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Case Name Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center v. RLJ Lodging Trust DR-CA-0052
Docket / Court 4:15-cv-00224-YGR ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Attorney Organization Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center
Case Summary
On January 15, 2015, the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC), along with several individuals, brought this action against RLJ Hospitality Trust, Inc. RLJ operates twelve hotels in the state of California, as well as many hotels elsewhere in the United States. Plaintiffs alleged ... read more >
On January 15, 2015, the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC), along with several individuals, brought this action against RLJ Hospitality Trust, Inc. RLJ operates twelve hotels in the state of California, as well as many hotels elsewhere in the United States. Plaintiffs alleged that RLJ violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and California's Unruh Civil Rights Act by failing to provide wheelchair accessible vehicles at its hotels.

The three individual plaintiffs each require wheelchairs for mobility. Each alleged that he or she was deterred from staying at RLJ's hotels in Northern California by RLJ's lack of wheelchair-accessible shuttle services. The three plaintiffs explained that they hoped to stay at RLJ's hotels in the future and that they would do so if they learned that RLJ provides wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Plaintiffs brought the action on behalf of a class defined as individuals who rely on wheelchairs or scooters for mobility and have been, or will be, denied full and equal enjoyment of RLJ's services because of the lack of accessible transportation services at RLJ's hotels. They requested a permanent injunction requiring RLJ to comply with the two aforementioned statutes.

The case was assigned to Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. On May 1, 2015, the parties agreed to resolve the dispute by using a private mediator. The parties met on June 30, 2015 for an all-day settlement conference and agreed to continue the negotiations in good faith, though no settlement had been reached by the initial case management conference before Judge Gonzalez Rogers on September 21, 2015, where the Judge set a date for a bench trial in May, 2016.

On November 2, 2015, the plaintiffs filed a first amended complaint. On November 5, 2015, the parties reached an agreement and proposed a settlement. The settlement ensured that the hotels currently owned by RLJ that provide transportation to guests in the future will also provide equivalent wheelchair accessible transportation, with third party and plaintiff attorney monitoring of RLJ's compliance for a default of two years and up to three years if RLJ fails to comply within those first two years. The plaintiffs asked the court to certify the class in order to approve the class action settlement.

Judge Gonzalez Rogers granted the preliminary approval of the class action settlement and the certification of the settlement class on January 25, 2016, and final approval on May 3, 2016. The class was defined as "all individuals who use wheelchairs or scooters for mobility who, from January 15, 2013, to the date of the preliminary approval of the Settlement [January 25, 2016], have been denied the full and equal enjoyment of transportation services offered to guests at Hotels owned and/or operated by RLJ because of the lack of equivalent accessible transportation services at those Hotels." The plaintiffs moved for attorney fees and costs on March 7, 2016, which Judge Gonzalez Rogers also granted on May 3, 2016. The case is now closed. 2016 WL 314400.

Spencer Klein - 03/15/2015
Rachel Carpman - 11/19/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Monitoring
Reasonable Accommodation
Reporting
Defendant-type
Transportation
Disability
Mobility impairment
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to public accommodations - privately owned
Buildings
Reasonable Accommodations
Transportation
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 12111 et seq.
State law
Defendant(s) RLJ Lodging Trust
Plaintiff Description Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center is an organization that, among other things, works to ensure that persons with disabilities participate in our nation's civic life without discrimination. The three individual plaintiffs are CREEC members who require wheelchair accessible vehicles. The class consists of individuals who use wheelchairs or scooters for mobility who have been, or will be, denied full equal enjoyment of defendant's hotels.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2016 - 2019
Filing Year 2015
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing DR-CA-0054 : Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center v. Ashford Hospitality Trust (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0053 : Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center v. Hospitality Properties Trust (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CO-0023 : Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center v. Sage Hospitality Resources LLC (D. Colo.)
Docket(s)
4:15-cv-00224 (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0052-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/03/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint For Declaratory And Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
DR-CA-0052-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/15/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 50]
DR-CA-0052-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/02/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Final Approval of Class Action Settlement and Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs [ECF# 75] (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0052-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/03/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Rogers, Yvonne Gonzalez (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0052-0003 | DR-CA-0052-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Benham-Baker, Hillary Jo (California)
DR-CA-0052-0001 | DR-CA-0052-0002 | DR-CA-0052-9000
Campins, Julia (California)
DR-CA-0052-0001 | DR-CA-0052-0002 | DR-CA-0052-9000
Davidson, Joshua (California)
DR-CA-0052-0001 | DR-CA-0052-9000
Fox, Timothy Patrick (Colorado)
DR-CA-0052-0001 | DR-CA-0052-0002 | DR-CA-0052-9000
Lam, Linda Pham (California)
DR-CA-0052-9000
Lee, Bill Lann (California)
DR-CA-0052-0001 | DR-CA-0052-0002 | DR-CA-0052-9000
Morris, Sarah (Colorado)
DR-CA-0052-0001 | DR-CA-0052-0002 | DR-CA-0052-9000
Wilensky, Julie H. (California)
DR-CA-0052-0001 | DR-CA-0052-0002 | DR-CA-0052-9000
Williams, Kevin William (Colorado)
DR-CA-0052-0001 | DR-CA-0052-0002 | DR-CA-0052-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Greenberg, Helen Lee (California)
DR-CA-0052-9000
Malla, Steffanie Ann (California)
DR-CA-0052-9000

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