Trials & Litigation

Threat of ADA suit spurs officials to plan immediate renovation of courthouse elevators

After a threat by a disability rights group that it would bring suit if officials didn’t take action, immediate renovation is planned of the aging, malfunctioning elevators in Mississippi’s Hinds County Courthouse.

In addition to problems with breakdowns, sometimes between floors, slow travel times and doors that sometimes shut on passengers at the 80-year-old, five-story building, a private inspector said the machines don’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act because they don’t offer audible alerts as they stop at each floor, the Clarion-Ledger reports.

“No one disputes the fact that the elevators need to be repaired,” said president Robert Graham of the board of supervisors. “We’re at the end of a budget year. We’re strapped for cash.”

A local disability rights activist who uses a wheelchair wasn’t able to serve on a jury when he was recently called for service because of the elevator situation, supervisors were told Monday.

“If the elevators aren’t fixed in a timely manner—in a week to 10 days—I’m filing a Title 3 complaint with the Department of Justice,” said Christy Dunaway, the executive director of Living Independence for Everyone. “I will let them know that the county of Hinds is not in compliance and that it puts residents in danger.”

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