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New ADA Title III Rules Take Effect March 15

    Client Alerts
  • March 11, 2011

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act governs access to facilities and services by disabled persons. On March 15, new Department of Justice regulations implementing Title III take effect. These rules affect public accommodations and other businesses that serve the public, as well as new construction and alteration of commercial buildings.

Some of the important changes to the access rules include:

  • Restrictions on the definition of service animals allowed access to public facilities.  DOJ will limit this to trained dogs (and in some cases miniature horses). The rules exclude untrained "companion" animals that accompany persons with anxiety or other disorders (caution: state laws, including North Carolina, may define service animals more broadly).
  • New limits on the requirement that property owners create accessible paths of access when renovating portions of their facilities.
  • New requirements for the sale of event tickets and requirements for disabled accessible seating.
  • Limits on the ability of disabled persons to insist on the use of ATVs or other motorized vehicles in areas where a threat of harm to others is present.

The new rules do not directly apply to ADA Title I obligations to reasonably accommodate employees and applicants for employment. The new rules can be found at