Supreme Court to hear case on ADA disability rights on Cruise Ships
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Traditionally, cruise lines have registered with a foreign nation, primarily to circumvent the rigorous US laws and inspections on ship safety.
“Though many cruise-line companies are headquartered in the United States, they are registered in another country, they operate ships registered in other countries (sailing under foreign “flags of convenience”), and the ships sail in international waters. Sixty per cent of cruise ships are registered in either the Bahamas, Panama or Liberia”
Almost all of the major cruise lines refuse to recognize the Americans with Disabilities ct (ADA), and Guide Animal users are faced with blatant discrimination and denial of access. This is especially important for those traveling with Service Monkeys and Guide Horses.
The Supreme Count is scheduled to hear an important cases relating to foreign cruises that cater primarily to USA customers, yet refuse to follow US laws, threatening the accessibility and safety of guide animal users:
In this article by Brewster Thackeray, we see that an important case for the disabled is scheduled to be heard:
“In late February, the Supreme Court will hear the case of Spector Vs. Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd., which will clarify whether foreign-registered vessels sailing from U.S. ports are obligated to conform to this American law.
Plaintiff Douglas Spector, who uses a motorized scooter because a spinal tumor makes him unable to walk, took a Norwegian Cruise Line trip in 1998, and found the ship to be inaccessible to him.
In an emergency, there was not even a system to get him into a lifeboat. Adding insult to isolation, there was a surcharge for his accessible cabin, even as he was denied other amenities that should have been covered by his fare.
Spector originally won the cases, but it was overturned in Appellate court, citing that there wasn't any evidence the Congressional authors of the ADA intended it to affect these foreign vessels. Accepting a Writ of Certiorari, the Supreme Court will decide this landmark disabilities case. Here is the text of the Supreme Court case:
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