Case: United Spinal Association v. Board of Elections in the City of New York

1:10-cv-05653 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Filed Date: July 26, 2010

Closed Date: Jan. 10, 2020

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On July 26, 2010, the United Spinal Association and Disabled in Action represented by Disabled Rights Advocates filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the Board of Elections in the City of New York under the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.) and the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. § 794). They sought declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the defendants knowingly failed to fix deficiencies in accessibility at pollin…

On July 26, 2010, the United Spinal Association and Disabled in Action represented by Disabled Rights Advocates filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the Board of Elections in the City of New York under the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.) and the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. § 794). They sought declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the defendants knowingly failed to fix deficiencies in accessibility at polling places throughout New York City.

The parties each sought summary judgment. On August 8, 2012, the District Court (Judge Deborah A. Batts) granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, holding that the Board of Elections' failure to remedy the accessibility issues at various polling places across the city denied disabled voters a meaningful opportunity to participate in or benefit from the city's voting program and was in violation of both the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. 882 F. Supp. 2d 615. Accordingly, the judge ordered the Board of Elections to implement a program to allow voters with disabilities the ability to vote. Following an appearance by the Department of Justice, the two sides and the DOJ came to an agreement regulating the new procedure that the Board of Elections would follow to ensure that voters with disabilities had fair access to the polls. The court ruled that it would retain jurisdiction over the case to monitor compliance until December 2016, and that implementation would be overseen by Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman.

In the meantime, the City appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on November 5, 2012. The Second Circuit (Judge Carbanes, Hall, and Chin) heard oral argument on December 12, 2013 and then on May 14, 2014, the court issued its decision affirming the district court’s ruling. The court held that the plaintiffs did not need to show that any voters had been “disenfranchised” by the barriers, but only needed to show that the Board of Elections failed to provide “meaningful access” and that the Board had failed to dispute the existence of barriers. In addition, the court acknowledged the difficulty of meeting the requirements of the remedial order but concluded that injunctive relief was a reasonable remedial order, albeit one that would require prudent oversight. 752 F.3d 189.

Afterward, on February 5, 2015, the parties reached an agreement for attorney’s fees in the amount of $1.8 million which the judge confirmed on March 10, 2015. In January 2017, Judge Batts extended the court's jurisdiction over the case until December 2019. Meanwhile, the defendants continued to take measures to comply with the court’s remedial order and plaintiffs filed reports about the status of election location access. The parties hired a third-party expert to survey sites and make recommendations for alterations to meet the requirements of the remedial order.

Then, on February 14, 2017 the plaintiffs moved to join the New York Department of Education to enforce the remedial order. They did so because roughly half of all polling locations in New York are at schools, and 83% of them (according to the DOJ) were not fully accessible for people with disabilities.

On October 11, 2017, Judge Pitman issued an opinion recommending that the District Court reject the plaintiff’s motion to join the Department of Education. 2017 WL 8683672. While Judge Pitman recognized that if the Department of Education had been included at the start of litigation, it would have allowed for more complete relief to be rendered, he did not think it appropriate to join the Department without giving them a chance to defend themselves in court. On March 27, 2018, Judge Batts adopted Judge Pitt's recommendation. 2018 WL 1582231.

On April 26, 2018, the parties reached a settlement agreement as to payment of attorneys' fees for all post-judgment activity. Under the settlement, the City of New York agreed to pay Disability Rights Advocates $455,000.

On May 30, 2019, the parties filed a joint motion to reopen the case. Specifically, they asked that the court to reduce the defendant's reporting requirements. On June 11, 2019, Judge Batts granted the motion.

On November 27, 2019, the plaintiffs wrote to the court and recommended that the court allow its jurisdiction over enforcement of the remedial order to expire as scheduled on December 31, 2019. The plaintiffs agreed that the defendant was compliant with the court order and had substantially improved polling place accessibility. The defendants submitted a similar letter on December 1, 2019.

