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Friday, November 14, 2014

Families in Disney autism lawsuit face new hurdle

Orlando Sentinel | By Sandra Pedicini | Nov 10, 2014

A group of families suing Walt Disney Parks and Resorts over its new policies for people with disabilities, such as autism, has suffered a setback.

The plaintiffs must file individual lawsuits, a federal judge has ruled.

The lawsuits was moved to Orlando federal court recently from California. Judge Anne Conway said late last month the plaintiffs' claims are too diverse to handle in one lawsuit.

"The developmentally disabled Plaintiffs face differing cognitive impairments — ADHD, autism, Down syndrome, etc. — and their symptoms manifest in different ways and in response to different stimuli," Conway wrote. "Some of the families appear to own Disney annual passes, and encounter (the new policy) frequently, while others claim to have visited a Disney park on only one occasion. The common law allegations are similarly diverse: some families bought one-time-use tickets, sustaining economic damages of only a few hundred dollars, while other families own Disney time shares or annual passes, or spent thousands of dollars on a Disney vacation. Some Plaintiffs visited Disneyland, in California, while most visited Disney World, in Orlando."

The original lawsuit had 26 plaintiffs from 14 families. Thirteen of the families can file individual lawsuits by Nov. 21, Conway ruled. The attorney representing the families, Andy Dogali, wanted to add dozens more plaintiffs. They all must file individually as well.

The suit alleges that Disney's Disability Access Service, which began in 2013, discriminates against autistic children because it no longer allows them to go to the front of lines. It gives them a return time instead.

read more at: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/os-cfb-tourism-11102014-20141110-story.html

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