FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Barry C. Taylor, Legal Advocacy Director
(800) 537-2632, ext. 7317
(800) 610-2779 TTY
Karen I. Ward, Senior Counsel
(800) 537-2632, ext. 7330
(800) 610-2779 TTY
Federal Discrimination Lawsuit Ends with Acceptance of Man with HIV Into Lambs Farm Program
Equip for Equality Obtains Settlement in Discrimination Lawsuit
CHICAGO (March 2, 2006) --Equip for Equality, the federally-mandated protection and advocacy agency for persons with disabilities in Illinois, today announced a settlement of the federal lawsuit it brought against Lambs Farm, Inc. on behalf of John Doe, an individual with HIV. The suit claimed that Lambs Farm, which serves adults with developmental disabilities, denied vocational and residential services to John Doe based on his HIV status, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal laws.
Under the settlement, John Doe will soon begin participating in Lambs Farm's vocational program. Other terms of the settlement remain confidential.
"We are delighted that our client will not be excluded from Lambs Farm's vocational program because of his HIV status and that Lambs Farm recognizes that his participation does not pose a danger to other participants," says Karen I. Ward, Senior Counsel at Equip for Equality and lead counsel for Doe. "It is critical that organizations serving individuals with one disability do not discriminate based on another disability." Equip for Equality Senior Attorney Alan Goldstein also served as counsel in this case.
Doe's lawsuit alleged that Lambs Farm had tentatively accepted him, but that his application was terminated when Lambs Farm staff learned of his HIV status. Lambs Farm denied any and all wrongdoing.
Doe is eagerly looking forward to his participation at Lambs Farm. "All I want to do is go to 'The Lambs,' " he said. "I want to begin my new life."
"The ADA prohibits denying services to people with disabilities based on unjustified fears and stereotypes," says Barry Taylor, Equip for Equality's Legal Advocacy Director. "Equip for Equality is committed to challenging discriminatory practices and policies that exclude people with HIV and other disabilities."
Equip for Equality is a private, statewide, not-for-profit entity designated by the Governor to administer the federal Protection and Advocacy System for safeguarding the rights of people with physical and mental disabilities in Illinois.
Reference: U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, and Chicago
Case No. 05-5564
John Doe v. Lambs Farm, Inc.