Community Resources for Independent Living (CRIL) v. MobilityWorks
In October 2018, Disability Rights Advocates filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Mobility Works—the country’s largest provider of wheelchair accessible vehicles for sale or rent, and a major installer of adaptive devices—employed two policies that discriminated against drivers with disabilities. Mobility Works denied these allegations, and does not admit liability. But, after extensive negotiations, the parties reached agreement on a proposed class-wide settlement that would resolve every issue raised in the case. On March 6, 2020, this agreement was preliminarily approved by Judge Jeffrey White of the Northern District of California.
If you are a driver with a disability who has used or attempted to use Mobility Works’ services, you may be affected by this proposed settlement. A formal notice of the proposed agreement, which explains how it may affect you and includes important information about your rights, can be found here.
Under the parties’ settlement, Mobility Works will install hand controls and other adaptive equipment in any available rental vehicle on request, at no charge to customers – meaning that people with disabilities who need such devices will be able to rent and drive Mobility Works vans independently, where before they were allegedly forced to either rely on a nondisabled driver or to give up using the company’s rental services entirely. In addition, the company will now allow drivers who need adaptive equipment installed in any vehicle to forego a prior requirement to complete unnecessary and expensive “certification” courses, as long as they have a valid license and experience using the equipment they have requested.
These changes will dramatically improve access to Mobility Works’ services for people with disabilities, and Plaintiffs Dorene Giacopini and Stuart James are hopeful that they will serve as model for similar companies nationwide.