Liberty Resources, Inc v. the City of Philadelphia

Scroll to case documents Date Filed: 08/26/2019 Status:

Are you a person who has a disability or impairment that affects your mobility? Do you also use pedestrian rights of way (public sidewalks, curb ramps, and crosswalks) in the City of Philadelphia? Click here to read the Class Notice describing a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit that may affect your rights.

In August 2019, DRA filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleging that the City of Philadelphia discriminates against residents and visitors with disabilities that affect their mobility by failing to make its sidewalks and pedestrian routes accessible.

When we filed suit, some corners lacked curb ramps altogether, while others had ramps that were so narrow, steep, or damaged that they were unusable.  When a person who uses a mobility device encounters such a corner, they must either back-track and find another—indirect—route, or undertake dangerous maneuvers like “jumping” the curb or traveling in the street alongside vehicular traffic.

In July 2020, the Court certified the case as a class action.

In October 2022, DRA achieved commitments from the City of Philadelphia to dedicate significant resources to drastically improve the accessibility of Philadelphia’s sidewalks. Among other actions, the City will install or remediate at least 10,000 curb ramps over the next 15 years, maintain existing curb ramps, and issue annual progress reports, all with the federal court maintaining jurisdiction over the agreement.

The court has preliminarily approved the settlement, and scheduled a fairness hearing for February 7, 2023. The hearing will be held at the James A. Byrne Courthouse, 601 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106 in Courtroom 15A. If finally approved by the Court, the settlement agreement will require the City to:

  • Install or Remediate at least 10,000 curb ramps over the 15-year Settlement Period, with 2,000-ramp milestones every three years.
  • Install accessible curb ramps where they are missing and fix curb ramps where they are noncompliant whenever the City newly constructs or alters a road or street with a pedestrian walkway, unless crossing is banned for all pedestrians due to safety concerns or a fully compliant curb ramp is technically infeasible;
  • Maintain in operable working condition those curb ramps over which it has responsibility.
  • Establish a Curb Ramp Request System for City residents to request installation, remediation, or maintenance of ramps at any crossing identified on more than 600 pages included in the Settlement. The Settlement sets out timelines for prompt investigation and fulfillment of requests.
  • Post progress reports on the City’s official website on the number and location of curb ramps installed or remediated under the agreement.

The class action lawsuit was brought by four individuals with mobility disabilities who live in Philadelphia and three non-profit organizations that advocate for people with disabilities: Liberty Resources, Inc.; Disabled In Action of Pennsylvania; and Philadelphia ADAPT. Plaintiffs and the certified Class are represented by DRA and David Ferleger.

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