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Case Name United Handicapped Federation v. Andre PB-MN-0001
Docket / Court 75-cv-00627 ( D. Minn. )
State/Territory Minnesota
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Public Benefits / Government Services
Case Summary
This case summary is based on four published opinions from the case. We have no other documents.

This case was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota in 1975. The plaintiffs, the United Handicapped Federation, another disability advocacy group, and six ... read more >
This case summary is based on four published opinions from the case. We have no other documents.

This case was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota in 1975. The plaintiffs, the United Handicapped Federation, another disability advocacy group, and six individuals with mobility disabilities, filed the suit against the Chief Administrator of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC), the Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation, the Administrator of the Federal Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA), and the AM General Corporation. The plaintiffs alleged that the pending purchase of 338 non-wheelchair-accessible buses violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, § 16(a) of the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 as amended, §§ 105(a) and (b) of the Federal-Aid Highway Amendments of 1974, § 315 of the Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 1975, and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, by way of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which allows private actions against states for violations of federally guaranteed rights under color of state law. Plaintiffs also raised state law claims. They sought preliminary and permanent injunctions preventing MTC from acquiring inaccessible buses.

The District Court (Judge Donald D. Alsop) denied the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, and granted summary judgment for the defendants, finding that none of the statutes on which the plaintiffs based their claims required that all buses bought using federal funds be equipped to transport passengers in wheelchairs. The Court held that the state had made sufficient special efforts to aid the disabled in their use of the mass transportation system so as to fulfill its obligations under federal law. United Handicapped Federation v. Andre, 409 F.Supp. 1297 (D. Minn. 1976).

The plaintiffs appealed the decision. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge Donald Pomery Lay) reversed the lower court's decision and remanded the case. This decision was made in light of UMTA's having issued, after the lower court's decision, new regulations by its authority under § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C.S. § 794, which conditioned the approval of mass transit system projects on special efforts for elderly and handicapped persons, specifically including wheelchair users and semiambulatory persons. The 8th Circuit Court held that § 504 created an affirmative duty on the part of the state, and that the plaintiffs had standing to bring a private cause of action. United Handicapped Federation v. Andre, 558 F.2d 413 (8th Cir. 1977). At some point around this time, it appears that the purchase of the inaccessible buses was completed.

After this, the District Court dismissed all claims against AM General Corporation and the claims against all defendants relating to transportation projects approved by UMTA prior to April 27, 1976. The parties then negotiated a settlement, wherein it appears that the remaining defendants agreed to convert MTC's entire fleet to be wheelchair accessible within a few years of the settlement's date of execution. The settlement left the issue of attorneys' fees undecided.

In 1980, the District Court denied the plaintiffs' motion for reasonable attorneys' fees and costs, finding that they were not the "prevailing party" and that therefore they were not entitled to an award of costs. United Handicapped Federation v. Andre, 489 F.Supp. 1040 (D. Minn. 1980). The Eighth Circuit (Judge Lay) reversed this decision, remanding the issue to the lower court with instructions to award reasonable attorneys' fees not to exceed $10,000 and legal costs of $2,500. United Handicapped Federation v. Andre, 622 F.2d 342 (8th Cir, 1980).

Alex Colbert-Taylor - 08/06/2013

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Mobility impairment
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Disparate Impact
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Reasonable Modifications
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action State law
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Transit Commission
U.S. Department of Transportation
Urban Mass Transportation Administration
Plaintiff Description Two disability advocacy organizations and six mobility-disabled individuals, seeking to enjoin the purchase of inaccessible buses.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration 1980 - n/a
Case Closing Year 1980
Case Ongoing No
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Memorandum and Order (409 F.Supp. 1297) (D. Minn.)
PB-MN-0001-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/11/1976
Source: Westlaw
Opinion [Vacating Grant of Summary Judgment and Remanding Case] (558 F.2d 413)
PB-MN-0001-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/21/1977
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (622 F.2d 342)
PB-MN-0001-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/14/1980
Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Order (489 F.Supp. 1040) (D. Minn.)
PB-MN-0001-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/11/1980
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Alsop, Donald Douglas (D. Minn.)
PB-MN-0001-0001 | PB-MN-0001-0004
Lay, Donald Pomery (Eighth Circuit)
PB-MN-0001-0002 | PB-MN-0001-0003
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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