Thursday, April 4, 2019

Federal Lawsuit Filed Against LEGOLAND Florida Resort For Denying Access to Local Nine-Year Old Amputee

Tampa, FL – Today, the Social Justice Law Collective (SJLC) announced the filing of a federal lawsuit against the LEGOLAND Florida Resort in Polk County, Florida (LEGOLAND), for repeated violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Florida Civil Rights Act.  The lawsuit challenges LEGOLAND’s policy of denying access to significant portions of its resort to children and other guests who use prosthetic devices, even when such restrictions are not required by reasonable safety concerns.  The lawsuit alleges that these discriminatory restrictions ignore the extraordinary capabilities of such individuals and result in the denial of access to more than half of LEGOLAND’s attractions for thousands of children and families from around the world.
Polk County residents Josias and Sarahy Suarez have brought this lawsuit on behalf of themselves as well as their nine-year old son, Isaias, who was forced to undergo through-knee amputations on both of his legs when he was only one-year old.  A true inspiration, Isaias refuses to let his disability define him, using various-length prosthetics to play baseball, soccer and flag football with his friends and to enjoy camping and hiking with his family.
These abilities are ignored, however, whenever the Suarez Family visits LEGOLAND Florida Resort.  Despite careful planning and communication with LEGOLAND, the Suarez Family has been repeatedly denied access to attraction after attraction at the resort, solely because of Isaias’s prosthetics, with LEGOLAND staff continually singling out and confronting Isaias and his family because of his disability, providing no explanation other than that LEGOLAND policy requires it.
LEGOLAND’s discriminatory treatment of Isaias seems particularly apparent when compared to his treatment at similar amusement parks, including SeaWorld and Walt Disney World Resort in nearby Orlando, Florida, at which Isaias was never asked about his prosthetics and was able to participate in every attraction for which he met the height and ability-based requirements.  Meanwhile, LEGOLAND has repeatedly turned Isaias away from attractions that are designed for infants and toddlers.  “I can’t ride the rides that my family, even my little brother, are riding, even though I’m able to ride them,” said Isaias when describing his treatment by LEGOLAND, “I used to love going to LEGOLAND, now it makes me sad just to think about it.”
“Individuals who use prosthetic devices climb mountains, compete in competitive sports, and otherwise excel at a broad array of physical activities,” said SJLC attorney Shawn Heller, “in 2019, there is simply no excuse for a large amusement park – one designed for children, no less – to enforce such discriminatory and exclusionary policies.”
For further information, please contact Social Justice Law Collective attorneys Shawn Heller or Josh Glickman at or (202) 709-5744.

Visit SJLC's website here »
See the Press Release here » 
Read the Complaint here » 

Media Photos: (coming soon)

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Florida Department of Corrections for Unlawfully Confiscating Millions of Dollars of Digital Music and Books

MIAMI/TALLAHASEE – Today, the Florida Justice Institute (FJI) and the Social Justice Law Collective (SJLC) announced the filing of a federal class action lawsuit against the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) for confiscating the lawfully purchased digital music and books of thousands of Florida prisoners.  After years of selling digital music and books to Florida prisoners – and realizing millions of dollars in profits from those sales – the FDOC has now implemented a statewide policy forcing Florida prisoners to surrender their digital media players and all of their lawfully purchased music and books, without just compensation.  The Complaint alleges violations of the Takings and Due Process Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. 

“In effect, the Florida Department of Corrections has stolen millions of dollars of digital music and books from the incarcerated people in its custody,” said FJI Executive Director Dante Trevisani. “This was done merely to obtain a more profitable contract, at the direct expense of incarcerated people and their families.”

William Demler, the named plaintiff in the lawsuit, has brought this lawsuit on behalf of himself and other victims of the FDOC’s unconstitutional policy.  He had purchased over 300 digital songs and books from the FDOC and its prior vendor since 2012.  Now, the FDOC has taken his digital media player and all of his digital songs and books from him.  The FDOC’s explanation is even more callous – in response to the hundreds of formal grievances filed by Mr. Demler and other affected prisoners, the FDOC developed a form response, admitting that the unlawful confiscation of their property was necessary in order for the FDOC and its new vendor to realize additional profits.

According to the lawsuit, the FDOC induced Mr. Demler and other prisoners to purchase the now-confiscated digital music and books by explicitly promising them that they would own any purchased media files forever.  The promises had their intended effect, as from 2011 to 2017, FDOC prisoners purchased nearly 6.7 million digital media files, at a cost of roughly $11.3 million to those prisoners and their families.  However, this promise quickly became meaningless when the FDOC had the opportunity to enter into a more profitable contract with a new vendor. 

“These men and women relied on the representations made by the FDOC and its vendor that, once purchased, they would own these songs and books for the duration of their incarceration,” said SJLC attorney Josh Glickman. “The FDOC’s confiscation of these individuals’ lawfully purchased property – for no reason other than to turn a profit – is unconscionable.”

For further information please contact SJLC attorneys Josh Glickman or Shawn Heller at  

Visit SJLC's website here »
See the Press Release here »
Read the Complaint here »