Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury can result in paralysis of the muscles used for breathing; paralysis and/or loss of feeling in all or some of the trunk, arms, and legs; weakness; numbness; loss of bowel and bladder control; and numerous secondary conditions including respiratory problems, pressure sores, and sometimes fatal spikes in blood pressure. Approximately 12,000 new spinal cord injuries occur in the U.S. each year. A majority of injuries occur from motor vehicle accidents, falls, work-related accidents, sports injuries, and penetrations such as stab or gunshot wounds.

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Our membership community provides a lifeline for many individuals that are focused on regaining their independence and improving their quality of life––whether they are leaving rehab after sustaining a spinal cord injury, learning to live with symptoms of a spinal cord disorder, or have spent years of frustration coping with disability. We provide members guidance and resources on a variety of topics they are passionate about, such as employment, affordable housing, transportation, health care, home- and community-based independent living, education, peer support, and leisure and recreation.

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You are here >>:Home/United Spinal News/Featured/United Spinal Member Sues for Safe & Lawful Ferry Access to the Statue of Liberty

United Spinal Member Sues for Safe & Lawful Ferry Access to the Statue of Liberty

United Spinal Association member employee and wheelchair user, David Heard, filed a lawsuit Thursday against Statue Cruises, LLC, for its failure to provide safe and lawful ferry access for wheelchair users, thereby violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New York State and New York City Human Rights Laws.

Wheelchair using tourists from all over the world are among the 4.2 million people who visit the Statue of Liberty every year.

The complaint states, “Tens of thousands of disabled Americans who depend on wheelchairs for mobility – including many military veterans who were disabled in the service of this country – cannot easily visit the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island, because defendant Statue Cruises, LLC (“Statue Cruises”), which holds the exclusive right to operate ferry boats to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, does not make its ferry boats accessible for wheelchair users.”

United Spinal President and CEO, James Weisman, sent a letter last December to the National Park Service that described significant and dangerous problems regarding wheelchair accessibility on the ferry and requested appropriate changes be made in order to comply with the law.

These problems included transition plates and ramps that are at an unlawful slope, gangways that are too narrow with unlawful handrails and restrooms that are inaccessible and unusable.

In a letter responding to United Spinal, Superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument stated that “the National Park Service and Statue Cruises believe that the ferry is in full compliance with all applicable accessibility laws” and declined to take any steps to compel Statue Cruises to remedy the alleged violations.

United Spinal had received multiple notifications from wheelchair users identifying accessibility problems on the ferry boats. As a result, plaintiff, David Heard, visited the Statue of Liberty where he too faced the same dangerous obstacles and difficulties using the inaccessible ferry boats.

Read more on this story.

2016-02-12T14:45:59+00:00 Featured, United Spinal News|