ADA law & interpretation

Posted on: Wed, 03/03/1999 - 1:19pm
terry's picture
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Joined: 01/16/1999 - 09:00

A recent ruling on a case of a peanut allergic child found that the child was not covered under the ADA laws. The case was Marie Land v. Baptist Medical Center in Arkansas. The only good news was that there was a dissenting opinion. If this case had been heard in the 9th district court, I have been told that they have been viewed as more liberal in granting or expanding rights under a statute, such as ADA. One option may be to amend the ADA statute to cover this type of allergic rxn.
The address is
[url="ftp://server.wulaw.wustl.edu/8th.cir/990106/982019.P8"]ftp://server.wulaw.wustl.edu/8th.cir/990106/982019.P8[/url]
(cut and paste exactly as is do not use http or www)

It is interesting to note that the Wall Street Journal reported on 3/3/99, that a school in Iowa had to have a full time nurse in attendance for a student that was ventilator dependent & quadriplegic so that student could attend public school under the ADA law. [img]http://client.ibboards.com/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Hello, This is Chris,
I would like to hear from anyone who knows about or has an opinion on this case.

Also: We (as a group) need to get organized to deal with this type of issue. This is one of the reasons we started this web site. Please contact me if you want to help us get organized.

Stay safe,

[email]"Chris@PeanutAllergy.Com"[/email]

[Note: This message has been edited by Chris]

[Note: This message has been edited by Chris]

Posted on: Thu, 03/04/1999 - 3:20am
Erica's picture
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Joined: 03/02/1999 - 09:00

Terry
What was the child's suit for?
Thanks,

Posted on: Thu, 03/04/1999 - 12:39pm
terry's picture
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Joined: 01/16/1999 - 09:00

A peanut anaphylactic child at a day care center needed epi-pen availability & personnel trained in administration. The child had two exposures to peanut at the day care center & the center then refused to take the child because of lack of personnel to monitor the childs dietary intake. A suit was filed under the ADA law. The district court ruled in favor of the day care center. The ruling was appealed,& the court of appeals upheld the district court ruling.

Posted on: Thu, 03/04/1999 - 9:54pm
Erica's picture
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Joined: 03/02/1999 - 09:00

Thanks for posting what the suit was for - I can't believe it. The measures that the states go to to ensure public education for children under the ADA is amazing & to exclude pnt allergy is disgusting. The expense to train personnel in a daycare center to use the pen is far less than the full time salary of an aide that needs to accompany a disabled child all day in the public school system - there is literally an aide for every student. Why the daycare center continued to serve pnt products is another issue. Shouldn't there be a law banning peanut products in daycare settings - since the kids there should not have peanuts until they are 3 years old anyway.

Posted on: Fri, 03/05/1999 - 1:29am
brenda's picture
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Joined: 01/22/1999 - 09:00

Unfortunately, the ADA only protects people in "public" daycares/schools. There is no protection with the ADA in religuous organizations. (separation of church and state thing) Could that be why they ruled in favor of the Baptist Medical Center?

Posted on: Fri, 03/05/1999 - 2:07am
Sue's picture
Sue
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Joined: 02/13/1999 - 09:00

Life threatening allergies ARE covered under the ADA. The ruling in favor of the church day care HAS to be because of seperation of church and government. The US department of justice, civil rights division has already settled the EpiPen/peanut allergy issue with LaPetite day care. I can only suggest that if your child has a life threatening allergy, stay away from church based day cares.
Good luck to all of us.
Sue in Arizona

Posted on: Sat, 03/06/1999 - 12:55pm
Deb's picture
Deb
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Joined: 01/22/1999 - 09:00

Please go to the site that Terry gives and read the court's opinion. Baptist Medical Center is NOT a church based center. The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that the child's peanut allergy is a physical "impairment" as defined by the ADA; however, the court went on to say that the impairment does not "substantially limit one or more of the major life activities" of the child and thus the allergy does not meet the definition of a "disability" under the ADA. The child's mother had argued that the peanut allergy substantially limits the child's major life activities of eating and breathing--the court rejected this argument because the child did not suffer an allergic reaction when she consumed any non-peanut foods and her ability to breathe was generally unrestricted except after ingestion of peanut products. (The district, or lower court, had ruled this same thing. The mom appealed to the Circuit Court and the Circuit Court agreed with the district court).
Please note that the LaPetite Day Care case is NOT the law of the land. It would only be the law of the land if the decision had been handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court or if the federal legislature had enacted legislation which would have codified the court's decision. The federal courts in a circuit (the U.S. is divided into circuits, or regions) are NOT bound by the decisions made in other circuits. Circuit courts will often be presented with the decisions of other circuits in an effort to persuade them to decide one way or another, but they are not required to follow the lead of other circuits. Perhaps the Arkansas case will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court--we'll have to wait and see. Keep in mind, that in many parts of the country, protection under the ADA for peanut allergies is NOT a sure thing at ths time. If you have any questions, contact your family's lawyer. Also keep in mind that you may be protected under STATE legislation.

Posted on: Sun, 03/07/1999 - 12:42am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Here is a link to the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division -
"Commonly Asked Questions about Day Care Centers and The Americans with Disabilities Act"
(Note Questions 14, 19 & 26)
[url="http://www.dinf.org/crt/ada/childqanda.htm"]www.dinf.org/crt/ada/childqanda.htm[/url]

Posted on: Sun, 03/14/1999 - 9:31am
LauraP's picture
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Joined: 03/10/1999 - 09:00

Hi everyone. I'm an attorney and mom of a peanut allergic child. Here's my take on this case. The PIVOTAL question was whether Megan's allergy substantially limited HER ability to eat and breathe. The court went on further to say this is AN INDIVIDUAL AND FACT SPECIFIC INQUIRY. You know what that means? It means that every peanut allergic child is different. It means that YOUR peanut allergic child might have had a different decision on this appeal. The court went further to say that A.D.A. didn't apply to Megan because her physician said the allergy only impacted her life "a little bit". She had no other food allergies either. The dissenting opinion is encouraging, however. Don't let this one opinion dash your hopes of A.D.A. applying to your child. Some peanut allergic children are allergic to other foods as well. Megan wasn't. Some are smell sensitive. Megan wasn't.
If your child is in or planning to enter a private day care or private school, I suggest you see if there's an American's With Disabilities Act coalition in your state, or a similar organization to help citizens understand and uphold the act. There is one in my state, Connecticut. They were one of the first places I turned when I found out my child was food allergic four years ago. They steered me in the right direction.
I posted a lengthy post under "schools" on 504 and IDEA. A day care or private school should be handled in a manner similar to public schools. I recommend you send a formal letter to the daycare detailing your child's food allergy and consequences of exposure. In light of the Land case, it would probably be a good idea to accompany your initial letter with a note from your child's allergist really detailing the severity of the allergy - have him use in his letter the buzz words "substantially affects this child's cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal and skin systems" or similar language. Tell the day care or private school that your child is disabled under A.D.A. (They may not all be aware of this case. Even if they are, it does not relate to your INDIVIDUAL CHILD). I'm sure not all daycares and private schools are as problematic or insensitive as Baptist was. You may actually be able to enatct a pretty good food allergy management plan for your child, and the daycare or school may be very cooperative.
In the event you run into trouble or they give you problems, you can do one of the following:
1. Try a different daycare or private school which is more sensitive to the issue;
2. Enroll your child in public school if possible (and get the protection afforded under 504 or IDEA, if applicable to your child); or
3. File a complaint against the offending facility. To do this, you should contact the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Civil Rights Division.

Posted on: Sat, 04/10/1999 - 1:13pm
EILEEN's picture
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Joined: 04/06/1999 - 09:00

I have spoken with someone at the US Department of Justice, Public Access Section, Civil Rights Division (1-800-514-0301). She informed me that ADA does cover private schools and that a child can not be rejected because of peanut allergy. Did she give me the wrong information?

Posted on: Sat, 04/10/1999 - 1:48pm
EILEEN's picture
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Joined: 04/06/1999 - 09:00

Hi LauraP, could you let me know the telephone number of the Connecticut ADA coalition group, Thanks
[This message has been edited by EILEEN (edited June 15, 2001).]

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