Merrick brothers launch federal discrimination suit

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The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring the Smithsonian “to adopt policies, procedures and practices, which will ensure that all disabled individuals may fully enjoy the programs and activities at the Air & Space Museum,” as well as monetary damages for Max’s and Jake’s “mental anguish, loss of dignity, and any and all other intangible injuries” stemming from the Smithsonian’s and Pulsework’s “discriminatory actions.”

Heller said he and his clients do not have a specific amount they are seeking in damages.“How can you put a dollar value on the emotional damage, the public shame Max and Jake suffered that day?” Heller said. “The damages they’re seeking is whatever a jury would award.”

Both brothers said they were more interested in seeing the Smithsonian change its policies than in collecting damages. “It’s not about damages, it’s about equal rights — for people who are different from you or I to be able to enjoy museums and rides,” Jake said.

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