Suffolk Independent Living Organization v. Metropolitan Transportation Authority
On July 10, 2020, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), Kasowitz Benson Torres, and the Law Offices of James E. Bahamonde reached an agreement with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to resolve a lawsuit alleging three LIRR stations violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to install elevators when other significant station improvements were performed. This lawsuit was originally filed on April 23, 2019 on behalf of Raymond Harewood, David Rodriguez, Gina Barbara, and the Suffolk Independent Living Organization.
In the agreement, the MTA and LIRR have agreed to install elevators as well as make other essential updates, under the oversight of an independent expert, to bring the Amityville, Copaigue, and Lindenhurst LIRR stations into full compliance with the ADA.
The plaintiffs have for decades been unable to access their neighborhood LIRR stations, forcing them to find other transportation or depend on others for help. These new updates will allow them and thousands of other mobility-disabled individuals to fully access their local stations and provide them with greater independence and transportation options.
In addition to the installation of elevators at each station, the MTA and LIRR will remediate amenities along the paths of travel within the station, as well as all access barriers at the stations, including parking lots, exterior routes of travel, waiting rooms, and bathrooms. Initial remediations are expected to be completed by September 2021, with a full project completion deadline of June 2023. An independent accessibility expert will be reviewing plans for and completion of the updates to confirm compliance with the ADA. These updates are expected to fall under the MTA’s larger 2020-2024 Capital Plan, which includes $54.8 billion of investments in the region’s subways, buses, commuter railroads, bridges, and tunnels.