QUENTINSBURGH– The Freedemian National Court made a long awaited ruling during a special judicial session on Saturday in the case Walden v. VAULT. The ruling mainly ruled that water cannot be included in “no food or drink” policies, including “no outside drinks allowed” policies, based on a court case between VAULT (Vandover And Urban Laneston Transit) and an asthmatic passenger.
QUARTA, Quentinsburgh’s transit system, stopped including water in their “no food, no drink” policies back around 2013 when it became clear during an abnormally dry and hot season that the hundred-degree temperatures (Fahrenheit) and difficult access of water in some places was part of the reason heat strokes and other exhaustion/dehydration related illnesses were so rampant in Freedemia. A couple other Freedemian transit systems, such as PLATA in Personsboro/Leonard, GoFARTher in Franklinsburgh, and LART in Trenchent/San Grande, followed this lead, which would lead to a lot of businesses and school systems also changing their policies similarly.
However, VAULT was not one of these transit systems, which would end up leading to this case. In July 2016, on one of the hottest days in the year, Maurice Walden ran to catch a VAULT bus to get to work with a bottle of water. While he was allowed on the bus, when an out of breath Walden tried to drink some of his water, the driver (who will remain unnamed) asked him to follow the “no food, no drink” policy. Walden, an asthmatic, attempted to explain that he needed the water after running to catch the bus, but the driver made Walden put the water away anyway. Walden would have an asthma attack a few minutes later.
While he ended up being okay, Walden reported the way he was treated to VAULT, only to get a letter saying that he had been in violation of the “no food or drink” policy. Walden would sue VAULT, and over the course of the year the case would make its way up to the National Court.
The ruling in favor of Walden asserted that water is a “fundamental right and an essential need”, and that the only times it is reasonable to include water in a “no food or drink” policy is if its a location like a science lab where drinking water could result in the direct harm of the person drinking. This is a pretty big deal, and solidifies through the courts the importance of easy access to water. President Angela Rosenthal has been trying to emphasize the importance of water and restroom access for a while, passing WAWAA and the slightly more controversial RAWAA, but this is the first time that the judiciary upheld the importance.
Vice president Patrick Houser praised the decision as a huge step forward. “This day marks a step towards a time where Freedemia becomes, even moreso, a world leader in fundamental rights and environmental consciousness”, he said during a brief remark after the ruling. Houser has been known as a champion of moderate environmentalism since his election in 2016 to vice president, advocating for a faster move to public transportation, more reliable renewable and green energy, easier access to water, and higher standards in green architecture and design.