Furman issued the opinion and order certifying the proposed class in BCID v.
As the BCID case unfolded, courts around the country had just begun to consider the impact of Wal-Mart on litigation on behalf of PWDs, but no clear consensus had emerged.
In BCID, because the City's emergency response services depended on coordinating the efforts of numerous agencies and programs and--per the defendants' theory of the harm--the City's alleged failures toward members of the plaintiff class manifested themselves in many different ways, Judge Furman could have interpreted the case as presenting a series of failures rather than a single common policy, reading the Wal-Mart decision as precluding certification of the plaintiff class.
298) But the BCID ruling went much further, specifying the precise ways in which the City had failed to provide meaningful access to PWDs.
Instead, the plans would have to stand or fall on their own terms--terms that the plaintiffs, Disability Rights Advocates, and the BCID ruling helped to forever redefine.
CONCLUSION: RAISING UP THE RIGHT TO BE RESCUED: THE SIGNIFICANCE AND PROMISE OF BCID
BCID is the second ruling to find a right to be rescued under the ADA and the RA: the right of PWDs to equally access any emergency services provided to non-disabled individuals.
Although the intervention of Hurricane Sandy at a critical juncture makes the story behind this case unusually dramatic, the legal arguments put forward in BCID are easily replicable.
The story of the BCID case illustrates several important principles that must guide emergency planning for PWDs.
As the BCID ruling explained, "[p]ersonal preparedness is indisputably an important component of emergency planning," (390) but "[w]ithout any information on accessible evacuation centers or transportation, people with disabilities cannot make [an adequate emergency] plan.