Ochoa, et al. v. City of Long Beach, et al.
The Court has preliminarily approved a class action settlement in this case to make the City of Long Beach’s sidewalks, crosswalks, and other pedestrian pathways safer and more accessible for people with disabilities. If you are a person with a mobility disability who has used or will use pedestrian facilities in the City of Long Beach, review the notice of proposed settlement for more information about your rights.
In June 2014, DRA, Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho (GBDH), and Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC) filed a class action lawsuit against the City of Long Beach and its Mayor alleging that it discriminates against residents and visitors who have mobility disabilities by failing to maintain accessible sidewalks and pedestrian rights-of-way. Individuals who use wheelchairs, motorized scooters, or other mobility aides have encountered ubiquitous obstacles in Long Beach such as missing curb cuts, unsafe slopes, uplifted sidewalks, and obstructions to the path of travel. As a result of these obstacles, people with a range of mobility disabilities have been restricted in their ability to travel to work, restaurants, places of worship, medical appointments, and to visit with family and friends.
In April 2017, after almost three years of litigation and negotiations, a class action settlement agreement to make the City of Long Beach’s sidewalks, crosswalks, and other pedestrian pathways safer and more accessible for people with disabilities has been preliminarily approved by Judge Dale Fischer. Under this agreement, the City of Long Beach will undertake a comprehensive assessment of the current state of its public rights of way to determine the extent of necessary remediation. Once this assessment is complete, the City will work with community members to prioritize repairs. Existing curb ramps that are damaged and unusable by people with disabilities will be fixed over the next 20 years, backed by a budget of up to $50 million. In addition, the City will spend up to $125 million over 30 years to repair inaccessible sidewalks and crosswalks. The settlement also requires the City to allocate approximately $5 million over the first 10 years to fix pedestrian barriers specifically reported by people with mobility disabilities. In total, the settlement requires disability access barrier removal work valued at approximately $200 million. These improvements to the City’s pedestrian rights of way, backed by strong financial commitments and policy changes, will ensure all residents of and visitors to Long Beach are able to safely travel and enjoy pedestrian pathways for working, shopping, dining, and more.
Class members should review the notice of proposed class-wide settlement agreement and must provide any objections by June 17, 2017.