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On December 4th, 60 Minutes aired a 13 minute story on “drive by lawsuits” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The segment questioned lawsuits filed by three lawyers, two of them being sued by their disabled clients for malpractice.

Anderson Cooper, the show’s host, did not mention a single ADA lawsuit he thought was valid, a single ADA lawyer he believed scrupulous. He did not interview a single disabled person whose ADA claim he found to be meritorious. No disabled activists were interviewed — though a few, as described here, had their (partial) images used in the background footage.

Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian, disability rights lawyers, who have used “Structured Negotiations,” a winning alternative to ADA lawsuits, spent hours with 60 Minutes (Anderson and Cooper and his crew).  Two hours before the 60 episode ran, one of the producers called Feingold and told her that, “I just wanted you to know you won’t be in the piece,” he told me. “We decided to go with a piece just about the drive-by lawsuits.”

The 60 Minutes episode didn’t just leave out the nation’s disability rights lawyers. One of the most hurtful aspects of the 60 Minutes video was its portrayal of disabled people and ADA issues generally. The disabled people Anderson Cooper chose to feature in his story were presented as dupes of unscrupulous lawyers. People who only became involved in ADA enforcement when lawyers contacted them.

Why would 60 Minutes decide to run a negative story about the Americans with Disabilities Act now, eighteen months after filming? Why craft a story that left out hours of film and interviews about effective ADA advocacy?

To read the entire article:

Linda Dardarien, Anderson Cooper, and Lainey Feingold are standing next to each other.
Linda Dardarian, Anderson Cooper, Lainey Feingold








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