Suit being filed over handicap accessibility at Cadillac Place - Fox 2 News Headlines

Lawsuit being filed against state over handicap accessibility at Cadillac Place

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Jill Babcock says Cadillac Place is not easily accessible for people living with disabilities.  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Jill Babcock says Cadillac Place is not easily accessible for people living with disabilities. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

"Being a state government building, it has to be accessible to all," said Jill Babcock.

That includes people like her and Gerald Lyons.  Both of them work at the state's Cadillac Place building and they say it is not easily accessible for people living with disabilities.

"The state's not following federal law," said Lyons.

For example, only two of the building's entrances are labeled handicap accessible and one is so steep Babcock can barely make it through the door.  Plus, Babcock has not been given handicap parking, something the state says it doesn't have to provide for any employees.

"I get dropped off by the bus because I cannot drive down because there's no handicap parking," Babcock said.

Lyons pays to park in a garage, but his options are limited.

"I'm small in stature, so I can't reach the buttons in the elevator in the parking structure.  So I only have one level that's really feasible for me to park at."

When he asked the state to make the buttons more accessible, "They told me I should carry a stick so I can use the stick to reach the buttons."

"I was extremely independent and now I have to be dependent," said Babcock.

That's taking a toll physically and emotionally.

"I'll spend the weekends sleeping as opposed to doing things because I'm so tired out from the work week," she said.

"You don't have accessible ramps, you don't have accessible entrances, you don't have accessible parking, you don't have accessible hallways, you don't have accessible doorways, you don't have accessible courtrooms, you don't have accessible restrooms in this building," said attorney Richard Bernstein.

That's exactly why Bernstein says he is taking this case free of charge.  He is filing a lawsuit in federal court demanding the state make Cadillac Place truly compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"The way that the ADA was designed, it was designed to make sure that people with disabilities and special needs can have an opportunity to live an independent, good quality of life," Bernstein said.

The governor's office won't comment on the lawsuit, but a spokesperson told us their goal is to make sure the building is compliant with federal law.  Babcock says right now the building is not.

"I'm tired of having to explain to people the problems, and I kind of wish that they would take it on themselves, common sense."

That federal lawsuit is expected to be filed within the next two weeks and it could take years before we get a decision.

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