On November 10, 2004, Voices for Independence, a non-profit disability advocacy group, and a class of disabled individuals, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, against the City of Meadville, PA. The Plaintiffs alleged that Meadville had used ...
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On November 10, 2004, Voices for Independence, a non-profit disability advocacy group, and a class of disabled individuals, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, against the City of Meadville, PA. The Plaintiffs alleged that Meadville had used federal funds to repave roads and had failed to install mandatory curb cuts, and to otherwise comply with the accessibility mandates of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq. Class certification was sought but the parties entered a court-approved Consent Decree before a decision on class certification was issued.
The Court granted approval of the parties' Consent Decree on May 17, 2005, wherein Meadville committed to ensure, to the maximum extent feasible, that all roads resurfaced in 2005 would be accessible to individuals with disabilities. This included a commitment to ensure that all resurfaced intersections had curb cuts. They also agreed to require all bids and contracts for the work specify ADA compliance. Meadville also agreed to issue an Annual Report of Compliance on or before January 31 2006, list each intersection resurfaced in 2005 and stating where new curb cuts had been installed. The City agreed to retrofit roads that had been resurfaced in 2003 in order to bring them into compliance with the ADA.
A Second Consent Decree was entered on August 9, 2005. In the Second Consent Decree the the City of Meadville agreed that all resurfacing in 2006 and thereafter would comply with the ADA. The City agreed to prepare a list of all roads resurfaced since January 26, 2002, and detailing the ADA compliance status of all relevant intersections and sidewalks; upon completing this, the parties agreed to enter good faith negotiations to identify areas in need of retrofitting. In the Consent Decree, the plaintiffs acknowledges that certain highways in Meadville had been resurfaced by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), and that the City would not be responsible for retrofitting these areas. Meadville agreed to prepare a list of streets resurfaced by PennDOT, to be submitted to the Court within ninety days of the effective date of the decree.
The Second Consent Decree granted the Plaintiffs $82,762 in attorneys' fee and costs. The Court retained jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the consent decrees.
In 2006, a related case was filed against PennDOT (see related cases). On March 11, 2009, the plaintiffs, the City of Meadville, and PennDOT entered another Consent Decree, wherein Meadville and PennDOT divided responsibility for the resurfaced roads, sidewalks, and intersections in Meadville still in need retrofitting in order to be ADA-compliant. Meadville agreed to retrofit the roads for which it was responsible by no later than December 31, 2013.Alex Colbert-Taylor - 06/11/2013