California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC), et al. v. County of SacramentoSacramento International Airport Discriminates Against Travelers with Disabilities
Sacramento International Airport serves approximately 7.9 million passengers per year yet has failed to make its facilities and services accessible to travelers with disabilities. DRA’s class action lawsuit, filed in December of 2012, alleges that the County of Sacramento discriminates against people with mobility disabilities in its operation of the newly constructed Airport Terminal B, a building that violates disability compliance laws and prevents people who use wheelchairs from fully accessing airport services.
DRA brought the lawsuit on behalf of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (“CFILC”), a statewide non-profit organization composed of 25 independent living centers that is dedicated to removing barriers and promoting equal opportunities for people with disabilities and individual plaintiff Ruthee Goldkorn, a wheelchair user.
On November 4, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller granted DRA’s motion for partial summary judgment in the case, holding that the newly constructed gate counters in Terminal B are inaccessible to persons who use wheelchairs and thus, illegal, and further holding that the emergency evacuation plans for Sacramento International Airport for persons with mobility disabilities are inadequate and similarly in violation of the law.
In addition to being the first federal court ruling applying the accessibility requirements of the ADA to airport emergency plans, the ruling is a critical precedent that will help ensure local governments include functional, accessible features in their designs when they newly construct or alter public facilities.
On March 18, 2019, DRA and the County of Sacramento reached a groundbreaking settlement agreement following years of litigation that will result in significant changes to the emergency preparedness plan at Sacramento International Airport (SMF), all of which will help ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind when disaster strikes. The settlement also requires the County to fix a variety of architectural barriers in the Airport’s Terminal B, so that people with mobility disabilities will be able to make full use of the buildings’ many amenities.