30 Years of DRA


The ADA Is Passed

President George H.W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act, paving the way for disability rights justice through legal advocacy.


Disability Rights Advocates Is Founded

DRA is founded in Oakland, CA by visionary attorneys Larry Paradis and Sid Wolinsky to safeguard the rights of persons with disabilities.

Portrait of DRA founders Sid Wolinsky and Larry Paradis


Guckenberger v. Boston University

DRA’s seminal lawsuit improves accommodations for students with learning disabilities at Boston University and establishes a legal precedent for universities nationwide.


Cupolo v. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)

DRA reaches a groundbreaking settlement with Bay Area Rapid Transit resulting in systemwide subway accessibility improvements.

DRA client in a wheelchair waiting to board a BART train


Chabner v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Company

DRA achieves a first-of-its-kind ruling that prevents an insurance company from charging higher life insurance premiums to a person on the basis of disability.


Bates v. United Parcel Service (UPS)

DRA secures a legal victory for deaf UPS employees that is frequently cited, ensuring protections against discriminatory job eligibility criteria that unlawfully exclude persons with disabilities.


Breimhorst v. Educational Testing Services

DRA reaches first-ever settlement to end the practice of “flagging” on standardized tests, which had resulted in students’ test results including a notation that they were provided disability-based accommodations on the test.


Lieber v. Macy’s West

DRA sets a legal precedent requiring retailers like Macy’s to provide accessible paths of travel to merchandise.

Aisle of a department store with racks of clothing


Barden v. City of Sacramento

Victory in DRA’s inaugural sidewalk access case expands the coverage of ADA to encompass pedestrian routes in Sacramento and beyond.


Deaf Counseling, Advocacy & Referral Agency v. San Francisco Airport Commission

DRA requires San Francisco International Airport to make its facilities and services usable to deaf and hard-of-hearing travelers.


Tucker v. State of California
Department of Parks and

DRA and California State Parks, one of the largest park systems in the country, reach a settlement that will make 250 state parks accessible for wheelchair users and people with vision and mobility disabilities.

DRA client in a wheelchair at a California state park pointing upwards


Gustafson v. University of California, Berkeley

DRA reaches a groundbreaking settlement with UC Berkeley resulting in comprehensive access improvements and the removal of thousands of barriers for students with mobility and vision disabilities.


Thompson v. Sutter Health

DRA’s groundbreaking settlement with Sutter Health brings positive changes to health care throughout California for people with mobility, hearing, and vision disabilities, ensuring, among other things, that medical equipment is specialized to meet the needs of people with disabilities.


Rebecca Williford Joins DRA
as a Fellow

Rebecca Williford, a wheelchair-user, begins working at DRA as an LD Access/Ryder Foundation fellowship attorney, eventually becoming DRA’s President & CEO in 2023.

Portrait of DRA President & CEO Rebecca Williford


National Federation of the Blind v. Target Corporation

Securing the first national precedent applying the protections of the ADA to a retailer’s website, DRA settles with Target.com, making Target’s websites accessible for blind patrons to shop online.


DRA Opens Its Second Office in New York

DRA opens its second office in New York City, greatly expanding the scope of DRA’s impact.

New York City skyline from above


Californians for Disability Rights v. California Department of Transportation

DRA achieves a settlement with the California Department of Transportation, which agrees to improve sidewalk safety for hundreds of thousands of Californians with vision and mobility disabilities.

DRA client in a wheelchair stuck at an intersection without a curb ramp in California


Wolinsky Fellowship Is Established

The Wolinsky Fellowship, in honor of DRA’s co-founder Sid Wolinsky, is established to ensure a future generation of public interest lawyers.


Enyart v. National Conference of Bar Examiners

DRA’s legal victory establishes that testing entities such as NCBE are required to provide accommodations that best ensure exams measure a test-taker’s ability rather than the impacts of a test-taker’s disability, opening previously closed doors to all kinds of professions to people with many types of disabilities.


California Council of the Blind v. County of Alameda

DRA compels Alameda County, CA to ensure that voters who are blind or have vision disabilities can vote privately and independently, the first such ruling in the country and the launching point for DRA’s future voting rights casework.


Communities Actively Living Independent & Free v. City of Los Angeles

DRA reaches a settlement with Los Angeles County to revise its large-scale disaster plans to account for the needs of the nearly 1.3 million people with disabilities who reside there, securing the first legal precedent that applied the ADA to the needs of people with disabilities in emergency planning.


United Spinal Association v. Board of Elections in the City of New York

DRA secures a federal court order to eliminate barriers at polling sites in New York City, which gives New Yorkers with mobility and vision disabilities the opportunity to vote in the 2016 presidential elections and beyond by
requiring access improvements to 1,300 poll sites.

Row of voting machines


Gray v. Golden Gate National Recreational Area

DRA reaches a settlement with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, resulting in widespread improvements that will benefit visitors with disabilities, and setting a precedent for national parks across the country.

DRA founder Larry Paradis in his wheelchair at a GGNRA park in California, unable to reach the
ocean because the paved path ends


Taxis for All Campaign v. New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission

DRA negotiates a settlement that will create 2,000 new accessible taxi cabs in New York City, making its iconic fleet the most accessible in the country and one of the most accessible in the world.

