

Grievance Filed with Legal Director: Grievance denied due to limited resources. ACDL’s Legal Director met with grievant and provided grievant with information about the EEOC process and his rights using an ASL interpreter and provided a follow-up ASL video letter. Referral information for the Arizona Employment Lawyers Association at www.azela.org was provided.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByJ.J. Rico
TitleExecutive Director
Signed Date12/06/2017