Suit: Casinos violate disabilities act

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - October 31, 2008

The suits, filed in U.S. District Court in Trenton within the last week by C. Lee Dempsey, name Harrah's Atlantic City; Bally's Park Place; Resorts International Hotel and Casino; Tropicana Casino and Resorts; Trump Marina, Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal; Showboat Atlantic City; Caesars Palace and Hilton.

The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa was not sued by Dempsey.

The litigation charges the casinos with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and state discrimination laws.

"By maintaining architectural barriers and policies that discriminate against people with disabilities ... Defendants have directly and/or indirectly refused, withheld from, and denied to Plaintiff the full and equal enjoyment of their place of accommodation because of his disability," the lawsuits state.

Dempsey does not specify his disability in the suits, but describes himself as having a "qualified disability" under the ADA and using a wheelchair for mobility. He claims numerous violations at the casinos, including:

  • cash advance and check cashing counters and ATM machines that are "inaccessible as to height."
  • gaming tables that are "inaccessible as to height."
  • lack of adequate informational and directional signs addressing people with disabilities.
  • slots areas that are inaccessible due to multiple steps.
  • slot machines that are inaccessible due to fixed seating in front of each machine.
  • restrooms that don't meet specifications, such as providing accessible paper towel dispensers and insulating exposed drain pipes under lavatories to prevent burns.

The suits seek to force the casinos to alter their facilities to "make them accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities."

Through his attorney, Robert J. Mirel of Brooklyn, Dempsey did not comment on the lawsuits Friday. Joseph Corbo, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, also declined to comment.

Spokespeople for Tropicana and Trump Entertainment, which operates the three Trump casinos, said the companies wouldn't comment because the litigation was pending.

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