APR 3 1996 The Honorable Dianne Feinstein United States Senator 1700 Montgomery Street, Suite 305 San

Francisco, California 94111 Dear Senator Feinstein: Staff of the Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, have reviewed your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, XX . XX seeks information about the requirements for access to Federal Bankruptcy Court. Please excuse our delay in responding. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. As originally enacted, Section 504 applies to programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance. In 1978, Section 504 was amended to apply to the operations of the Federal government itself. However, coverage was limited to agencies within the Executive branch of government. The United States judiciary was not covered by Section 504. The response that XX initially received about accessing her bankruptcy proceedings probably reflects the fact that the Federal judiciary is exempt from coverage under Section 504. Nonetheless, while Section 504 does not apply to the Federal judiciary, most Federal courts operate with policies to provide access for persons with disabilities. In this regard, XX should contact the Bankruptcy Court's chief judicial officer or the clerk's office and request accommodations to access its proceedings. Coverage under Section 504 may exist if the bankruptcy proceeding that XX sought to attend was, in fact, a program or activity conducted by an Executive agency. The Office of the United States Trustees, a Department of Justice (DOJ) component agency, conducts some bankruptcy proceedings on behalf 01-04190 ​ -2of the Federal government. Such proceedings conducted by the

Trustees are subject to Section 504's requirements for program access as outlined in DOJ's regulations implementing the 1978 amendments to Section 504. These are codified at 28 Code of Federal Regulations Part 39, and should be available at local libraries. If XX bankruptcy proceedings are conducted by the United States Trustees, a determination about whether or not Section 504 applies to those proceedings is the responsibility of the Trustees. XX may seek additional information about access to her Federal bankruptcy proceedings by contacting: Mr. Joseph Patchan, Director, Executive Office of the United States Trustees, Room 700, 901 E Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20534, Attention: Ms. Martha L. Davis, Office of General Counsel, telephone (202) 307-1399. I hope this information is useful in responding to your constituent. Sincerely, Deval L. Patrick Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division 01-04191 ​ January 4, 1996 Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senate Room 331, Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senate Room 112, Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Frank Riggs, Congress 1714 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 I am a constituent in your district, and am writing to you to inform you of a problem I am facing and to request your assistance. I have filed bankruptcy papers and my court appearance is JAN 22 1996

scheduled for XX . This will be held in the U.S. Post Office Building, 5th and H Streets, XX I am wheelchair bound and totally unable to stand or even transfer, and this building is not wheelchair accessible. I called the Bankruptcy Court Trustee to inform her of my dilemma, and she suggested that I get someone to carry me up the outside flight of stairs, as "this is what we've done in the past". She had no other suggestions. I was also informed that, as this is a federal, historic building, they are not required by law to be accessible. As my elected official, I am turning to you to resolve this problem. Would it be possible to move the Bankruptcy Court to another site that would accommodate those of us with disabilities? Sincerely, XX 01-04192