ITHACA, NY – Lane Woods, a 68-year old Ithaca woman has filed a lawsuit against Tompkins County for discrimination based on disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

(Note: This article originally reported that Ms. Woods lived in Trumansburg. She has since informed us she recently moved to Ithaca.)

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Lane Woods, of Trumansburg alleges that, “by refusing to provide a Personal Care Aide to an otherwise eligible recipient, they have caused me physical and mental harm and put me at risk of institutional placement and committed discrimination under the meaning of the Act.”

Related: Failing home care aide system spells trouble for elderly, disabled in Tompkins

Woods cites Olmstead vs. LC as precedent for her case. In that case, the “Supreme Court ruled it discriminatory to fail to provide the community supports needed to maintain a disabled person in their least restrictive setting,” according to the complaint filed by Woods.

Reasons for the claim

Woods’ complaint presents a list of her disabilities, which include: being wheelchair bound, having two artificial shoulder joints, nine herniated spinal discs, degenerative disc disease, sleep apnea, and complex PTSD, among others.

Woods says that she has been without a personal care aide since Oct. 2, 2015.

Due to her disabilities, Woods claims she’s incurred a number of negative impacts including: a second degree burn while cooking, an increase in pain from maintaining her household, increased blood pressure to “near stroke level,” increased PTSD symptoms, clinical depression, thoughts of suicide and worsening of the edema in her legs.

Woods notes in her complaint that she had been in a similar situation in 2012 in which she was without an aide for eight weeks. This period led to similar difficulties and injuries. Woods says that the county was aware of this history.

Woods is asking for relief in the following forms:
1 – The county must immediately provide her an aide.
2 – The county should pay damages for pain in suffering in the amount of $500,000.

The claim originally named temp agency Stafkings, the temp agency which holds the county contract for personal care aides, as well. Woods had asked for $500,000 in damages from Stafkings, as well.

However, Woods said a federal magistrate told her to remove the company from the claim. Court documents indicate that because Stafkings is not a “public entity,” it could not be named as a defendant under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The County Attorney could not be reached for comment at the time of this writing.

Featured photo by Brian Turner of Flickr.

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at msmith@ithacavoice.com, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.