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Todd v. Carstarphen

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

February 17, 2017

DAFFANIE TODD, on behalf of herself; R.D., R.D., and D.T., by and through their next friend, Daffanie Todd, Plaintiffs,
v.
MERIA JOEL CARSTARPHEN, in her official capacity as Superintendent, Atlanta Independent School System, and ATLANTA INDEPENDENT SCHOOL SYSTEM, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs Daffanie Todd (“Ms. Todd”), R.D., R.D. and D.T.'s (together, “Plaintiffs”) Motion for Preliminary Injunction [3] and request for permanent injunctive relief.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This is a case about how three children will get to and from their elementary school. The Court and the parties agree on the inestimable value of an education, including at the elementary school level. That goal has been impeded for these three children by their nonattendance in classes for weeks before this action was filed. At the Court's urging, and with the help of volunteers, the children have been transported to and from school while this matter is litigated.[1] That a court had to be the driving force behind these arrangements illustrates the frustration of this case. Sometimes it takes time to understand the underlying issues in litigation. It took two evidentiary hearings, and multiple legal submissions, for the Court to discover what is really impeding the children's access to their elementary school.

         II. FINDINGS OF FACT

         A. Introduction

         The Court is required to make specific findings of fact in this action because Plaintiffs' claims for injunctive relief were tried without a jury. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(a); United States v. Lopez, 466 F. App'x 829, 831 (11th Cir. 2012).[2] Having carefully “weigh[ed] and appraise[d]” the evidence in the record, including the credibility of those who testified at the evidentiary hearings, the Court states its factual findings below. 9C Arthur R. Miller, Fed. Prac. & Proc. Civ. § 2576 (3d ed. Apr. 2016 Update) (“[T]he district court must weigh and appraise the evidence offered by both parties impartially.”).

         B. The Parties

         Defendant Atlanta Independent School System (“APS”) is a public school system in Atlanta, Georgia. APS has jurisdiction over approximately 50, 000 students and 100 schools, including Continental Colony Elementary School (“Continental Colony”), where Plaintiffs R.D., R.D. and D.T. (the “Children” or “Plaintiff Children”) are enrolled. (Transcript of October 13, 2016 Hearing on Temporary Restraining Order (“2016 Tr.”) at 8-9, 50; Transcript of January 5, 2017 Hearing on Preliminary and Permanent Injunction [32] (“2017 Tr.”) at 133).[3] Defendant Meria Joel Carstarphen (“Superintendent Carstarphen”) is the Superintendent of APS. (2017 Tr. at 158).

         Ms. Todd is thirty-seven (37) years old. (2016 Tr. at 7). In 2002, she was diagnosed with retinal detachment. (2016 Tr. at 10). In 2007, she lost sight in her right eye. (2016 Tr. at 10-11). On June 3, 2013, she lost sight in her left eye, and now is blind. (2016 Tr. at 11; 2017 Tr. at 16). Ms. Todd is a single mother with full custody of her four youngest children: D.D., who is fourteen (14) years old, Plaintiff R.D., who is nine (9) years old, Plaintiff R.D., who is eight (8) years old, and Plaintiff D.T., who is five (5) years old. (2016 Tr. at 8). Roger Dennison (“Dennison”) is the father of D.D., R.D. and R.D. (2017 Tr. at 36). Ms. Todd's youngest child, D.T., has a different father. (2017 Tr. at 36). The Plaintiff Children are not disabled. (2017 Tr. at 56). Ms. Todd also has a daughter, aged twenty-one (21), who lives in Atlanta and who has three children of her own. (2017 Tr. at 37, 42). Ms. Todd has eight brothers and sisters, with whom she is not on speaking terms, and a sixty-nine (69) year old aunt who visits her once a week. (2016 Tr. at 17; 2017 Tr. at 33-34).[4] Both of Ms. Todd's parents are deceased. (2017 Tr. at 33). Ms. Todd is the only adult who lives in her home. (2016 Tr. at 17).

