Mediation This Month in Rood ADA Case

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In the ongoing battle between the town of Fort Myers Beach and Estero Boulevard homeowner Eddie Rood, Fort Myers Beach town attorney John Herin told the town council Monday a court-ordered mediation will take place April 20th in Rood’s ADA lawsuit.

Estero Boulevard homeowner Eddie Rood, who the town has denied a permit to build a walkover to get to the beach from his home, filed an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit against the town over the issue. The town tried once to have the case dismissed but that was rejected. The town is being represented by an outside law firm as part of its membership with the Florida League of Cities.

Depositions in the case were taken last week. Herin told the council that the two sides are so far apart he does not believe the mediation will result in a settlement.

Rood filed the ADA lawsuit against the town last year. The suit claims: “As a result of the town’s acts and omissions, Rood has suffered humiliation, embarrassment, inconvenience, restraint on his liberty, harm to his reputation, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other damages.”

The lawsuit points out that back in 2011, Rood sought a variance from the town that would allow him to construct a front stairway into his home that would include a landing, wider steps, and a longer stairway with a less steep pitch, all of which he says were necessary to accommodate his physical limitations. Rood met with Town officials in the building department, and Rood discussed with them the fact that his physical limitations regarding his surgery and his knee and back problems prevented him from safely negotiating the front stairway, as constructed. Town officials administratively granted Rood his requested variance.

Rood and his neighbor Kurt Kroemer are also in a lawsuit with the State of Florida. They claim they have title to the land behind their homes where the Little Estero Critical Wildlife Area sits. If they win the lawsuit they say the state would no longer be able to post signs that the area is a state protected CWA.

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