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Federal Court Rules on Golf Accessibility

The U.S. Federal District Court, northern district of California, has issued a ruling that could require Marriott International Inc. to provide accessible golf cars for disabled golfers.

Marriott's Golf division, which operates 26 golf courses in the U.S., said it was not required by current Americans with Disabilities Act rules to maintain single-rider golf cars.

Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton in a summary judgment wrote:

"The Court declares that Marriott violated the ADA, and for those courses which Marriott owns and operates in California, the California Disabled Persons Act, and the Unruh Act as well, by failing to provide accessible golf carts as a reasonable accommodation for plaintiffs' mobility impairments."

The plaintiffs in the case are Laurence Celano and Richard Thesing, both residents of California, and Bill Hefferon, of Florida. All three plaintiffs say they require a single-rider car to play golf. Their suit alleges that Marriott’s policies prevented them from playing the company's golf courses.

The court declined to offer injunctive relief at this time, but under separate order, will set a settlement conference to permit the parties to address the scope of such relief.

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