         Ms. Todd is unemployed and receives food stamps under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, free housing and utilities under Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937, and approximately $737 per month in Social Security disability benefits. (2016 Tr. at 10, 21-22). Her food stamps cover the cost of the groceries that she buys. (2016 Tr. at 22). Although Ms. Todd obtained court orders requiring Dennison and D.T.'s father to provide her with monthly child support payments of $384 and $116, respectively, she has not received payments from either individual. (2017 Tr. at 35-36). Ms. Todd claims she has sought, unsuccessfully, to enforce the court orders against the children's fathers. (2017 Tr. at 36-37).

         Ms. Todd states that, because of her blindness, she is “currently unable to walk [outside her home] without an accompanying individual holding her arm as a guide.” ([3.2] at 1; see 2017 Tr. at 24). She has not learned to walk with the assistance of a walking cane or a guide dog. (See 2016 Tr. at 20). Ms. Todd generally uses her children as guides when she walks outside her home, [5] or uses MARTA Mobility, a door-to-door transportation service.[6] (2016 Tr. at 13, 15; 2017 Tr. at 24). She walks with D.D. and the Children to the grocery store at the top of her street. (2016 Tr. at 13). She allows D.D. and one of the Plaintiff Children to walk to the store together without adult supervision. (2017 Tr. at 38-40).[7] The grocery store is about the same distance from her home as Continental Colony. She cooks for her children and walks independently in her home. (2017 Tr. at 23-24).

         Ms. Todd has always distrusted strangers. (See 2017 Tr. at 17 (“[W]hen I could see, I didn't trust strangers.”)). This distrust intensified after she lost her sight because she “can't see the wrong moves that [others] are making or their eyes.” (2017 Tr. at 17). She believes “[p]eople are not right, ” “[t]he world is strangers, ” and “[e]verywhere in the world is getting dangerous.” (2017 Tr. at 22, 30, 69, 75, 81). She has taught her children to “scream, holler, kick [and] bite” if “anybody touches [them].” (2017 Tr. at 72-73). Ms. Todd and her children do not leave their home for entertainment or social activities, including because she “cannot see if somebody is putting something in [her] Coca-Cola or [her] water.” (2016 Tr. at 14; 2017 Tr. at 40). She generally does not allow her children outside of her range of hearing, including to play or interact with other children in their neighborhood. (2016 Tr. at 16-17). She “ha[s] to hear [her children] in order for [her] to feel safety.” (2016 Tr. at 16). In her old neighborhood, she allowed other children to come to her home to play with her children, but she did not allow her children to go to others' homes because she feared for the safety of her children and “didn't want everybody to know [she] was blind, to be vulnerable . . . to different crimes.” (2016 Tr. at 16-17).

         C. APS Transportation Policy

         APS provides transportation, to and from elementary schools, for students who live more than one mile away from school. (2017 Tr. at 124; [31.1] at 3; [6.1] ¶ 4).[8] Students who live within one mile of their elementary school live in what is known as the “walk zone.” (2017 Tr. at 124; [31.1] at 3; [6.1] ¶ 4). Students in the walk zone do not receive APS transportation unless they are disabled or the walk zone is unsafe because of local crime, “unsafe walking conditions, traffic density patterns, things of that nature.” (2017 Tr. at 127; [6.1] ¶¶ 4, 7).[9] Approximately 200 bus stops have been established inside APS walk zones to accommodate disabled students or because of unsafe walking conditions. (2017 Tr. at 128). “Bus stops can be up to ½ mile apart and students could be required to walk up to ¼ mile to the nearest bus stop.” ([31.1] at 22).

         If a student is disabled, APS convenes an Individual Education Plan Committee “to evaluate the student's disability and all aspects of their educational process.” (2017 Tr. at 128; see [26.1] at 10 (“[W]e'll try to figure out what we need to do to get the [disabled] kid to school.”)). At the request of the Committee, the Transportation Department may provide transportation, to and from school, for the disabled child. (2017 Tr. at 128). The Transportation Department also inspects any walk zone about which there are safety concerns. (2017 Tr. at 127). A walking path is deemed safe only if it is off the street, reasonably unobstructed, and at least four feet wide. (2017 Tr. at 127, 158-159; [27.1] at 40).[10] The path must not require the children to “walk right next to the road” or to “intermittently walk out on the street.” (2017 Tr. at 159). Concrete sidewalks are not required. (2017 Tr. at 158-159). It is “very usual, ” and “in step with the community sense, ” for children to walk across people's yards on their way to school. (2017 Tr. at 159). Although APS's Transportation Executive Director frequently receives transportation requests, he has never received a safety-based transportation request from parents of students who live in the Continental Colony walk zone. (2017 Tr. at 131-132, 151).

