Goodlaxson v. Baltimore

Click here for case documents Date Filed: 06/10/2021 Status:

On June 10, 2021, three wheelchair users and the IMAGE Center of Maryland filed a class action lawsuit alleging widespread and ongoing violations of federal accessibility requirements by the City of Baltimore for its failure to properly install and maintain of curb ramps and sidewalks.

These violations severely impact the ability of people with mobility disabilities to access sidewalks and curb ramps, making it difficult or impossible for them to fully and equally participate in civic life in Baltimore.  

Critically, this lack of accessibility harms Plaintiffs Susan Goodlaxson, Janice Jackson, and Keyonna Mayo; Plaintiff IMAGE Center’s constituents with mobility disabilities; and all other persons with mobility disabilities who live in, work in, or visit Baltimore. Imagine not being able to safely cross your street to visit a neighbor or navigate around the block where you live. This is a frequent reality for Plaintiffs Goodlaxson, Jackson, and Mayo.

There are no curb ramps at any of the corners of the 3400 Glenmore Avenue block where Ms. Goodlaxson lives. So, she cannot cross the streets on her block. Similarly, due to missing and/or inaccessible curb ramps and inaccessible sidewalks, Ms. Jackson is unable to travel by sidewalk on Loch Raven Boulevard to go shopping or access major facilities in the area. Likewise, Ms. Mayo is unable to use sidewalks to travel to the Post Office or Light Rail in her area.

Baltimore’s own data demonstrate that there are systemic barriers to the accessibility of the City’s pedestrian right-of-way. In 2019, the City conducted a multi-phase evaluation of its curb ramps. Only approximately 1.3% of the 37,806 surveyed curb ramps were determined to comply with the ADA. Although the focus of the 2019 survey was on curb ramps, notes from that survey document widespread problems with sidewalks, including sidewalks that were damaged or too narrow, which can make them unusable by people who use wheelchairs, scooters, and other mobility aids, so that people with mobility disabilities have to travel in the street with cars. 

Plaintiff IMAGE Center of Maryland (“IMAGE Center”) is an independent living center located in Baltimore County. The IMAGE Center is a non-profit, consumer-controlled organization that advocates for and promotes independent living for all persons with disabilities living in Central Maryland, including Baltimore. The independence of people with mobility disabilities is limited by Baltimore’s inaccessible curb ramps and sidewalks.  

Plaintiffs are represented by the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC); Disability Rights Advocates (DRA); Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho; and Disability Rights Maryland (DRM).

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