Ochoa, et al. v. City of Long Beach, et al.
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 discrimination 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.
On October 17, 2017, after over 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 was 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. In the meantime, the City will immediately begin installing curb ramps at thousands of intersections where they are currently missing. Existing curb ramps that are damaged and unusable by people with disabilities will be fixed over the next 30 years, with a budget of up to $175 million, plus an additional fund of up to $500,000 each year to fix pedestrian barriers specifically reported by citizens. These improvements, backed by strong financial commitments and policy changes, will ensure all residents and visitors of Long Beach are free to safely travel and enjoy pedestrian pathways for working, shopping, and dining.