June 12, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS – A disabled, indigent Posey County woman has sued a local official who denied her access to necessary financial assistance because she could not take a drug test required by the official to submit an application for assistance, claiming the drug testing requirement violates the United States Constitution.

The lawsuit against Black Township and Lindsay Suits, the Black Township Trustee, was filed yesterday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of Mary Neale, a resident of the township. Neale previously received aid from the trustee only after submitting a urine sample and passing a drug test. Last year, when Neale’s physical disabilities made submitting the sample impossible, she was unable to apply for benefits.

The Black Township Trustee’s policy of requiring applicants for assistance to take a urine drug screen violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Further, the trustee’s failure to accommodate Neale’s disability when she sought to apply for assistance violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“The Constitution prohibits this type of suspicionless search and seizure,” said Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director. “It is wrong to condition the receipt of government benefits on the waiver of fundamental rights that protect all of us.”

The class action lawsuit, Mary Neale, et al., v. Black Township, Posey County, Ind.; Lindsay Suits, 3:15-cv-82-RLY-WGH, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on June 11, 2015.

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