Re: competing special needs
From: melanie griffin (
Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 11:44:28 -0700 (PDT)
I think that might be unnecessarily raising the stakes on this discussion,
and could even distract from the important focus on community conflicts that
need to be resolved without lawyering up. I haven't done these cases for a
while, so I may not be up on the latest guidelines and interpretations,  and
will certainly defer to anyone who is, but I was once a trial lawyer for the
eeoc, which enforces the employment provisions of the ADA, and in those
cases the accommodation only has to be provided if it is reasonable under
the circumstances, and the employer just has to make a good faith effort to
negotiate a reasonable accommodation. An accommodation that would put others
with different disabilities at risk of losing the use of the same facility
for which the complainant is asserting a need for accommodation would
probably not be seen as reasonable (all the allergic people could then
demand the opposite accommodation under the same standard) and i would think
there would be no legal basis for relief. I've never seen a case where a
court decides that one person with a guide dog is worth 5 people with
allergies--it's just not the kind of analysis that is productive for a
court's purpose even if some expert could come up with a formula (!)

If somebody out  there does housing or public accommodation cases they might
know of some legal distinction, but i can't imagine the analysis is all that
different. Sometimes there's just not an answer that pleases everybody, but
that doesn't mean anybody has done anything that's illegal or actionable.
(a retired civil rights lawyer rejoycing in the knowledge that she doesn't
have to do this for a living any more!)

On Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 5:20 PM, Kay Argyle <kay.argyle [at]> wrote:

> Rotten dilemma.
> There may be legal ramifications here. People with service animals are a
> protected class under the law.  I think I'd want to talk to someone who
> understands the ADA and housing discrimination laws.  It would be as well
> for the community to understand what her rights are, even if she isn't
> pushing them.
> My (possibly paranoid) suspicion is that the ADA would give priority to the
> needs of one service animal's owner over the needs of ten people with
> severe
> allergies.
> Kay
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