Disability Scoop was the first to report this news about the current lawsuits that involves Walt Disney Company.
Walt Disney Company and its attorneys have been battling one request to have one of the top executives sit down for a deposition for in current lawsuits which are over access to theme park attractions for people with disabilities.
Tom Staggs is current chief operating officer of Walt Disney Co., was formerly a chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, when the Walt Disney Company adopted the new policy on disability access in 2013.
There has been dozens of families with children with Autism that have sued Walt Disney Company. The families are alleging that children with cognitive disabilities don’t have the patience which is required to wait for a certain ride — even if they are not waiting in line. Disney has declined to comment on the lawsuits. Disney has argued in court filings that it went to great lengths to provide service to its guests with disabilities.
An attorney for the families, Andy Dogali, has recently filed a request to depose Staggs in the litigation. Disney is seeking a judge’s order protecting Staggs from the request. The cases are filed in Orlando federal court.
One of the Disney’s attorneys for Disney, Jeremy White of Kaye Sholer has explained the company’s position in an email to Dogali, which stated that Staggs has “no unique personal knowledge of the relevant facts at issue in this case, his deposition is improper and unwarranted. Any information you plan to seek from Mr. Staggs can be obtained through less intrusive methods of discovery such as serving interrogatories or deposing lower-level employees.”
The Walt Disney Company’s attorney has stated in a court filing that “every second of Mr. Staggs’ time is valuable and sitting for a deposition is a distraction that courts seek to prevent.”
Mr. Staggs has already filed a declaration for the court, which he has states that “from time to time Mr. Staggs received information about DAS (Disability Access Service) from the group responsible for its design, implementation and administration, and made suggestions about points specifically drawn to his attention.”
Disney attorneys have stated they are happy to make employees with more aware of the programs. In such efforts this would shield a top executive from a lengthy deposition are not unusual for large corporations.
Disney attorneys also have stated that Disney has denied any discrimination or violations and it prides itself on accessibility throughout its facilities amongst other things. It has also made these points in court:
• The company established a new department, Services for Guests with Disabilities, and provides a “full array of services ranging from guidebooks that assist guests with disabilities to policies and procedures that enhance their experience at the various theme parks and resorts.”
• Plaintiffs in the case, or the people with disabilities, preferred the previous program because it allowed them to enter rides directly and immediately without waiting.
• The complaints allegedly fail to prove that the Disability Access Service program hasn’t accommodated their disability.
Disney also stated that the previous program ended ended, due to people taking advantage of the Guest Assistance Card, where wealthy families have hired guests with disabilities to take them to the front of the line. The new program is called Disability Access Service which no longer allows people with disabilities to skip to the waiting but it allows the guess to make a reservation in advance and avoid standing in line until that time. The lawsuits cite that “meltdown behaviors” have sometimes forced children and their parents to leave the theme parks.
The parents have to do what is best for their kids especially when they are unable to wait in long lines with long wait times. The parents are doing what is best for their kids. I hope Disney actually steps up and try to make it easier on families who have kids with disabilities and are unable to wait in line for rides and hinders the families and their kids from enjoying vacations. As an advocate for people with disabilities I think it is best for Disney to work out these lawsuits since people pay a lot of money to go to Disney and enjoy themselves with their families. Tune in tonight for more details and here what we have to say about it at http://tobtr.com/s/7874261.