Case: Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America v. University of Michigan

2:07-cv-11702 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Filed Date: April 17, 2007

Closed Date: 2013

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On April 17, 2007, the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America (MPVA) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§12131 et seq. (ADA), against the University of Michigan. The complaint alleged that the University was discriminating against disabled members of the Plaintiff group and others similarly situated by denying them equal access to seating at the University of Michigan Football Stadiu…

On April 17, 2007, the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America (MPVA) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§12131 et seq. (ADA), against the University of Michigan. The complaint alleged that the University was discriminating against disabled members of the Plaintiff group and others similarly situated by denying them equal access to seating at the University of Michigan Football Stadium. The United States of America joined the case as a Plaintiff Intervenor on November 27, 2007, bringing additional claims under Title II of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794.

The University of Michigan Football Stadium is the biggest football stadium in America--it has a seating capacity of over 107,000. At the time of the MPVA's initial complaint, there were fewer than 100 wheelchair accessible seats in the stadium, and these seats were consolidated in a single area. The MPVA alleged that the stadium had undergone multiple substantial renovations which the University knew or should have known would trigger compliance with the ADA, and that under the ADA guidelines the stadium must have at least 1% of its seating be accessible to wheelchair users. These seats must be distributed throughout the stadium, at various price ranges. The MPVA alleged that the wheelchair accessible section failed to provide adequate companion seating, as only one companion could accompany each wheelchair user, and these companions were forced to sit behind the wheelchair user, instead of next to him or her. It was also alleged that, among several other issues, the restrooms and the concessions were largely inaccessible and there was insufficient parking space for the disabled.

The complaint alleged that the denial of basic accessibility resulted in the isolation of the disabled and the perpetuation of social stigmas, loneliness, and social deprivation, and that therefore the University seriously injured the MPVA and its members, and others similarly situated.

The United States of America joined the case as an intervening plaintiff on November 27, 2007, represented by attorneys from the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. In its complaint, the government raised many of the same arguments as the MPVA, and made additional claims arising under Title II of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794. The United States and the MPVA sought to have the court enjoin the University from engaging in discriminatory policies and practices against the disabled, and order the University to bring the stadium into compliance with the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.

On March 10, 2008, the parties entered into a consent decree, in which the University denied having violated the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, but agreed to make substantial changes to its practices and policies, and to the stadium itself. The University agreed to add one section of additional 96 accessible seats and 96 companion seats by the start of the 2008 football season, and to add several more sections in locations around the stadium by the start of the 2010 season, as well as at least 379 additional accessible seats dispersed throughout the stadium, also by the start of the 2010 season. The parties committed to negotiate, at the end of 2010, regarding whether additional seats were necessary.

The University also committed to ensuring its ticketing and pricing policies to afford wheelchair users the opportunity to fully participate in the stadium's services, programs, and activities. The University agreed to create a separate waiting list for purchasing season tickets solely for individuals needing wheelchair-accessible seating, and to assign these purchasers the same wheelchair and companion seats throughout the season.

The University agreed to make substantial changes to increase the accessibility of the restrooms in the stadium. It agreed to add wheelchair parking spots to two parking lots, and to provide accessible transportation from these lots to the stadium and back. Beginning in March 2009, both the United States and the MPVA can initiate negotiations regarding additional parking or accessible transportation, if they have concerns about the adequacy of the parking or transportation arrangement.

The University further agreed to provide training on all components of the Consent Decree to all its employees and contractors who have contact with patrons with disabilities. The Department of Justice has the option of attending these training sessions while the Decree is in effect. The University agreed to aggressively market and publicize, during the full period of the Decree, the availability, location, and prices of the newly expanded accessible seating, as well as other accessibility-enhancing changes to the stadium.

The University agreed to report regularly to the MPVA and the Department of Justice on its progress in implementing the Consent Decree, and to submit to their monitoring of the same. The University also made several other commitments secondary to those discussed above in the Consent Decree.

The Consent Decree expired in March 2013, five years after its start date.

