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Case Name Reiskin v. Regional Transportation District DR-CO-0027
Docket / Court 1:14-cv-03111-CMA-KLM ( D. Colo. )
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Attorney Organization Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center
Case Summary
On November 18, 2014, the plaintiffs, persons with disabilities that require the use of a wheelchair, brought this class action lawsuit against the defendant, Colorado's Regional Transportation District (RTD). The plaintiffs were represented by the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition Legal Program ... read more >
On November 18, 2014, the plaintiffs, persons with disabilities that require the use of a wheelchair, brought this class action lawsuit against the defendant, Colorado's Regional Transportation District (RTD). The plaintiffs were represented by the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition Legal Program and the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center. The plaintiffs alleged disability discrimination under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Judge Christine Arguello presided over this case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants did not make their transportation services readily accessible for persons using wheelchairs and in that light rail operators repeatedly denied persons who require the use of wheelchairs access to the light rail.

The plaintiffs, in particular, alleged that the defendant discriminated in two ways. Firstly, the walkways within their light rail vehicles had narrow walkways that restricted the mobility of persons using wheelchairs. This equated to the vehicles not being readily accessible for wheelchairs which was required under the ADA. And Secondly, despite RTD designating seating locations for persons using wheelchairs, in practice, those locations were often unavailable. Oftentimes, the light rail operators would allow non-disabled persons that had either a stroller or bicycle to occupy designated wheelchair seating location. And if a person with a stroller or bicycle occupied those areas, the light rail operator sometimes denied transportation services to a person using a wheelchair. Instead of giving priority to persons using wheelchairs--as required by their own policies-- the operator would often refuse access to the person with the wheelchair if someone onboard with a stroller or bicycle already occupied that space.

The plaintiffs sought class certification, attorney fees and costs, declaratory relief, and an injunction.

After a period of discovery and the like, the parties settled. Plaintiffs filed an unopposed motion for certification of the class for settlement purposes, and for approval of the preliminary settlement on November 14, 2016. The Court agreed on April 3, 2017. After a hearing on the settlement, the court finally approved it, along with attorneys fees, on July 11, 2017.

The settlement agreement had three terms. Firstly, the agreement called for 172 of the light rails vehicles to be retrofitted to accommodate persons that use wheelchairs. The retrofit would make it so that persons using wheelchairs have more mobility within the transportation vehicles. This would allow for wheelchair users to not obstruct other passengers, and that at least two people with wheelchairs can board the vehicles.

Secondly, the settlement agreement required policies that both direct light rail operators to not discriminate against persons with disability the use of a wheelchair, and to train/retrain these operators to ensure that these anti-discriminatory measures are upheld.

And thirdly, the agreement required that the defendant pay the plaintiffs’ attorney fees and costs. The court approved the agreed amount of $ 375,000 for attorney fees and costs.

The court maintains limited jurisdiction over the case for five years to resolve disputes that require court intervention as set forth in the settlement agreement.

Sean Whetstone - 05/18/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitoring
Provide antidiscrimination training
Reasonable Accommodation
Training
Defendant-type
Transportation
Disability
Mobility impairment
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Failure to train
Reasonable Accommodations
Transportation
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Regional Transportation District of Colorado
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are individuals who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices and rely on the Denver light rail system. Plaintiff class defined in the settlement agreement: "All Persons in Colorado who are qualified individuals with disabilities, who use wheelchairs (as that term is defined by 49 C.F.R. § 37.3), and who have used, currently use, or may in the future use the Regional Transportation District’s Light Rail Service."
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 Declaratory Judgment
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Order Duration 2017 - 2022
Filing Year 2014
Case Closing Year 2022
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:14-cv-3111 (D. Colo.)
DR-CO-0027-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/05/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
DR-CO-0027-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/18/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 65]
DR-CO-0027-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/19/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Representative Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion for Certification of a Class for Settlement Purposes Only and Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement Agreement [ECF# 151]
DR-CO-0027-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/14/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Class Settlement Agreement [ECF# 151-1]
DR-CO-0027-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/14/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion for Certification of a Class for Settlement Purposes Only and Preliminary Approval of Settlement Agreement [ECF# 155] (D. Colo.)
DR-CO-0027-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/03/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement [ECF# 157]
DR-CO-0027-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement Agreement, Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion for Reasonable Attorney's Fees and Costs and Entry of Judgment of Dismissal with Prejudice [ECF# 159] (D. Colo.)
DR-CO-0027-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/11/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion for Reasonable Attorney's Fees and Costs [ECF# 160] (D. Colo.)
DR-CO-0027-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/11/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Arguello, Christine M. (D. Colo.)
DR-CO-0027-0004 | DR-CO-0027-0006 | DR-CO-0027-0006 | DR-CO-0027-0007 | DR-CO-0027-9000
Mix, Kristen L. (D. Colo.) [Magistrate]
DR-CO-0027-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Montoya, Andrew Christopher (Colorado)
DR-CO-0027-0001 | DR-CO-0027-0002 | DR-CO-0027-0003 | DR-CO-0027-0005 | DR-CO-0027-0009 | DR-CO-0027-9000
Robertson, Amy Farr (Colorado)
DR-CO-0027-0005 | DR-CO-0027-9000
Williams, Kevin William (Colorado)
DR-CO-0027-0001 | DR-CO-0027-0002 | DR-CO-0027-0003 | DR-CO-0027-0005 | DR-CO-0027-0009 | DR-CO-0027-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fuller, Jessica Lynn (Colorado)
DR-CO-0027-0009 | DR-CO-0027-9000
McNair, Mindy Marie (Colorado)
DR-CO-0027-9000
Plachy, Michael D. (Colorado)
DR-CO-0027-0009 | DR-CO-0027-9000
Ross−Amato, Jenifer M. (Colorado)
DR-CO-0027-0009 | DR-CO-0027-9000

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