On January 10, 2020, Judge Batts acknowledged receipt of both letters and declared that the court's jurisdiction was thereby terminated. The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Jonathan Forman (6/30/2013)

Will McCartney (2/18/2018)

Hope Brinn (4/20/2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4347956/parties/united-spinal-association-v-board-of-elections-in-the-city-of-new-york/


Judge(s)

Batts, Deborah A. (New York)

Cabranes, José Alberto (Connecticut)

Chin, Denny (New York)

Hall, Peter W. (Vermont)

Pitman, Henry B. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Brandt-Young, Christina (New York)

Chuang, Christine (California)

Elsberry, Ronald (California)

Kozak-Oxnard, Andrea Moody (New York)

Packrone, Seth Emmanuel (New York)

Judge(s)

Batts, Deborah A. (New York)

Cabranes, José Alberto (Connecticut)

Chin, Denny (New York)

Hall, Peter W. (Vermont)

Pitman, Henry B. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Brandt-Young, Christina (New York)

Chuang, Christine (California)

Elsberry, Ronald (California)

Kozak-Oxnard, Andrea Moody (New York)

Packrone, Seth Emmanuel (New York)

Pinover, Julia (New York)

Seaborn, Stuart (California)

Wang, Mariann Meier (New York)

Wolinsky, Sidney M. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Kitzinger, Stephen Edward (New York)

Koerner, Leonard J. (New York)

Other Attorney(s)

Schlesinger, Alan Maer (New York)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Mintzer, Kevin Todd (New York)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Jan. 10, 2020 Docket
1

Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief

July 26, 2010 Complaint
50

Order [Denying Motion for a Preliminary Injunction]

Oct. 28, 2010 Order/Opinion
57

Order [Denying Motion to Dismiss Complaint]

Jan. 28, 2011 Order/Opinion
105

Memorandum & Order [Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and Denying Defendant's for Summary Judgment]

882 F.Supp.2d 615

Aug. 8, 2012 Order/Opinion
106

Memorandum & Order [Withdrawing Reference to Magistrate Judge Pitman]

Aug. 8, 2012 Order/Opinion
119

Order

Oct. 8, 2012 Order/Opinion
123

Notice of Appeal

Oct. 26, 2012 Notice Letter
127

Order

Jan. 28, 2013 Order/Opinion
130

Modified Order

May 13, 2013 Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4347956/united-spinal-association-v-board-of-elections-in-the-city-of-new-york/

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

Complaint

July 26, 2010 RECAP
2

Rule 7.1 Corporate Disclosure Statement

July 26, 2010 PACER
3

Affidavit of Service Complaints

Aug. 11, 2010 PACER
4

Affidavit of Service Complaints

Aug. 12, 2010 PACER
5

Motion for Limited Admission

Aug. 12, 2010 PACER
6

Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice

Aug. 13, 2010 PACER
7

Notice of Appearance

Aug. 19, 2010 PACER
8

Endorsed Letter

Aug. 24, 2010 PACER
9

Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice

Aug. 26, 2010 PACER
10

Order on Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice

Sept. 2, 2010 PACER
11

Order on Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice

Sept. 15, 2010 PACER
12

Order to Show Cause

Sept. 28, 2010 PACER
13

Motion for Preliminary Injunction

1 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

2 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

Sept. 29, 2010 PACER
14

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

Sept. 29, 2010 PACER
15

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

2 Exhibit

View on PACER

Sept. 29, 2010 PACER
16

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

2 Exhibit

View on PACER

Sept. 29, 2010 PACER
17

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

2 Exhibit

View on PACER

3 Exhibit

View on PACER

4 Exhibit

View on PACER

5 Exhibit

View on PACER

6 Exhibit

View on PACER

7 Exhibit

View on PACER

Sept. 29, 2010 PACER
18

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

Sept. 29, 2010 PACER
19

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

Sept. 29, 2010 PACER
20

Declaration in Support of Motion

Sept. 29, 2010 PACER
21

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

2 Exhibit

View on PACER

3 Exhibit

View on PACER

Sept. 29, 2010 PACER
22

Affidavit in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

2 Exhibit

View on PACER

3 Exhibit

View on PACER

4 Exhibit

View on PACER

5 Exhibit

View on PACER

6 Exhibit

View on PACER

7 Exhibit

View on PACER

8 Exhibit

View on PACER

Sept. 29, 2010 PACER
23

Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion

1 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

Sept. 29, 2010 PACER
24

Declaration in Support of Motion

Sept. 29, 2010 PACER
25

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B

View on PACER

Sept. 29, 2010 PACER
26

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit 1

View on PACER

2 Exhibit 2

View on PACER

3 Exhibit 3

View on PACER

4 Exhibit 4

View on PACER

5 Exhibit 5

View on PACER

6 Exhibit 6

View on PACER

Sept. 29, 2010 PACER
27

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

Sept. 29, 2010 PACER
28

Motion for Preliminary Injunction

1 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

Oct. 1, 2010 PACER
29

Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion

Oct. 1, 2010 PACER
30

Affidavit in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B (Part 1)

View on PACER

3 Exhibit B (Part 2)

View on PACER

4 Exhibit B (Part 3)

View on PACER

5 Exhibit B (Part 4)

View on PACER

6 Exhibit B (Part 5)

View on PACER

7 Exhibit C

View on PACER

8 Exhibit D

View on PACER

Oct. 1, 2010 PACER
31

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A (Excerpt)

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B

View on PACER

3 Errata C (Excerpt)

View on PACER

Oct. 1, 2010 PACER
32

Declaration in Support of Motion

Oct. 1, 2010 PACER
33

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

Oct. 1, 2010 PACER
34

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

Oct. 1, 2010 PACER
35

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B

View on PACER

3 Exhibit C

View on PACER

4 Exhibit D

View on PACER

5 Exhibit E

View on PACER

6 Exhibit F

View on PACER

7 Exhibit G

View on PACER

Oct. 1, 2010 PACER
36

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B

View on PACER

Oct. 1, 2010 PACER
37

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B

View on PACER

Oct. 1, 2010 PACER
38

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

Oct. 1, 2010 PACER
39

Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion

Oct. 1, 2010 PACER
40

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

Oct. 1, 2010 PACER
41

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit 1

View on PACER

2 Exhibit 2

View on PACER

3 Exhibit 3

View on PACER

4 Exhibit 4

View on PACER

5 Exhibit 5

View on PACER

6 Errata 6

View on PACER

Oct. 1, 2010 PACER
42

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B

View on PACER

Oct. 1, 2010 PACER
43

Declaration in Support of Motion

Oct. 1, 2010 PACER
44

Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion

1 Text of Proposed Order Amended Proposed OSC

View on PACER

Oct. 1, 2010 PACER
45

Endorsed Letter

Oct. 5, 2010 PACER
46

Notice (Other)

1 Errata Complete Exhibit B to Rima McCoy's Supplemental Declaration in Suppo

View on PACER

Oct. 8, 2010 PACER
47

Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Motion

Oct. 12, 2010 PACER
48

Declaration in Opposition to Motion

Oct. 12, 2010 PACER
49

Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Motion

Oct. 13, 2010 PACER
50

Order on Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Oct. 28, 2010 PACER
51

Transcript

Nov. 5, 2010 PACER
52

Transcript

Nov. 5, 2010 PACER
53

Notice (Other)

Nov. 24, 2010 PACER
54

Order

Jan. 6, 2011 PACER
55

Motion to Dismiss

Jan. 24, 2011 PACER
56

Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion

Jan. 24, 2011 PACER
57

Order on Motion to Dismiss

Jan. 28, 2011 PACER
58

Answer to Complaint

Feb. 16, 2011 PACER
59

Notice of Appearance

March 1, 2011 PACER
60

Notice of Appearance

March 2, 2011 PACER
61

Scheduling Order

March 18, 2011 PACER
62

Notice of Change of Address

May 2, 2011 PACER
63

Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice

Oct. 21, 2011 PACER
64

Order on Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice

Nov. 16, 2011 PACER
65

Scheduling Order

Dec. 14, 2011 PACER
66

Endorsed Letter

Feb. 1, 2012 PACER
67

Motion for Partial Summary Judgment

March 16, 2012 PACER
68

Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion

March 16, 2012 PACER
69

Rule 56.1 Statement

March 16, 2012 PACER
70

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B

View on PACER

3 Exhibit C

View on PACER

4 Exhibit D

View on PACER

5 Exhibit E

View on PACER

6 Exhibit F

View on PACER

7 Exhibit G

View on PACER

8 Exhibit H

View on PACER

9 Exhibit I

View on PACER

10 Exhibit J

View on PACER

11 Exhibit K

View on PACER

12 Exhibit L

View on PACER

13 Exhibit M

View on PACER

14 Exhibit N

View on PACER

15 Exhibit O

View on PACER

March 16, 2012 PACER
71

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B

View on PACER

3 Exhibit C

View on PACER

4 Exhibit D

View on PACER

5 Exhibit E

View on PACER

6 Exhibit F

View on PACER

7 Exhibit G

View on PACER

8 Exhibit H

View on PACER

9 Exhibit I

View on PACER

10 Exhibit J

View on PACER

11 Exhibit K

View on PACER

12 Exhibit L

View on PACER

March 16, 2012 PACER
72

Declaration in Support of Motion

March 16, 2012 PACER
73

Declaration in Support of Motion

March 16, 2012 PACER
74

Declaration in Support of Motion

March 16, 2012 PACER
75

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B

View on PACER

3 Exhibit C

View on PACER

4 Exhibit D

View on PACER

5 Exhibit E

View on PACER

6 Exhibit F

View on PACER

7 Exhibit G

View on PACER

8 Exhibit H

View on PACER

9 Exhibit I

View on PACER

10 Exhibit J

View on PACER

11 Exhibit K

View on PACER

12 Exhibit L

View on PACER

13 Exhibit M

View on PACER

14 Exhibit N

View on PACER

March 16, 2012 PACER
76

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B

View on PACER

3 Exhibit C

View on PACER

4 Exhibit D

View on PACER

5 Exhibit E

View on PACER

6 Exhibit F

View on PACER

7 Exhibit G

View on PACER

8 Exhibit H

View on PACER

9 Exhibit I

View on PACER

10 Exhibit J

View on PACER

March 16, 2012 PACER
77

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B

View on PACER

3 Exhibit C

View on PACER

4 Exhibit D

View on PACER

5 Exhibit E

View on PACER

6 Exhibit F

View on PACER

7 Exhibit G

View on PACER

8 Exhibit H

View on PACER

March 16, 2012 PACER
78

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

March 16, 2012 PACER
79

Declaration in Support of Motion

1 Exhibit 1-12C

View on PACER

2 Exhibit Sources Relied Upon

View on PACER

3 Exhibit Texts Relied Upon

View on PACER

March 16, 2012 PACER
80

Motion for Miscellaneous Relief

1 Exhibit 1

View on PACER

2 Exhibit 2

View on PACER

3 Exhibit 3

View on PACER

4 Exhibit 4

View on PACER

5 Exhibit 5

View on PACER

6 Exhibit 6

View on PACER

7 Exhibit 7

View on PACER

8 Exhibit 8

View on PACER

9 Exhibit 9

View on PACER

March 16, 2012 PACER
81

Motion for Summary Judgment

March 16, 2012 PACER
82

Rule 56.1 Statement

March 16, 2012 PACER
83

Declaration in Support of Motion

March 16, 2012 PACER
84

Declaration in Support of Motion

March 16, 2012 PACER
85

Declaration in Support of Motion

March 16, 2012 PACER
86

Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion

March 16, 2012 PACER
87

Endorsed Letter

April 12, 2012 PACER
88

Endorsed Letter

April 24, 2012 PACER
89

Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Motion

April 27, 2012 PACER
90

Counter Statement to Rule 56.1

April 27, 2012 PACER
91

Declaration in Opposition to Motion

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B

View on PACER

April 27, 2012 PACER
92

Declaration in Opposition to Motion

April 27, 2012 PACER
93

Declaration in Opposition to Motion

April 27, 2012 PACER
94

Declaration in Opposition to Motion

April 27, 2012 PACER
95

Counter Statement to Rule 56.1

April 27, 2012 PACER
96

Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Motion

April 27, 2012 PACER
97

Declaration in Opposition to Motion

April 27, 2012 PACER
98

Declaration in Opposition to Motion

April 27, 2012 PACER
99

Declaration in Opposition to Motion

April 27, 2012 PACER
100

Reply Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion

May 11, 2012 PACER

State / Territory: New York

Case Type(s):

Election/Voting Rights

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 26, 2010

Closing Date: Jan. 10, 2020

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Individuals with disabilities denied meaningful access to the ballot

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Board of Elections in the City of New York (New York), City

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

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

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Non-settlement Outcome

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Declaratory Judgment

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: 2,255,000

Order Duration: 2012 - 2019

Content of Injunction:

Reasonable Accommodation

Discrimination Prohibition

Develop anti-discrimination policy

Provide antidiscrimination training

Reporting

Issues

General:

Access to public accommodations - governmental

Barrier Removal

Government Services

Reasonable Accommodations

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Voting

Voting access

Discrimination-area:

Accommodation / Leave

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

Mobility impairment

Type of Facility:

Government-run

Voting:

Election administration