Case: Abrahams v. MTA Long Island Bus

2:10-cv-01535 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

Filed Date: April 7, 2010

Closed Date: 2011

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On April 7, 2010 eight people with disabilities who live in several communities in Nassau County, New York filed a class action lawsuit alleging violations of their civil rights in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The Plaintiffs, represented by a private attorney, sought declaratory and injunctive relief and damages, claiming that the Defendant's decision to discontinue its paratransit service for people with disabilities violated the Americans with Disabi…

On April 7, 2010 eight people with disabilities who live in several communities in Nassau County, New York filed a class action lawsuit alleging violations of their civil rights in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The Plaintiffs, represented by a private attorney, sought declaratory and injunctive relief and damages, claiming that the Defendant's decision to discontinue its paratransit service for people with disabilities violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the regulations promulgated to implement it. Specifically, the Plaintiffs claim that the Defendant's decision to discontinue the paratransit program violated the ADA's requirement "to provide with respect to the operations of its [transit system] paratransit and other special transportation services to individuals with disabilities,... that are sufficient to provide such individuals a level of service which is comparable to the level of designated public transportation services provided to individuals without disabilities using such system..." Furthermore, the Plaintiffs claim that the Defendant violated the ADA and the act's regulations by failing to provide an adequate mechanism for public comment from the disabled community as required by the relevant provisions when the decision to terminate the paratransit program was made.

On April 9, 2010 the Court entered a temporary restraining order preventing the defendant from implementing any changes to its paratransit program. The temporary restraining order stayed in effect until May 25, 2010.

The Defendant filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and on May 25, 2010 the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York granted the motion while simultaneously denying the Plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction enjoining the Defendant from implementing its plan to discontinue the paratransit program. The court first addressed the Plaintiff's public comment claim. Without deciding whether the regulations promulgated to implement the ADA provide a private right of action, the court granted the Defendant's motion because it found that the regulation cited by the Plaintiffs was not applicable to the reduction in paratransit services. The court found that the Defendant's original paratransit plan went above and beyond the requirements of the ADA. Consequently, even after the termination of that program, the Defendant remained in compliance with the ADA. Therefore, the court found that the regulation which says, "if an entity has met and is continuing to meet all requirements for complementary paratransit... the entity may submit to FTA an annual certification of continued compliance in lieu of a plan update," applies. Moreover, the court pointed towards the regulation that states an "entity... ensure public participation in the development of its paratransit plan," as opposed to a modification. In the end, the court found that the regulations at issue did not require the MTA to include public participation in its decision to end the paratransit program. Additionally, the court found that the plaintiffs could not establish a prima facie case of unconstitutional discrimination based on disparate impact because the services offered after the reductions in service would still meet the requirements of the ADA.

Plaintiffs filed an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit on May 26, 2010. In their appeal, the plaintiffs argued that the District Court had misinterpreted the ADA by regulations finding that they did not require public participation to implement the change to the paratransit program. The plaintiffs argued that the regulations at issue require public participation not only during the development of the paratransit program required by the ADA but also during the continued operation of such a plan, including during the period in which changes are proposed.

The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's orders, finding that the defendant's paratransit program went above and beyond the requirements of the ADA. In fact, the Court found that the Defendant's "Able-Ride" paratransit program substantially exceeded the level of accessible transportation required by the ADA. Furthermore, and most importantly, the Circuit Court found that the public comment regulation was not enforceable through a private right of action. Specifically, the Court found that a private right of action does not exist to enfore the Department of Transportation's ongoing public participation regulation.

Summary Authors

Justin Benson (6/20/2011)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5605242/parties/abrahams-v-mta-long-island-bus/


Judge(s)

Feuerstein, Sandra J. (New York)

Parker, Barrington Daniels Jr. (New York)

Raggi, Reena (New York)

Sack, Robert David (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Schonfeld, Robert L. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Friedman, Shawn Marcus (New York)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Judge(s)

Feuerstein, Sandra J. (New York)

Parker, Barrington Daniels Jr. (New York)

Raggi, Reena (New York)

Sack, Robert David (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Schonfeld, Robert L. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Friedman, Shawn Marcus (New York)

Other Attorney(s)

Fromm, Helene (New York)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

April 7, 2010 Docket
4

Amended Complaint

April 7, 2010 Complaint
26

Order

2010 WL 2134288

May 25, 2010 Order/Opinion
34

Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law in Support of Application to Vacate Previous Order of This Court

June 18, 2010 Pleading / Motion / Brief
90

Brief for Plaintiffs-Appellants in an Appeal from an Order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

July 26, 2010 Pleading / Motion / Brief
101

Reply Brief for Plaintiffs-Appellants in an Appeal from an Order of the United States District for the Eastern District of New York

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Aug. 16, 2010 Pleading / Motion / Brief
36

Order

March 21, 2011 Order/Opinion

Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

644 F.3d 110, 2011 WL 1678417

May 5, 2011 Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5605242/abrahams-v-mta-long-island-bus/

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
26

ORDER granting 16 Motion to Dismiss. Plffs' motion for a preliminary injunction is denied and dft's motion to dismiss the complaint is granted. The Clerk of the Court is directed to close this case. Ordered by Judge Sandra J. Feuerstein on 5/25/2010. (Brienza, Lauren) (Main Document 26 replaced on 5/27/2010) (Brienza, Lauren).

May 25, 2010 RECAP

State / Territory: New York

Case Type(s):

Disability Rights/Public Accommodations

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 7, 2010

Closing Date: 2011

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Putative class of persons with disabilities who use the Metropolitan Transit Authority para-transit able ride program.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Denied

Defendants

MTA Long Island Bus (New York), City

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.

Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.

Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701

State law

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief denied

Issues

General:

Access to public accommodations - governmental

Government Services

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable Modifications

Transportation