Miami Beach Days Inn Sued for Not Accommodating People with Disabilities
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
For Immediate Release
MIAMI – Jennifer Kern and Disability Rights Florida, with the assistance of attorneys from the Florida Justice Institute and Disability Rights Florida, today filed a civil rights lawsuit against Days Inn North Beach, LLC. In February of this year, the hotel was unable to provide Jennifer with a handicapped accessible hotel room, even though she had reserved one, and even though the hotel’s website advertised (and continues to advertise) accessible accommodations. Jennifer has quadriplegia and relies on a powered wheelchair. The lawsuit seeks damages and injunctive relief that would require the hotel to bring its handicapped accessible rooms and all common areas up to state and national standards.
When Jennifer planned her trip to Florida last winter, she was excited and looking forward to a special vacation with family and friends. She purposefully selected Days Inn, believing she could rely on a national hotel chain to provide wheelchair-friendly facilities. She even called the hotel in advance and checked its website, which advertised “accessible facilities,” and “bath in bedroom.” And when she arrived at the hotel she was supposedly checked into a handicapped accessible room. But once inside, she was unable to maneuver her wheelchair through the bathroom door. And even if she could, the bathroom had no handicapped accessible toilet, sink or shower, or any other implements normally found in a handicapped accessible bathroom. When she called the front desk she was told, “Sorry, this is all we have.”
It was too late in the day for Jennifer to change hotels, and so stayed the night in the non-accessible room. Because she was unable to enter the bathroom, she could not take a shower, wash her hands, comb her hair, or brush her teeth. More importantly, she could not use the toilet. Instead, she and a friend set up a make-shift commode for her to use in the middle of the bedroom, while her family and friends waited in the next room. Jennifer was humiliated, frustrated and felt degraded. This was supposed to be a celebratory vacation. It was ruined due to the hotel’s failure to provide its handicapped guests with equal accommodations. “I did not expect wheelchair accessible bathrooms or accommodations when I was in Tashkent, Uzbekistan or Kampala, Uganda,” Jennifer stated. “But at a Days Inn in Miami Beach?!”
“Florida’s Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability,” said Randall C. Berg, Jr., lead counsel and Executive Director of the Florida Justice Institute. “The Days Inn North Beach continues to advertise ‘accessible facilities’ despite its lack thereof,” he said. “Until the Days Inn complies with the law and ensures accommodations are available for those with wheelchairs, others with disabilities are likely to be subjected to the same insult and humiliation,” said Amanda Heystek, Senior Attorney at Disability Rights Florida.
The case is Kern and Disability Rights Florida v. Days Inn North Beach Hotel, LLC., Miami-Dade County Court, Eleventh Judicial Circuit.
For further information contact:
Randall C. Berg, Jr., Esq., Ex. Dir., Florida Justice Institute at 786-342-6907 or toll free 888-358-2081, Ext. 225, RBerg@FloridaJusticeInstitute.org
Amanda Heystek, Esq., Managing Attorney, Disability Rights Florida at 850-488-9071 or toll free 800¬342-0823. AmandaH@DisabilityRightsFlorida.org; (TDD) 800-346-4127
The Florida Justice Institute is a non-profit, public interest law firm that since 1978 has represented victims of civil rights violations throughout Florida. Disability Rights Florida is Florida's non-profit, federally funded, protection and advocacy system for individuals with disabilities.
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