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Minister Sues for Wheelchair Discrimination

  • Synopsis: Published: 2010-08-03 - Parker Law Firm: Methodist Minister Sues for Wheelchair Discrimination. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Parker Law Firm.
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Parker Law Firm: Methodist Minister Sues for Wheelchair Discrimination

An ADA discrimination complaint was filed today in federal court in Tampa on behalf of retired Methodist minister Reverend Frances Swartz against Westminster Communities of Florida, which owns and operates 20 retirement centers.

Rev. Swartz, 71, is wheelchair-bound due to Parkinson's Disease. The complaint alleges that Westminster's policy forbids wheelchair-bound residents from using the main dining room. Rev. Swartz alleges she was told this policy was for "marketing" reasons, so that new prospects would not think the centers are convalescent homes.

The suit alleges the policy is not mentioned in Westminster's Residency Agreements or promotional materials, but is nonetheless applied to bar wheelchair-bound residents from normal use of the dining facilities in all 20 centers. Rev. Frances was first told of the no-wheelchairs "policy" after moving in, which required that she dispose of many personal items in order to fit within the small apartment provided at Westminster Palms in St. Petersburg. Rev. Frances lives with her husband, Rev. James Swartz, also a retired Methodist minister.

The suit seeks an injunction, damages, and a ruling that the Westminster "policy" is illegal under the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. The case number is 8: 10 cv 1722 T30 AEP.

Rev. Frances is represented in the case by her attorney, Robert Ted Parker of Parker Law Firm, of Orinda, California, at 925-254-8011. Mr. Parker has designated D. Kim Radcliff of Orlando, FL at 407-649-9192 as local counsel under Local Rule 2.02 of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

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