Summary Authors

Alex Colbert-Taylor (5/30/2013)

People


Judge(s)

Cox, Sean Francis (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bernstein, Richard H. (Michigan)

Blau, Michael (Michigan)

Cohen, David M. (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Goudie, Katherine D. (Michigan)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Active

Active

Active

Active

Judge(s)

Cox, Sean Francis (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bernstein, Richard H. (Michigan)

Blau, Michael (Michigan)

Cohen, David M. (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Goudie, Katherine D. (Michigan)

Other Attorney(s)

Booth, David M. (District of Columbia)

Breen, Philip L. (District of Columbia)

Brooks, Keefe (Michigan)

Comisac, Rena J. (District of Columbia)

DeClercg, Susan K. (Michigan)

Devine, Kathleen Susan (District of Columbia)

Wodatch, John L. (District of Columbia)

Wohlenhaus, Renee M. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America v. University of Michigan

May 3, 2010 Docket
1

Complaint

Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America v. The University of Michigan

April 17, 2007 Complaint
13

United States' Motion to Intervene

Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America v. The University of Michigan

Nov. 20, 2007 Pleading / Motion / Brief
15

Order Permitting Entry Upon Land

Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America v. The University of Michigan

Nov. 26, 2007 Order/Opinion
17

Complaint in Intervention

Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America v. The University of Michigan

Nov. 27, 2007 Complaint
23

Consent Decree

Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America v. The University of Michigan

March 10, 2008 Settlement Agreement

Docket

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

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT filed by Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America against University of Michigan, Receipt No: 6529−AA − Fee: $ 350. (SMar) (Entered: 04/17/2007)

April 17, 2007
2

CERTIFICATE of Service/Summons Returned Executed. University of Michigan served on 4/19/2007, answer due 5/9/2007. (CGre) (Entered: 04/27/2007)

April 27, 2007
3

NOTICE TO APPEAR: Status Conference set for 5/15/2007 10:00 AM before Honorable Sean F Cox (JHer) (Entered: 05/02/2007)

May 2, 2007
4

NOTICE of Appearance by Keefe A. Brooks on behalf of all defendants. (Brooks, Keefe) (Entered: 05/04/2007)

May 4, 2007
5

NOTICE of Appearance by Katherine D. Goudie on behalf of University of Michigan. (Goudie, Katherine) (Entered: 05/04/2007)

May 4, 2007
6

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America POS − Status Conference Notice (Cohen, David) (Entered: 05/07/2007)

May 7, 2007

Minute Entry −Status Conference held on 5/15/2007 before Honorable Sean F Cox. Disposition: HELD AND CONTINUED TO 7/20/07 AT 9:00 A.M. (JHer) (Entered: 05/15/2007)

May 15, 2007
7

ANSWER to Complaint with Affirmative Defenses by all defendants. (Brooks, Keefe) (Entered: 05/21/2007)

May 21, 2007

Minute Entry −Telephone Conference held on 5/21/2007 before Honorable Sean F Cox. (JHer) (Entered: 05/21/2007)

May 21, 2007
8

ANSWER Answer to Affirmative Defenses by Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America. (Cohen, David) (Entered: 05/21/2007)

May 21, 2007
9

ORDER SCHEDULING FACILITATION AND STATUS CONFERENCE: Status Conference set for 7/20/2007 09:00 AM before Honorable Sean F Cox Signed by Honorable Sean F Cox. (Refer to image for additional dates) (BSoc) (Entered: 05/23/2007)

May 21, 2007

Minute Entry −Status Conference held on 8/8/2007 before Honorable Sean F Cox. (JHer) (Entered: 08/08/2007)

Aug. 8, 2007
11

SCHEDULING ORDER: Final Pretrial Conference set for 9/8/2008 02:00 PM before Honorable Sean F Cox , Motion Cut−off set for 4/11/2008 , Trailing Trial Docket set for September / October 2008 , Discovery due by 3/10/2008 Signed by Honorable Sean F Cox. (Refer to image for additional dates) (JHer) (Entered: 08/10/2007)

Aug. 8, 2007
12

NOTICE TO APPEAR: Status Conference set for 11/21/2007 10:00 AM before Honorable Sean F Cox (JHer) (Entered: 11/19/2007)

Nov. 19, 2007
13

MOTION to Intervene by United States of America. (Attachments: # 1 Index of Exhibits # 2 Exhibit 1 − Proposed Complaint in Intervention# 3 Exhibit 2 − U.S. Dept. of Education's 10−26−07 Letter of Findings to U of M# 4 Exhibit 3 − 11−5−07 Letter from Gloria Hage to Harry Orris# 5 Exhibit 4 − 11−7−07 Letter from Harry Orris to Gloria Hage# 6 Exhibit 5 − 11−8−07 Letter from Gloria Hage to Thomas Hibino# 7 Exhibit 6 − 11−9−07 Letter from Stephanie Monroe to Gloria Hage# 8 Exhibit 7 − Referral Letter# 9 Exhibit 8 − Midwest Realty Management Co. v. City of Beavercreek# 10 Exhibit 9 − Michigan State AFL−CIO v. Miller# 11 Exhibit 10 − Grutter v. Bollinger# 12 Exhibit 11 − Jansen v. City of Cincinnati# 13 Exhibit 12 − Purnell v. City of Akron) (DeClercq, Susan) (Entered: 11/20/2007)

