United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
DAFFANIE TODD, on behalf of herself; R.D., R.D., and D.T., by and through their next friend, Daffanie Todd, Plaintiffs,
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.
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  and request for permanent injunctive relief.
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. 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
FINDINGS OF FACT
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). 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
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  (“2017
Tr.”) at 133). Defendant Meria Joel Carstarphen
(“Superintendent Carstarphen”) is the
Superintendent of APS. (2017 Tr. at 158).
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). 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).
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).
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,
uses MARTA Mobility, a door-to-door transportation
service. (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). 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).
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).
APS Transportation Policy
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). 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,
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).
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). 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).
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).
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). 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).
Plaintiffs' Request for Transportation to and from
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).
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 ). 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).
home is four tenths (0.4) of a mile, or a ten (10) minute
walk, from Continental Colony. (2017 Tr. at
126). 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 ; 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. Classes at Continental Colony begin at
8:00 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. (2017 Tr. at 41-42).
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,  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). 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).
Todd's Children continued to attend Continental Colony
through August 8, 2016. (2017 Tr. at 27). 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.
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.
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). 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).
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).
Plaintiffs' Negotiations with APS
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,
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.
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]).
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]). 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]
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).
October 6, 2016, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint and Request
for Injunctive Relief  (“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 , seeking an order
requiring APS to “provide bus transportation to and
from school immediately . . . [and] through the pendency of
this action.” ( at 2). On October 13, 2016, the
Court held a hearing on Plaintiffs' request for a
temporary restraining order. ().
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.” ( 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).
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;
 at 16). Wallace drives his own child to and from
Continental Colony every day. ( 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).
January 5, 2017, the Court held a combined hearing on
Plaintiffs' request for preliminary and permanent
injunctive relief. (). Ms. Todd's Children apparently
did not attend school from January 4, 2017, through January
6, 2017. (2017 Tr. at 51). 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
Ms. Todd's Claim
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.” ( 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.” ( at 23, 28).
The Children's Claims
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. ( at 30;
see Compl. ¶¶ 74, 76, 91;  at 5).
Plaintiffs seek to enjoin the Defendants from failing to
transport the Children to and from Continental
Legal Standard for Injunctive Relief
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). 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.”);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.”).
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)).
Background of 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).
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. Title III prohibits disability
discrimination in public accommodations provided by private
entities. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189.
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.”).
MS. TODD'S CLAIM OF DIRECT DISCRIMINATION
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.
Overview of Title II
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 ...