Town Moves to Dismiss Rood ADA Suit

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The town of Fort Myers Beach has filed a motion for Summary Judgment with the U.S District Court in the Middle District of Florida to have Eddie Rood’s American With Disabilities Act lawsuit dismissed. Rood filed the suit against the town after he was denied a special exception for a dune walkover to the beach behind his Estero Boulevard home.

Rood claimed the town discriminated against him when he was denied the walkover permit.

The Summary Judgment filing states that Rood “cannot establish a valid failure to accommodate claim under the ADA, the record is devoid of evidence establishing that Rood was  disabled or that the town otherwise regarded Rood as disabled during the time the special exception was sought, there was no present need for the claimed accommodation and Rood never made a specific demand for an  accommodation in connection with the proposed shared dune walkover.”

The town also says that Rood was not using a wheelchair at the time he (and Kurt Kroemer) applied for the walkover permit. according to the town, Rood didn’t use a wheelchair, nor did he own a wheelchair, at the time of his deposition in this case. The town claims that Rood never told them he was disabled or that the walkover was going to be used for a wheelchair.

The town goes on to say that if Rood had specifically identified a disability and told them he needed the walkover for that specific disability, the town would have conducted a review of that particular issue.

The town states it has never denied Rood the ability to access the beach. “The town offers various other access points where Rood – like the  general public – can access the beach.”

The filing says Rood is looking for the most convenient way to the beach and that is not what the ADA law requires. “When  an individual already has meaningful access to a benefit to which he or she is entitled,  no additional accommodation, reasonable or not, need be provided by the  governmental entity.”

Rood says he plans to file a response to the town’s motion for summary judgment this week. The next step in the process, after that, would be for a judge to rule on the town’s motion.

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