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Alexandria councilman asks federal judge for ‘order’ requiring city, council to comply with ADA

Lawsuit: Harry Silver has missed council meetings since February
Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 5:08 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - City of Alexandria District 4 councilman, Harry Silver, is asking a federal judge to make a decision as soon as possible that could help him get back to his seat on the council, virtually, and get back to work.

Silver, who is 98, filed a federal lawsuit a few weeks ago against the City of Alexandria and council president, Jules Green, for allegedly “failing to engage in a good faith interactive dialogue about their (Silver) request for reasonable accommodation,” “for failing to provide a reasonable accommodation,” and “aiding and perpetuating prohibited disability discrimination.”

Silver has missed meetings since February due to a medical ailment and the COVID-19 pandemic, of which he is at high risk of contracting due to his age.

Silver’s attorney, Andrew Bizer of Bizer & DeReus, LLC of New Orleans, just filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, asking a judge to rule now to make the defendants comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Specifically, Silver has been asking for the ability to attend meetings remotely by phone or video conference. His attorney even cites a June 9 meeting where council members Green, Malcolm Larvadain, Gerber Porter, and Joe Fuller voted against allowing Silver “to attend the meetings virtually.”

Bizer is specifically asking the judge to have the city council to do the following:

  • “Providing the appropriate accommodations and to reasonably accommodate Mr. Silver and others with disabilities to attend Alexandria City Council Meetings remotely.”
  • “Confirming to undersigned counsel that the above memorandum has been shared with all Alexandria City Council members as well as future members.”
  • “Engaging in an interactive dialogue with Mr. Silver, through his counsel of record, to ensure that the treatment of individuals with disabilities is consistent with the requirements of the ADA.”

There’s no word yet on when a judge could make a decision. The Western District kicked back the motion to Bizer asking for a table of contents since attachments with the motion exceeded 10 pages. It’s expected to be refiled in the coming days without further issue. Attorneys for the City and Councilman Green have still not formally responded to the lawsuit.

Copyright 2020 KALB. All rights reserved.

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