Make Them Go Away
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EXCERPT:

CLINT EASTWOOD RESORT VIOLATES LAW, SAYS JURY

From Chapter Seventeen: The Voice of the Supremes.

Clint Eastwood's Mission Ranch had indeed broken the law, said the jury at the end of the two-week celebrity trial in San Francisco. There was no ramp to the registration office. An "accessible" guest room wasn't. No signs pointed to the accessible public restroom. All were violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and California law.

Eastwood, standing before the cameras outside the courtroom, declared victory. The lack of access was a mere technicality: those "improvements" were already in the works.

Doubting that Diane zumBrunnen had actually been planning to stay at the resort, and so had not technically been denied access, jurors did not award her the money that California's Unruh Civil Rights Act would have granted someone who had suffered as a result of access denial. It was the state law, not the Americans with Disabilities Act, that allowed for damages anyway.

He had won, Eastwood crowed to reporters. He did not have to pay damages. He made light of the fact that it was the lawsuit that had impelled him to finally provide the access. He also failed to say that in making his choice to fight the charges, rather than simply comply, he had paid out tens of thousand of dollars to his own attorneys (which, evidently, were not "unscrupulous" ones).

"If you're right, you've got to hold your ground," Eastwood told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I also fought for the businessmen and businesswomen who own small businesses who are trying to get by and they get worked over by those people."

"He could have avoided the cost of attorney fees by settling the case and put his money into hiring an architect," Wolinsky told reporters later. "It's ridiculous for him to say he didn't know what needed to be done to eliminate physical barriers. I can't think of an area more clear-cut." The federal courtroom in which the Eastwood trial took place was not accessible, either. People in wheelchairs had to be brought in through an exit door. Neither the witness stand nor the jury box was accessible. "Court officials had to remove a bench to allow room for observers in wheelchairs," said the Chronicle.

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