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Old 06-03-2009, 12:17 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Geneseo, IL
Posts: 164

Disney World ban on Segways faces another challenge

Walt Disney World's ban on Segways is facing a new challenge.

Inside a downtown Orlando courtroom this morning, disability-rights advocates are trying to persuade a federal judge to reject a proposed settlement between Disney and three disabled people who filed a class-action lawsuit suit seeking to force Disney to allow the two-wheeled scooters inside its parks.

The lawsuit, filed by a man and a woman from Illinois and a woman from Iowa, was initially dismissed in early 2008 but resurrected after the lawyers for the three disabled people reworked their complaint.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Disney, which says allowing guests to ride Segways in its parks would create a safety hazard for other guests, would continue to bar Segways at both Disney World and Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., and be released from future legal claims over the ban. Disney would instead develop its own four-wheeled, upright scooters for disabled guests to use in its parks and would deploy 15 of the vehicles between Disney World and Disneyland. The devices -- which Disney is displaying during today's court hearing on the settlement -- look much like the typical sit-down scooters common at Disney World, but with a standing backrest rather than a seat.

Disney also agreed to pay attorneys fees for the plaintiffs estimated to be somewhere between $70,000 and $185,000, and pay the three people who filed the lawsuit $4,000 each, which, according to the terms of the settlement, "may be applied by them toward a one-week stay for a family of four" at Disney World.

But lawyers for an organization known as Disability Rights Advocates For Technology, or DRAFT, are objecting to the settlement. They argue, among other things, that it would violate the Americans With Disabilities Act and that it would unfairly allow Disney to charge guests to rent the upright scooters.

The U.S. Department of Justice and a coalition of 23 state attorneys general -- including Florida Attorney General and 2010 Republican candidate for governor Bill McCollum -- have also objected to the terms of the settlement
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