John Gill Smith v. City of Philadelphia, Settlement Order, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Court and Agency Decisions and Orders (including case law)

In response to a complaint filed by an HIV-positive individual alleging that he was denied emergency medical services by the City of Philadelphia, the U.S. Attorney General’s Office intervened and negotiated this settlement order. The complaint alleged that the plaintiff was denied services on the basis of his disability (HIV infection) in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and various state laws. This order resolving Smith’s complaint in response to emergency medical services personnel’s refusal to touch or lift him because of his HIV status illustrates possible non-monetary remedies for such conduct, and also how one person’s lawsuit can change the way a public institution behaves towards people living with HIV. In addition to providing monetary compensation in the amount of $50,000, the order requires the city to refrain from discriminating against anyone on the basis of their disability, implement a mandatory paramedic/EMT training program about HIV and infectious diseases, and certify that each paramedic has completed the training.