On June 27, 2002, Barrier Busters (a 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 Erie, PA. The Plaintiffs alleged that since 1992, when the ADA went into effect, the ...
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On June 27, 2002, Barrier Busters (a 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 Erie, PA. The Plaintiffs alleged that since 1992, when the ADA went into effect, the city of Erie had frequently 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., when it performed road and sidewalk construction and alterations.
The parties entered a court-approved Partial Consent Decree on March 18, 2003. On September 16, 2003, the parties entered a Second Partial Consent Decree and Partial Settlement; a Third Consent Decree was entered on April 1, 2004, and a fourth on February 2, 2005. The Clearinghouse has not obtained these Consent Decrees, but it is clear from later documents that Erie made substantial commitments to both ensure adherance to the ADA curb cut requirements for new roads and future resurfacing projects, and to retrofit with curb cuts all areas where roads were built or resurfaced after the January 26, 1992 effective date of the ADA. Erie committed to make annual reports showing where new road work had taken place and where new curb cuts were built. These Consent Agreements also recognized that Erie was not responsible for the non-compliance of state roads and highways in Erie that were resurfaced by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
In 2006, a separate case was filed against PennDOT, addressing the issues of ADA compliance and curb cuts on state roads in Erie. See related cases. The plaintiffs there were represented by the same attorneys as in this case.
In 2010, the Plaintiffs observed that there had been street resurfacings performed by the City of Erie in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, which should have triggered the construction of ADA-compliant curb cuts, but where none were built, contrary to the earlier agreements. On September 27, 2011, the parties agreed to a court-approved stipulated order wherein Erie agreed to retrofit these sites with curb cuts and to pay Plaintiffs $31,000 in attorneys' fees and costs for the period from March 11, 2011, to August 26, 2011. This stipulated order did not abrogate the earlier Consent Agreements.
A Second Stipulated Order was entered on August 31, 2012, after was discovered that Erie had again failed to install curb cuts. The city agreed to take remedial action to install these curb cuts, and agreed to pay an unspecified amount to the Plaintiffs for attorneys' fees and costs.
On April 17, 2013, a Third Stipulated Order was entered, which changed Erie's reporting obligations to the Plaintiffs to make the process more efficient. Erie agreed to pay an unspecified amount to the Plaintiffs for attorneys' fees and costs.
The various Consent Decrees and Stipulated Orders are still in place.Alex Colbert-Taylor - 06/13/2013