[Ohio-talk] FW: NPR article recently released on Uber complaint from a guide dog user
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Thu Oct 27 03:31:11 UTC 2016
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From: NFBNet-Members-List [mailto:nfbnet-members-list-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of David Andrews via NFBNet-Members-List
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2016 11:12 PM
To: nfbnet-members-list at nfbnet.org
Subject: [Nfbnet-members-list] Fwd: NPR Article Recently Released
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â In light of our ongoing issues with Uber and our Federal court case, I think this is something we need to share with our NFBNET subscribers. Would you please forward this on to our subscribersâ€™ list for us? Thanks a bunch!
What A Murfreesboro Court Case Tells Us About Uber And Service Animals
By TONY GONZALEZ
Monday, September 26, 2016
Nashville-area Uber drivers are learning more about their responsibilities to passengers who travel with service dogs.
Thatâ€™s because of a rare court case in Rutherford County — and new nationwide guidance from the ride-hailing service itself. Both are nearing completion
and raising awareness.
The case in Murfreesboro surfaced in April.
James Boehm, a Middle Tennessee State University graduate, said he had started choosing Uber for some trips across town with his guide dog, Shep, a German
While waiting for a pickup outside the veterinarianâ€™s office one afternoon, he said he sensed something was wrong. Because he is blind, Boehm uses smartphone
technology that vocalizes what is happening on his phone screen.
He knew his driver had arrived.
â€œI hear someone yell, they said, â€˜Youâ€™re going to have to get another driver … I donâ€™t want that dog in my car,â€™ â€ Boehm told WPLN.
He began to ask why, and noted that the Americans with Disabilities Act protects service animal users.
â€œAnd she literally squealed her tires and took off. And Iâ€™m just standing there like, â€˜Wow, did that just happen?â€™ â€ he said.
A First In Rutherford
As a local leader closely involved with the National Federation of the Blind, Boehm knows the law intimately. He has taught advocacy classes for service
animal users and courses for business owners about how to accommodate Tennesseans with disabilities.
While a bystander came to Boehmâ€™s aid on the day he lost his Uber ride, he followed up with a complaint against the driver — through the app and to local police.
That led to a misdemeanor charge for denial of service against driver Rolonda Douglas.
The case is a first for the county, said District Attorney Jennings Jones.
â€œQuite frankly, Iâ€™ve never had this type of case come up before,â€ he said. â€œWe had to check the law to make sure we had a good understanding of what it said.â€
The Class C misdemeanor could lead to 30 days in jail. Authorities wouldnâ€™t comment on the possible outcome of the case, but Boehm said discussions in court last week point to a possible $50 fine and community service.
Boehm said that conclusion would show accountability. As importantly, he said he wants the case to raise awareness for other drivers, and for the authorities.
â€œPeople in the community now know that this is happening and theyâ€™re educated as to what the law is,â€ he said. â€œA lot of this was new to them. They are
now fully versed.â€
Boehmâ€™s case came to light just as Uber was settling a class-action lawsuit in California over guide dog discrimination. The National Federation for the
Blind (NFB) brought the case, saying that ride-hailing could greatly benefit people with disabilities, but only so long as they are fairly served.
has agreed to train its drivers, remove violators and collect data.
And the NFB will periodically test Uber's compliance by sending service animal users into the field.
â€œWe hear about stuff all the time, unfortunately, and itâ€™s occurring everywhere,â€ Boehm said. â€œYou can do a Google search … youâ€™ll just get tons of incidents
Boehm, 35, recently moved to Nashville, where heâ€™s pursuing a clinical counseling masterâ€™s degree from Vanderbilt University.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
James Alan Boehm
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