Following a federal court’s recognition that the Administration failed to defend the merits of its unlawful rollback of protections for air travelers with disabilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Democracy Forward proceeded with their case today in a federal appeals court and issued the following statements:
Carl Blake, Interim Executive Director, Paralyzed Veterans of America
“From day one of this case, the Department of Transportation tried to shut us out of court on a technicality and has made no attempt to defend the rollback of critical safety protections for paralyzed veterans and other Americans with disabilities. We will continue our fight in court and on Capitol Hill to restore these protections, because veterans with catastrophic disabilities have earned the ability to travel without fear of losing their mobility devices – and with them, their independence.”
Anne Harkavy, Democracy Forward Executive Director
“The new year could have marked the beginning of new protections for airline travelers with disabilities, but the Trump administration continues putting paralyzed veterans at risk in order to do favors for the airline industry. It’s shameful.”
Background: In July 2017, Democracy Forward, on behalf of Paralyzed Veterans of America, filed a lawsuit against the Department of Transportation for unlawfully rolling back a rule requiring airlines to track and report data on lost and damaged wheelchairs and scooters. The protections were set to be implemented on January 1, 2018, until the Administration delayed the rule at the behest of the airline industry, with no notice or opportunity for the public to comment.
In December, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia transferred the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, noting the government’s agreement that Paralyzed Veterans of America should win on the merits but finding that the case must be heard in the circuit court. PVA is seeking to have its case heard on the merits by appealing the lower court’s decision to transfer the case and, in the alternative, proceeding in the circuit court.