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July 15, 2002 05:50pm
Man Sues Strip Club Over Wheelchair Access
Source: Reuters

(WEST PALM BEACH, FL) -- A quadriplegic is suing a Florida strip club because he could not get his wheelchair into its lap-dancing room, his lawyer has said.

Edward Law of Orlando sued the Wildside Adult Sports Cabaret in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach last month, claiming the club violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by excluding him from restrooms, the bar area and the private rooms where dancers offer more-intimate entertainment.

An official with the nightclub said he could not immediately comment on the lawsuit.

Law, who filed a separate suit against another Palm Beach club on similar claims, alleged the Wildside's lap-dancing room, separate from the main showroom at the club, was accessible only by a short flight of stairs.

The lawsuit also said the club had no parking for the disabled, its restrooms were inaccessible and its stage was too high, blocking Law's view of the dancers from his wheelchair.

"The big thing is that there are private rooms upstairs and he can't get into them," said Law's lawyer, Anthony Brady of Camden, New Jersey.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was designed to ensure that disabled people have access to businesses, transportation and other public facilities.

U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, a Florida Republican who has introduced legislation to limit Ada-related lawsuits by giving businesses 90 days to comply with the disabilities act, issued a statement on Monday that sharply criticized Brady.

He said the lawsuit was "A bigger flop than (the movies) 'Striptease' and 'Showgirls.'"

"The disabled community should be outraged over the hijacking of a law meant to protect their interests, not lawyers' assets," Foley said.

"I'm shocked that a Republican congressman would support the sex industry," Brady said in response.

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