         When a parent seeks bus services for a student not eligible for APS transportation, the Transportation Department “explore[s] the supports that are available within the family.” ([31.1] at 30). If this does not resolve the parent's concerns, the Transportation Department discusses the transportation request with the school principal and the school social worker. ([31.1] at 30). The school social worker contacts the parent, assesses the situation, makes “recommendations to the parent for support, ” and may “provide community supports.” ([31.1] at 30; 2017 Tr. at 155-156). “[W]hatever barriers it is that causes the child not to come to school, . . . one of [the social worker's] jobs is to undo that barrier.” ([26.1] at 9). The social worker may, for example, coordinate a “walking group” comprised of other students in the area who walk to school. (2017 Tr. at 132). APS schools also offer “a number of before- and after-school care programs which help parents to deliver kids early or pick them up later.” (2017 Tr. at 161).[11]

         “APS does not have a policy or procedure stating that students of certain ages may be too young to walk to school unattended by an adult.” ([6.1] ¶ 5; see 2017 Tr. at 130).[12] It is not uncommon for older students, in the fourth or fifth grade, to walk a younger sibling to school, even where the younger sibling is in pre-kindergarten. (2017 Tr. at 161).

         D. Plaintiffs' Request for Transportation to and from Continental Colony

         In October 2014, when Plaintiffs lived on Sandys Lane SE in Atlanta, Ms. Todd enrolled her children at Humphries Elementary School. (2017 Tr. at 44). Although Plaintiffs lived in the school's walk zone, APS provided Ms. Todd's children-and other children in the area-with transportation to and from school because the Transportation Department deemed the walking path unsafe. (2017 Tr. at 130; [6.1] ¶ 8). The walking path in Plaintiffs' old neighborhood required students to cross a four-lane highway to get to school, and there was an “extreme density pattern of traffic.” (2017 Tr. at 130).

         In the spring of 2016, Plaintiffs moved to their current residence, a two-story house with four bedrooms and a large yard, on The Fontainebleau SW in Atlanta. (2016 Tr. at 17-18; 2017 Tr. at 25). Plaintiffs' home is in a residential neighborhood of single family homes with large front yards that border the road. (See [31]).[13] Plaintiffs' move to their new neighborhood resulted in a change in the schools to which Ms. Todd's children were assigned. D.D. is now in ninth grade and attends Therrell High School. (2016 Tr. at 8). R.D., R.D. and D.T. are enrolled in Continental Colony, where R.D. is in fourth grade, R.D. is in third grade, and D.T. is in pre-kindergarten. (2016 Tr. at 8-9).

         Plaintiffs' home is four tenths (0.4) of a mile, or a ten (10) minute walk, from Continental Colony. (2017 Tr. at 126).[14] Two tenths (0.2) of a mile of this walk is along Plaintiffs' street, which does not have a concrete sidewalk. There are no obstructions in the yards along this street that would impede the Children's walk to school or that would cause them to step onto the street. (See [31]; 2017 Tr. at 129, 158-159; [27.1] at 48). The other two tenths (0.2) of a mile is on Hogan Road SW, which has a sidewalk. (2017 Tr. at 97). Continental Colony is located on Hogan Road SW. (2016 Tr. at 25; 2017 Tr. at 96). The walk from Plaintiffs' home to the school requires Plaintiffs to cross one interior neighborhood residential street.[15] Classes at Continental Colony begin at 8:00 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. (2017 Tr. at 41-42).

