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Judge Dismisses Suit by Disabled Fliers

June 15, 2004|From Associated Press

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by disabled fliers seeking better access to 10 airlines, ruling that $3.2 billion in bailout money paid to the carriers after the 2001 terrorist attacks did not subject them to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Disabled passengers are not protected by the 2001 disabilities law, but the passengers maintained that airlines' acceptance of federal money after the attacks expanded the scope of earlier laws to the carriers.

U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro-Benages disagreed June 8, ruling the money accepted by the airlines was intended to compensate carriers for losses sustained when jets were grounded by federal order.

The judge drew a distinction between compensation under the 2001 law and the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, which prohibited discrimination by those receiving financial assistance from federal programs.

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