Rally of DRA clients in wheelchairs holding signs saying “TAXI!”


Brooklyn Center for the Independence of the Disabled v. Bloomberg

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which stranded and displaced thousands, thanks to a settlement agreement with DRA and partners, New York City agrees to create the most comprehensive disaster preparedness plan in the country protecting the city’s 900,000+ disabled residents. This plan serves as a model for lifesaving emergency plans in municipalities across the country.


Phillips v. City of New York

The NYPD, the largest police force in the country, ends its blanket ban on employing officers who use hearing aids following a settlement with DRA.

DRA clients shaking hands


G.F. v. Contra Costa County

Contra Costa County Probation Department in California agrees to end the use of solitary confinement for all youth detained in their juvenile hall and ensures that youth with disabilities in custody have access to needed educational programs.


National Federation of the Blind v. Scribd

DRA achieves a legal victory in a case against online reading platform Scribd, which did not provide content accessible to blind or low-vision users, further solidifying support for the idea that the protections of the ADA can and should apply to the services offered by online businesses.


DRA Establishes Larry Paradis Legacy Fund

DRA co-founder and disability rights hero Larry Paradis passes away; the Larry Paradis Legacy Fund is established to fuel DRA’s novel and often first-of-its-kind litigation that the private bar may deem too risky to take on, but that has the potential to move the ball forward for the rights of persons with disabilities.


DRA Opens Chicago Office

DRA opens its third office in Chicago, allowing the organization to further expand its impact beyond the CA and NY coastal cities.


Legal Services for Prisoners with Children v. Ahern

DRA reaches a groundbreaking settlement resulting in an agreement to modify Santa Rita Jail facilities, improving living conditions and access to programming for people with disabilities incarcerated at one of the largest jails in California.



Netflix pledges to provide audio description and other accessibility improvements for blind viewers, beginning Netflix’s ongoing commitment to accessibility.


National Federation of the Blind of California v. Uber Technologies

In a groundbreaking settlement, ride-sharing giant Uber agrees to prevent discrimination against guide dog users who use its service.


Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services v. Northwest Hospital & Medical Center

A major Seattle hospital agrees to provide accommodations to Deaf and DeafBlind patients, ensuring that they have access to the technology and accommodations they need to effectively communicate with health care providers.


Sid Wolinsky Retires

DRA co-founder and visionary, Sid Wolinsky, retires from DRA, passing the torch to the next generation of DRA leaders.


Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York v. City of New York

DRA reshapes the cityscape of New York City by securing a settlement to dramatically improve sidewalk accessibility and install curb ramps throughout the city.

DRA client in a wheelchair stuck at an intersection without a curb ramp in New York City


Mental Health & Wellness Coalition v. Stanford University

DRA reaches a landmark settlement with Stanford University that will result in significant changes to Stanford’s leave of absence policies, ensuring students experiencing mental health crises have access to appropriate accommodations and services and are not unnecessarily excluded from campus and housing.


Fraihat v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Over 60,000 people are released from detention by U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) thanks to a preliminary injunction secured by DRA that compelled custody redeterminations for those whose age or health conditions place them at increased risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Barbed wire fence


T.G. v. Kern County

DRA stops the discrimination against youth with disabilities incarcerated in Kern County, California by compelling Kern County Juvenile Facilities to ensure that youth with disabilities are provided accommodations and given equal access to educational and rehabilitative programs and services.


Taliaferro v. North Carolina State Board of Elections

As much of the country moves to vote-by-mail in the wake of the pandemic, DRA’s groundbreaking settlement with the North Carolina Board of Elections ensures that blind voters who cannot use paper mail-in ballots will be able to vote securely, privately, and independently through electronic, absentee voting systems in all future elections.


Navarro v. City of Mountain View

DRA secures a settlement with the city of Mountain View, California that strikes down a law banning RV parking and stops the displacement of hundreds of people living in RVs, many with disabilities.

Row of RVs in a parking lot


Adam X. v. New Jersey Department of Corrections

The New Jersey Department of Corrections agrees to drastically improve the provision of special education services for young adults with disabilities in its prisons following a landmark settlement with DRA.


American Council of the Blind of New York v. City of New York

DRA’s litigation results in an unprecedented ruling that orders New York City to install accessible pedestrian signals (APS) for blind and low-vision people at 10,000 street crossings over the next 10 years, equip all signalized intersections with APS in the next 15 years, and prioritize intersections where APS are most needed.


Rebecca Williford Becomes President & CEO

Rebecca Williford becomes President & CEO after 14 years of successful legal advocacy at DRA on behalf of people with disabilities.

Portrait of DRA President & CEO Rebecca Williford


M.F. v. New York City Department of Education

DRA and the New York City Department of Education reach a precedent-setting settlement that ensures children with diabetes receive the care they need to fully participate in school and school-related activities.


Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York v. Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) / De La Rosa v. MTA

DRA secures a historic settlement with New York City’s MTA that will make the subway accessible for more than half a million people with disabilities who cannot use stairs to access the system, committing the MTA to make at least 95% of the subway’s 364 currently-inaccessible stations accessible by 2055.

Rally of DRA clients holding signs saying “Elevator Fail,” “Stranded by Cuomo,” and “Elevators
Are for Everyone”