         In the summer of 2016, Ms. Todd visited Continental Colony to register and enroll her Children. (2017 Tr. at 25). On the first day of school, August 3, 2016, [16] Dennison walked Ms. Todd and the Children to school. (2017 Tr. at 25). When they arrived, Ms. Todd told school officials that she recently moved into the area, and asked them about the school bus route in her neighborhood. (2017 Tr. at 26). The officials replied that they would look into the bus routes, which were not yet on the computer. (2017 Tr. at 26). The next day, Dr. Kristen Vaughn, Continental Colony's Principal, told Ms. Todd her Children were not eligible for bus services because they lived in the school's walk zone. (2017 Tr. at 26). Ms. Todd told Principal Vaughn she was blind and “d[id]n't have anyone to help” her get the Children to school. (2017 Tr. at 26). Principal Vaughn asked Dennison, R.D.'s and R.D.'s father, if he could take the Children to school. (2017 Tr. at 26). He said he could not. (2017 Tr. at 26).[17] Principal Vaughn said she would raise Ms. Todd's concern with the APS Transportation Department. (2017 Tr. at 26). Later that day, Principal Vaughn told Ms. Todd that APS would not provide her Children with transportation because they lived in the walk zone. (2017 Tr. at 27).

         Ms. Todd's Children continued to attend Continental Colony through August 8, 2016. (2017 Tr. at 27).[18] From August 9, 2016, through October 14, 2016, the Children did not attend school because Ms. Todd believes it is too dangerous for them to walk to school without adult supervision, and she “does not have other family members or trusted friends who are available to walk her children to school in her stead.” ([3.2] at 1; 2016 Tr. at 27; 2017 Tr. at 27). Ms. Todd claims further that she does not have the resources to pay to transport her Children to and from school. (2016 Tr. at 20-21). No evidence of the cost for Ms. Todd to transport her Children was introduced at the hearings.

         In early August 2016, Ms. Todd discussed her transportation concerns with Associate Superintendent Tommy Usher. (2017 Tr. at 27, 125). On August 16, 2016, she met with Rodney Harleston (“Harleston”), an APS social worker. ([26.1] at 20; 2017 Tr. at 125, 132; see 2017 Tr. at 148). Neither discussion resolved Ms. Todd's concerns. Ms. Todd then spoke with John Franklin (“Franklin”), APS's Transportation Executive Director. (2017 Tr. at 27, 124, 126). She told him she was blind, and requested bus service to and from school for her Children. (2017 Tr. at 126; [27.1] at 31). Franklin told her he would evaluate her request and get back to her. (2017 Tr. at 126).

         Franklin and Commander Carroll Patrick (“Patrick”), an APS safety and security officer, conducted an on-site inspection of Plaintiffs' walking path to school. (2017 Tr. at 144).[19] The inspection occurred at 2:30 p.m., when Continental Colony classes end for the day. (2017 Tr. at 145). Franklin and Patrick drove from the school to Ms. Todd's home, and from Ms. Todd's home back to the school. (2017 Tr. at 144-145). They “look[ed] at the various aspects in between [Ms. Todd's] residence and the school to determine if it can be walked reasonably.” (2017 Tr. at 126). APS's Assistant Transportation Supervisor, Chief Operations Officer, and Chief of Schools and Academics also inspected the route to school from Plaintiffs' home. ([27.1] at 46-47). At least one of these inspections occurred in the morning. ([27.1] at 46). APS officials unanimously concluded “it was a reasonable walk path from [Plaintiffs'] residence of record to the school.” (2017 Tr. at 126, 129).

         Franklin told Ms. Todd that APS would not provide a bus for the Children because Plaintiffs live in the walk zone and the walking path is safe. (2017 Tr. at 126). Franklin offered to walk Ms. Todd's Children to and from school, for a limited time, to help them get acquainted with other students walking in the same direction. ([27.1] at 66). Ms. Todd declined the offer, withheld her Children from school, and “made it very clear that she was going to advocate any level through the media that she needed to.” ([27.1] at 66, 81). Franklin directed the APS Division of Student Services to “reach out to Ms. Todd, do a home visit, assess . . . the severity of her health condition . . . and those type of aspects, ” and look for “family or community supports” to resolve Ms. Todd's concerns and ensure her Children got to school. (2017 Tr. at 148; [27.1] at 60). These efforts did not result in a resolution. On August 22, 2016, Ms. Todd sought legal representation by the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc. (2017 Tr. at 28).

