On May 27, 2020, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California preliminarily approved a class action settlement on behalf of persons with mobility disabilities who live in or visit the City of San Jose whereby the City will install and upgrade approximately 27,621 curb ramps over the next 18 years. The Court ordered class notice to be publicly posted by June 16, 2020. The Final Approval hearing is set for September 2, 2020.
This remarkable settlement was achieved collaboratively without a lawsuit after GBDH, along with co-counsel Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, alerted the City to the way in which its inaccessible curb ramps prevented individuals with mobility disabilities from independently and fully participating in City life. The City of San Jose agreed to work together with its residents and visitors with mobility disabilities, with GBDH and co-counsel as their representatives, to address this urgent civil rights and safety issue and to achieve San Jose’s goal of embracing the letter and spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other civil rights laws. This settlement represents the fruit of that effort.
The parties engaged in structured negotiations over a multi-year period. During their negotiations, the parties reached an interim agreement requiring the City to conduct a comprehensive survey of its curb ramps, construct or remediate over 2,700 curb ramps, and resolve curb ramps requests from City residents within 120 days. Once the survey was complete, the parties negotiated and reached a comprehensive consent decree.
Under the settlement, the City will construct or remediate 1,944 high priority curb ramps per year from 2020 to 2030. This is one of the highest annual curb ramp commitments made by a government entity in the United States. From 2031 to 2038, the City will construct or remediate 807 low priority curb ramps per year. To fund this curb ramp work, the City will appropriate at least $13 million per year through 2030. From 2031 through 2038, the City will appropriate an amount equal to at least 10% of its pavement budget for curb ramp construction and remediation. In total, the City will spend more than $130 million dollars bringing its curb ramps into compliance with disability access laws and ensuring that all residents and visitors to San Jose have equal access to the City’s pedestrian rights of way.
The case is Lashbrook v. City of San Jose, Case No. 20-cv-01236-NC before Judge Nathanael Cousins in the Northern District of California.