Amendments to the judicial rules dealing with requests for accommodations by the disabled October 1, 2009 Notices Amendments to the judicial rules dealing with requests for accommodations by the disabled The Florida Bar’s Rules of Judicial Administration Committee (committee) has submitted to the Florida Supreme Court an out-of-cycle report proposing amendments to Rule of Judicial Administration 2.540, Notices to Persons With Disabilities. The Court invites all interested persons to comment on the proposed amendments, which are reproduced in full below, as well as online at http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/proposed.shtml. An original and nine paper copies of all comments must be filed with the Court on or before November 2, 2009, with a certificate of service verifying that a copy has been served on the committee chair, The Honorable Lisa Davidson, 2825 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera, Florida 32940-8006, as well as a separate request for oral argument if the person filing the comment wishes to participate in oral argument, which may be scheduled in this case. The certificate of service shall also verify that a copy has been served on the proponent of the amendment, the Equal Opportunities Law Section of The Florida Bar, c/o Matthew Dietz, 2990 Southwest 35th Ave., Miami, Florida 33133. The committee chair has until November 23, 2009, to file a response to any comments filed with the Court. Electronic copies of all comments also must be filed in accordance with the Court’s administrative order In re Mandatory Submission of Electronic Copies of Documents, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC04-84 (Sept. 13, 2004). IN THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA IN RE: AMENDMENTS TO FLORIDA RULE OF JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION 2.540, CASE NO. SC09-1487 RULE 2.540. NOTICES TOREQUESTS FOR ACCOMMODATIONS BY PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (a) Duties of Court. Qualified individuals with a disability will be provided, at the court’s expense, with accommodations, reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices, or the provision of auxiliary aids and services, in order to participate in programs or activities provided by the courts of this state. The court may deny a request only in accordance with subdivision (e). (b) Definitions. The definitions encompassed in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12201, et seq., are incorporated into this rule. (c) Notice Requirement. (1) All notices of court proceedings to be held in a public facility, and all process compelling appearance at such proceedings, shall include the following: “If you are a person with a disability who needs any accommodation in order to participate in this proceeding, you are entitled, at no cost to you, to the provision of certain assistance. Please contact [identify applicable court personnel by name, address, and telephone number] within 27 days of your receipt of this [describe notice]; if you are hearing or voice impaired, call 711.” (2) Each trial and appellate court shall post on its respective website and in each court facility the procedures for obtaining an accommodation as well as the grievance procedure adopted by that court. (d) Process for Requesting Accommodations. The process for requesting accommodations is as follows: (1) Requests for accommodations under this rule may be presented on a form approved or substantially similar to one approved by the Office of the State Courts Administrator, in another written format, or orally. Requests must be forwarded to the ADA coordinator, or designee, within the time frame provided in subdivision (c). (2) Requests for accommodations must include a description of the accommodation sought, along with a statement of the impairment that necessitates the accommodation and the duration that the accommodation is to be provided. The court, in its discretion, may require the individual with a disability to provide additional information about the impairment. Requests for accommodation shall not include any information regarding the merits of the case. (3) Requests for accommodations must be made as far in advance as possible, and in any event must be made no fewer than 7 days before the requested implementation date. The court may, in its discretion, waive this requirement. (e) Response to Accommodation Request. The court must respond to a request for accommodation as follows: (1) The court must consider, but is not limited by, the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 in determining whether to provide an accommodation or an appropriate alternative accommodation. (2) The court must inform the individual with a disability in writing, as may be appropriate, and if applicable, in an alternative format, of the following: (A) That the request for accommodation is granted or denied, in whole or in part, and if the request for accommodation is denied, the reason therefor; or that an alternative accommodation is granted; (B) The nature of the accommodation to be provided, if any; and (C) The duration of the accommodation to be provided. (3) If the court determines that a person is a qualified person with a disability and an accommodation is needed, a request for accommodation may be denied only when the court determines that the requested accommodation would create an undue financial or administrative burden on the court or would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity. (f) Grievance Procedure. (1) Each judicial circuit and appellate court shall establish and publish grievance procedures that allow for the resolution of complaints. Those procedures may be used by anyone who wishes to file a complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in the provision of services, activities, programs, or benefits by the Florida State Courts System. (2) If such grievance involves a matter that may affect the orderly administration of justice, it is within the discretion of the presiding judge to stay the proceeding and seek expedited resolution of the grievance.