         E. Plaintiffs' Negotiations with APS

         On September 6, 2016, Ms. Todd's counsel sent a formal letter to Superintendent Carstarphen, asserting that Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, required APS to “make a reasonable accommodation for Ms. Todd by providing transportation to pick up Ms. Todd's children in front of her house . . . and to bring them home from school in the afternoon.” ([3.2] at 2). Ms. Todd's counsel suggested a “slight alteration” to an existing school bus route “or some other vehicle arrangement.” ([3.2] at 2). The suggested adjustment to the bus route would cost APS $200 per year. (2017 Tr. at 148, 151).

         In a September 14, 2016, telephone conversation with Plaintiffs' counsel, APS proposed a “walking pool” to get the Children to and from school. ([3.5] at 1-2; 2016 Tr. at 19). APS also referred Ms. Todd to Garrick Scott, President of the Georgia Office of the National Federation of the Blind. (2016 Tr. at 19). Mr. Scott offered to teach Ms. Todd to walk with a walking cane. (2016 Tr. at 20). Ms. Todd believed the lessons would take “months, ” and felt that she needed to stay at home with her Children. (2016 Tr. at 20). Ms. Todd declined Mr. Scott's offer and apparently is still not receiving the instruction, even though her Children have been taken to school by transportation volunteers since October 17, 2016. (2016 Tr. at 20).[20]

         On September 19, 2016, counsel for Ms. Todd emailed APS, stating that the proposed walking pool was not “a reasonable alternative to APS-provided or subsidized vehicle transportation, ” but that Ms. Todd was willing to meet with the walking pool chaperone. ([3.4]).

         On September 22, 2016, counsel for Ms. Todd sent APS a follow-up letter, requesting clarification about, and assistance in organizing, the walking pool arrangement. ([3.5]).[21] Counsel for Ms. Todd stated in the letter that “Ms. Todd is reluctantly willing to consider the walking pool as a temporary solution only in order to get her children back in school immediately while the final resolution of this matter is pending.” ([3.5] at 1).

         On September 28, 2016, Harleston told Ms. Todd and her counsel that the walking pool would include two children in the fourth or fifth grade, but not an adult chaperone. ([3.6] at 1; 2016 Tr. at 19; 2017 Tr. at 29; [26.1] at 32). Counsel for Ms. Todd replied that Ms. Todd was not comfortable with this proposal, that it was not a “reasonable accommodation, ” and that Ms. Todd required “school-sponsored services to safely accompany her children, on foot or by car, to the school from her house on a daily basis.” ([3.6] at 1). Ms. Todd testified that she was “never” open to the walking pool suggestion, even if it included an adult chaperone, because she was worried about the safety of her Children and because “a volunteer is just a volunteer.” (2017 Tr. at 32-33).[22]

         F. Procedural History

         On October 6, 2016, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint and Request for Injunctive Relief [1] (“Complaint”), asserting claims under Title II of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12132, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794. Plaintiffs claim that Defendants have failed to reasonably accommodate Ms. Todd's disability and that this failure has excluded her Children from school, in violation of the ADA and Rehabilitation Act. The Complaint requests “declaratory and injunctive relief to permanently require Defendant to provide daily school-sponsored services to safely accompany the minor Plaintiffs, on foot or by vehicle, to the school from their house.” (Compl. at 19). On October 6, 2016, Plaintiffs also filed their Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [3], seeking an order requiring APS to “provide bus transportation to and from school immediately . . . [and] through the pendency of this action.” ([3] at 2). On October 13, 2016, the Court held a hearing on Plaintiffs' request for a temporary restraining order. ([9]).

         On October 17, 2016, Plaintiffs notified the Court that Five Star Express Transit (“Five Star”), a private-transportation company, volunteered to take Ms. Todd's Children to and from school “until at least the end of the Fall Semester.” ([10] at 2). In light of this development, on October 18, 2016, the Court denied as moot Plaintiffs' emergency request for a temporary restraining order. Five Star drove Ms. Todd's Children to and from school from October 17, 2016, through December 2016. (2017 Tr. at 49-50, 58-59). The Children did not miss any days of school during this period. (2017 Tr. at 50). Ms. Todd did not meet, and otherwise did not know, the Five Star drivers before they began driving her Children to school. (2017 Tr. at 61).

