Wheelchair Activist Sues 39 Stores; Some Cry 'Extortion'

Linda Slone wants wheelchair access in her NYC nabe

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 12, 2012 2:47 PM CST

(Newser) – A handicapped New Yorker is suing 39 stores in her neighborhood for lacking wheelchair access—a legal crusade that some shop owners are likening to extortion, the New York Post reports. Linda Slone, 64, is demanding $500 in damages and up to $15,000 in experts' and lawyers' fees in each case, and has settled half of them so far. Yet she balks at accusations of greed: "If you think this is a money-making scheme, you’re dead wrong," says the speech pathologist.

"I, along with anybody else with a disability, has the right to go wherever they choose to go and not have to be dissuaded or inconvenienced or even apologetic." But one store owner in her Upper West Side neighborhood says "it's like getting hit up for money," and another says his floral shop already has a ramp: "If you would have asked me to use it, I have it." Slone, however, wants access available when she shows up: "I’m not going to sit outside calling for somebody. I’m not going to humiliate myself. No self-respecting person is."

A woman in her wheelchair. But does she have access to her neighborhood stores?   (Shutterstock)
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