The Latest: Museum ‘strongly disagrees with judge’s ruling


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Latest on a court ruling that the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia violated the rights of severely disabled guests by forcing them to pay two entrance fees (all times local).

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5:15 p.m.

A Philadelphia science museum says it “strongly” disagrees with a federal judge’s ruling that it violated the rights of severely disabled guests by requiring them to pay two entrance fees — one for them and another for their caretakers.

The Franklin Institute said in a statement Monday that officials will “explore all our options” following the ruling by Judge Gerald McHugh of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

McHugh ruled Friday that the museum failed to grant disabled visitors “full and equal access.” He said personal care assistants were only there to help the disabled visitors participate in the museum’s exhibits.

The Franklin Institute said it had made “numerous attempts” to resolve the matter and had served the disabled community through access programs and “far-reaching education and outreach initiatives.”

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4 p.m.

A federal judge says the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia violated the rights of severely disabled guests by forcing them to pay two entrance fees — one for them and another for their caretakers.

Judge Gerald McHugh, of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, ruled that the science museum violated a section of the Americans with Disability Act by failing to grant disabled visitors “full and equal access” to the facilities. He ruled Friday that personal care assistants were only there to help the disabled visitors participate in the museum’s exhibits.

A lawyer who represents the plaintiffs said Monday that without such assistants “many severely disabled people cannot visit and enjoy these facilities.”

A museum spokeswoman says they plan to release a statement later Monday.

The Franklin Institute was ordered to adopt new policies on waiving such admission fees.