         On January 3, 2017, Five Star told Ms. Todd it could no longer transport her Children to and from school. (2017 Tr. at 52). That same day, a community member, Harry Wallace (“Wallace”), offered, at no charge, to drive Ms. Todd's Children to and from school. (2017 Tr. at 62, 68; [33] at 16).[23] Wallace drives his own child to and from Continental Colony every day. ([33] at 16). APS offered to conduct a background check on Wallace and on any second volunteer who may come forward. (2017 Tr. at 68, 87). Ms. Todd rejected the offer, and was unwilling to meet with Wallace, because she believes volunteers are unreliable and dangerous. (See 2017 Tr. at 51, 68-70, 75-76, 83-85). She is unwilling to accept a permanent arrangement involving community members, even if they commit to drive her Children to and from school “so long as [the Children] needed that.” (2017 Tr. at 82). She requires that her Children receive transportation only from an APS official whom she trusts after hugging them, talking with them, and “feel[ing] [their] soul.” (2017 Tr. at 71-72, 84-85; see also 2016 Tr. at 32). If bus transportation was provided, she would need to hug the driver and feel his soul to determine if she could trust him. If she did not trust the driver after going through this process, she would request a different bus driver and would not allow her Children to ride the bus until APS sent a new driver who was acceptable to her. (2017 Tr. at 71-72).

         On January 5, 2017, the Court held a combined hearing on Plaintiffs' request for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief. ([32]). Ms. Todd's Children apparently did not attend school from January 4, 2017, through January 6, 2017. (2017 Tr. at 51).[24] On January 9 and January 10, 2017, the Children were driven to and from school by James Woods (“Woods”), a member of Ms. Todd's church. ([34.1] at 1). On January 11, 2017, Woods drove the Children to school and Melvin Jackson (“Jackson”), a former high school friend of Ms. Todd's, drove the Children home. ([34.1] at 2). This arrangement is expected to continue until the spring of 2017, when Woods states he will move to Indiana. ([34.1] at 2).[25]

         III. PLAINTIFFS' CLAIMS

         A. Ms. Todd's Claim

         Ms. Todd claims Defendants discriminated against her because of her disability, in violation of Title II of the ADA. She states that her blindness prevents the Children from attending school because she is unable to take them herself, and the Children “have no other means to access school.” ([33] at 23, 25, 28-29; see [3.1] at 2). She argues that Defendants are required to accommodate her disability by transporting her Children to and from school. Ms. Todd claims that Defendants have failed to provide the transportation her Children require, and that this failure has denied her “the benefit of a public education for her children.” ([33] at 23, 28).

         B. The Children's Claims

         Plaintiffs R.D., R.D. and D.T., who are not disabled, assert claims for associational disability discrimination under Title II of the ADA. They claim they cannot get to school without APS transportation because their mother is blind. They argue that, by failing to transport the Children to school, APS has denied them “the benefit of a free public education” and has discriminated against them because of their association with a disabled person. ([33] at 30; see Compl. ¶¶ 74, 76, 91; [8] at 5). Plaintiffs seek to enjoin the Defendants from failing to transport the Children to and from Continental Colony.[26]

         IV. LEGAL BACKGROUND

         A. Legal Standard for Injunctive Relief

         “[T]o obtain a permanent injunction, a party must show: (1) that he has prevailed in establishing the violation of the right asserted in his complaint; (2) there is no adequate remedy at law for the violation of this right; and (3) irreparable harm will result if the court does not order injunctive relief.” Alabama v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 424 F.3d 1117, 1128 (11th Cir. 2005).[27] A permanent injunction is an “an extraordinary remedy, ” id. at 1127, and is issued only where the moving party establishes both “actual success on the merits, ” Klay v. United Healthgroup, Inc., 376 F.3d 1092, 1097 (11th Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks omitted), and an injury that is “actual and imminent” that cannot be “undone through monetary remedies, ” Ne. Florida Chapter of Ass'n of Gen. Contractors of Am. v. City of Jacksonville, 896 F.2d 1283, 1285 (11th Cir. 1990); see Chacon v. Granata, 515 F.2d 922, 925 (5th Cir. 1975) (“An injunction is appropriate only if the anticipated injury is imminent and irreparable.”);[28]Bhogaita v. Altamonte Heights Condo. Assn., Inc., No. 6:11-cv-1637, 2013 WL 2467782, at *2 (M.D. Fla. June 7, 2013) (“To obtain a permanent injunction, there must be some cognizable danger of recurrent violations or some continuing harm for which money damages are insufficient compensation.”).

