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September 23, 2010
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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently published new regulations in the Federal Register on September 15, with the final rules taking effect March 15, 2011. Compliance with the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design is permitted as of September 15, 2010, but not required until March 15, 2012.   These new regulations relate to the implementation of Title II and Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act and apply to public entities as well as a number of types of facilities owned/operated by private entities relating to public accommodations in private facilities. DOJ is issuing these rules in order to adopt "enforceable" accessibility standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) that are consistent with the minimum guidelines and requirements issued by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.

Holding the BagA recent decision from the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit should be sending cold chills up and down developers' spines regarding complaints under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Fair Housing Act (FHA).  The case, Equal Rights Center and Archstone v. Niles Bolton Associates, basically ruled that a developer was not entitled to recover its claims against the architect for a failure of a multi-family project to meet ADA and FHA requirements.

Katrina flooding St. Bernard ParishAfter a 19 day bench trial, on Wednesday evening a federal judge ruled in favor of six plaintiffs seeking compensation against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act for damages flowing from Hurricane Katrina.  The court ruled that the United States was liable because the flooding leading to the homeowners' damages was caused by negligent maintenance of a significant navigation channel by the US Army Corps of Engineers.  The total verdict was for under $750,000 for the six plaintiffs; however, the result exposes the United States to liability claims for many other claimants who resided in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish.