Lawsuit Is Challenging Decision to Delay Rule That Would Protect Travelers Against Lost or Damaged Mobility Devices
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On behalf of Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Democracy Forward filed a new legal brief earlier this week in its ongoing lawsuit against the Administration’s abrupt and unlawful rollback of protections intended to make airline travel safer and more accessible for passengers with disabilities.
“Our members frequently experience problems in airline travel, and the decision of the Department of Transportation (DOT) to delay the requirement for airlines to provide information about damaged wheelchairs and scooters only adds to their complications” said Carl Blake, a service-disabled Army veteran and executive director of PVA. “DOT’s decision to roll back protections that would safeguard airline travelers against lost or damaged mobility devices places our members at a disadvantage when trying to determine which airline is best for those who travel using wheelchairs. PVA will continue to be relentless in our efforts to improve the air travel experiences of people with disabilities.”
In the suit, veterans are challenging the DOT’s abrupt decision to delay a rule that would have required domestic airlines to report data on lost and damaged mobility devices, such as wheelchairs. The Administration’s entire justification for delaying the protections was a single email from an airline industry lobbying group claiming the industry faced implementation “challenges.” The Administration failed to provide the public notice of the delay or an opportunity to comment, in violation of federal law.
“This delay is unlawful and unjust,” said Democracy Forward Executive Director Anne Harkavy. “It’s no surprise the government hasn’t even bothered to defend it on the merits: there’s no defense for placing airline industry profits above basic protections for travelers.”
The petition for review and petition for writ of mandamus of a transfer order were filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.