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Amputee vet says threatened with $1M lawsuit over home wheelchair ramps

wheelchair-accessible ramp (Joel Martinez/U.S. Air Force)
March 04, 2019

A bilateral amputee Vietnam vet has been denied the right to have a wheelchair ramp at his home after a decision made by his homeowner’s association.

William Adams said his neighbor Danny Bundren, who is also the Meadows of Seven Points homeowners’ association’s treasurer, told him the ramps were an eyesore and needed to be removed or else he would face legal action, Fox 17 News reported on Thursday.

The treasurer told them he would file a $1 million lawsuit if the ramps weren’t taken down as they violated the HOA guidelines.

William Adams, 71, and his wife Selross have been residents of the Meadows of Seven Points community for a year, and have been working with the VA to make the accommodations that he needs to be more self-sufficient.

Two wheelchair ramps — one for the front of the house and another for the back — were approved by the VA prior to the Adams’ move in.

“He wanted the unsightly ramps gone and that’s how [our] little problem began,” Selross Adams said, according to News Channel 5 stated.

Bundren said the Adams aren’t being completely truthful.

“Under no circumstances are we, the homeowners’ association, would deny anybody handicapped access. Never,” Bundren said, as Fox 17 reported.

Bundren said the association offered “to build and maintain the ramps for the Adams’ house at the HOA’s expense, but says that offer was denied,” Fox said.

The Adams say that is untrue.

William Adams suffers from PTSD, as well as diabetes, circulatory issues, and other problems that caused the amputation of his right leg and big toe. “Being exposed to agent orange just ruined his body,” Selross Adams said.

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Without the ramps, William Adams cannot use his wheelchair to exit his home and must put himself at great risk by physically walking down the stairs.

“We just did not think that they had jurisdiction over what the Americans with disability act had set for us to do,” Selross said. “I will not stand to be bullied and kicked around, and I don’t care what rules and regulations they have.”

The Adams have since filed a federal discrimination complaint with the Tennessee Fair Housing Council.

“We didn’t agree to be disrespected, dehumanized, and attacked, and that’s what you did,” Selross Adams said of the HOA.

“I don’t want anybody else’s liberty to be taken away from them; the way I felt like they did for us,” said William Adams.

The Adams said they are continuing with their plans to add the ramps to their home and will make sure they are as visually appealing as possible.

William Adams faces another surgery to remove another toe and he will be unable to walk, rendering the ramps the only method of entry to his home.