         The party seeking a permanent injunction has the burden of proof to show “by a preponderance of the evidence that [the requested] form of equitable relief is necessary.” Sheely v. MRI Radiology Network, P.A., 505 F.3d 1173, 1182 n.10 (11th Cir. 2007); see K.G. ex rel. Garrido v. Dudek, 981 F.Supp.2d 1275, 1278 (S.D. Fla. 2013). Because a permanent injunction is “an extraordinary and drastic remedy, ” it “should not be granted unless the movant clearly carries the burden of persuasion.” Wilson v. Broward Cty., Fla., No. 04-cv-61068, 2008 WL 708180, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 14, 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Canal Auth. of the State of Fla. v. Callaway, 489 F.2d 567, 573 (5th Cir. 1974)).

         B. Background of the ADA

         The ADA was enacted “to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities, ” and “to provide clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standards addressing discrimination against individuals with disabilities.” 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101(b)(1)-(2). “[T]he Act [is] broadly construed” to effectuate its remedial purposes. Kornblau v. Dade Cty., 86 F.3d 193, 194 (11th Cir. 1996).

         The ADA is divided into three parts. Title I prohibits disability discrimination in employment. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111-12117. Title II prohibits disability discrimination in public services furnished by governmental entities. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12165.[29] Title III prohibits disability discrimination in public accommodations provided by private entities. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189.

         “Titles I, II, and III of the ADA do not contain neatly drawn parallel provisions; while Titles I and III list many specific actions that constitute discrimination, Title II simply provides a blanket prohibition on discrimination without listing any specific acts that are proscribed.” A Helping Hand, LLC v. Baltimore Cty., 515 F.3d 356, 363-64 (4th Cir. 2008); compare 42 U.S.C. § 12112(b) (Title I) and 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b) (Title III) with 42 U.S.C. § 12132 (Title II). The ADA “direct[s] the Attorney General to issue regulations setting forth the forms of discrimination prohibited” under Title II. Shotz v. City of Plantation, 344 F.3d 1161, 1179 n.26 (11th Cir. 2003) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted); see 42 U.S.C. § 1234. The Attorney General has issued regulations, which “must be given legislative and hence controlling weight unless they are arbitrary, capricious, or plainly contrary to the statute.” Shotz v. Cates, 256 F.3d 1077, 1079 n.2 (11th Cir. 2001) (brackets and internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting United States v. Morton, 467 U.S. 822, 834 (1984)). “[T]he department's regulations are the agency's interpretation of the statute, and they are therefore given controlling weight unless they conflict with other departmental regulations or the ADA itself.” Nat'l Fed'n of the Blind v. Lamone, 813 F.3d 494, 506 (4th Cir. 2016) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted); see also Gaylor v. Georgia Dep't of Nat. Res., No. 2:11-cv-288, 2013 WL 4790158, at *4 (N.D.Ga. Sept. 6, 2013) (“[I]nsofar as those regulations validly and reasonably construe and implement the statutory mandate, they are enforceable in a private cause of action along with the statutes themselves.”).

         V. MS. TODD'S CLAIM OF DIRECT DISCRIMINATION

         Ms. Todd claims Defendants discriminated against her by failing to transport her Children to school, because her disability prevents her from doing that herself. Ms. Todd acknowledges that she can walk the Children to and from school using the Children as her guide. (See 2016 Tr. at 13; 2017 Tr. at 24-25). Her issue is that she is unable to walk home after the Children are delivered to school, and unable to get to school to walk home with them. (See 2016 Tr. at 20). For these reasons, she claims Defendants are required to transport her Children as an accommodation for her disability. (See, e.g., Compl. ¶ 1). Ms. Todd brings her claim under Title II of the ADA.[30]

         A. Overview of Title II

         Title II of the ADA provides that “no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity.” 42 U.S.C. § 12132.

In order to state a Title II claim, a plaintiff generally must prove (1) that he is a qualified individual with a disability; (2) that he was either excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of a public entity's services, programs, or activities, or was otherwise discriminated against by the public entity; and (3) that the ...

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