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

(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."

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Showing 3 of 77 comments
Nov 15, 2012 1:25 AM CST
nothing new here some guy did the same thing and also got a lot of money. also nyc. go linda go! good luck god bless!
Nov 13, 2012 9:57 PM CST
I honestly have loads of sympathy for all people with all kinds of disabilities. I'd really like to see them be able to do everything I can, but it just ain't gonna happen. There isn't enough money in the world to give them "access" to everyplace. Can we really afford to have ramps at every store, street corner, or anywhere a diasabled person wants to go. Should some small business owner have to spend money he doesn't have to allow a limited amount of customers shop at his store? Can't he have the right to say "no thank you" to their business?
Nov 13, 2012 6:20 PM CST
The common decency of mankind should cause us to care about those who are truly handicapped. What the "business" rules are does not matter. Yet, while I do not support suing for money to get what is right for the truly handicapped, sadly the love of money by too many shows we are not willing to do what it right unless money is involved. Sometimes the dollar bill has to intervene. Yet, we cannot cater to those who are not truly handicapped but are simply fat and are now in wheelchairs. They don't fit in airplane seats and when charged for two seats cry "discrimination!" Come on, your only handicap is your stupidity! So, I again ask; is this "activist" really handicapped? If she is and is trying to fix a wrong by hitting the only place that will bring about a fix, well .... But, IF she isn't and is pretending to be, she also is equally wrong. Yet, sadly, to get a wrong fixed, sometimes you have to pretend in order to fix it for those truly not pretending if they cannot fix it themselves. The love of money. The root of all kinds of evil.