Nov. 20, 2007
14

Emergency MOTION for Entry Upon Land by United States of America. (Attachments: # 1 Index of Exhibits # 2 Exhibit 1 − 11−5−07 Letter from Gloria Hage to Harry Orris# 3 Exhibit 2 − Access 4 All, Inc. v. W &D Inv. Co.# 4 Exhibit 3 − Sanford v. Del Taco, Inc.# 5 Exhibit 4 − Doran v. 7−Eleven) (DeClercq, Susan) (Entered: 11/20/2007)

Nov. 20, 2007

Minute Entry −Status Conference held on 11/21/2007 before Honorable Sean F Cox. Disposition: Held(Court Reporter Joan Morgan) (JHer) (Entered: 11/25/2007)

Nov. 21, 2007
15

ORDER granting 14 Motion for Entry Upon Land. Signed by Honorable Sean F Cox. (JHer) (Entered: 11/26/2007)

Nov. 26, 2007
16

ORDER granting 13 Motion to Intervene. Signed by Honorable Sean F Cox. (CGre) (Entered: 11/27/2007)

Nov. 26, 2007
17

INTERVENOR COMPLAINT filed by United States of America against University of Michigan. (NHol) (Entered: 11/28/2007)

Nov. 27, 2007
18

ANSWER to Intervenor Complaint with Affirmative Defenses by all defendants. (Brooks, Keefe) (Entered: 12/17/2007)

Dec. 17, 2007
19

TRANSCRIPT of Status Conference, Motion to Intervene, Rule 35 Motion held on 11/21/07. (Court Reporter: Joan L. Morgan) (Number of Pages: 11) (CGre) (Entered: 12/21/2007)

Dec. 20, 2007
20

STIPULATION AND ORDER Extending Witness List Deadline. Witness Lists due by 2/7/2008 Signed by Honorable Sean F Cox. (JHer) (Entered: 01/07/2008)

Jan. 7, 2008
21

NOTICE TO APPEAR: Status Conference set for 1/31/2008 03:00 PM before Honorable Sean F Cox (JHer) (Entered: 01/30/2008)

Jan. 30, 2008

Minute Entry −Status Conference held on 1/31/2008 before Honorable Sean F Cox. (JHer) (Entered: 01/31/2008)

Jan. 31, 2008
22

NOTICE TO APPEAR: Status Conference set for 3/10/2008 02:00 PM before Honorable Sean F Cox (JHer) (Entered: 01/31/2008)

Jan. 31, 2008

Reset Scheduling Order Deadlines: Witness Lists due 3/10/2008 (JHer) (Entered: 01/31/2008)

Jan. 31, 2008
23

CONSENT DECREE by Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America, United States of America, University of Michigan, University of Michigan, Regents of (Attachments: # 1 Index of Exhibits, # 2 Exhibit A−Specs for Consent Decree, # 3 Exhibit B−Index of Drawings) (Brooks, Keefe) (Entered: 03/10/2008)

March 10, 2008

ORAL EXPARTE MOTION for Leave to File Exhibits in the Traditional Manner by University of Michigan. (JHer) (Entered: 03/11/2008)

March 10, 2008
24

ORDER Granting Oral ExParte Motion for Leave to File Exhibits in the Traditional Manner. Signed by Honorable Sean F Cox. (BSoc) (Entered: 03/11/2008)

March 10, 2008
25

ATTORNEY SUBSTITUTION for University of Michigan: Keefe A. Brooks added. Attorney Katherine D. Goudie terminated. (Brooks, Keefe) (Entered: 04/27/2009)

April 27, 2009
26

NOTICE of Appearance by Michael J. Blau on behalf of Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America. (Blau, Michael) (Entered: 05/03/2010)

May 3, 2010

State / Territory: Michigan

Case Type(s):

Disability Rights/Public Accommodations

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 17, 2007

Closing Date: 2013

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America, a group with disabled members, alleging the University of Michigan discriminated against them by failing to provide adequate accessible seating at the U of M Football Stadium. Also the United States of America DOJ, as intervenor plaintiff.

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Washtenaw), State

Defendant Type(s):

Movie Theater or Other Entertainment facility

College/University

Case Details

Causes of Action:

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

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

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 2008 - 2013

Content of Injunction:

Retaliation Prohibition

Reporting

Recordkeeping

Reasonable Accommodation

Provide antidiscrimination training

Monitoring

Goals (e.g., for hiring, admissions)

Discrimination Prohibition

Comply with advertising/recruiting requirements

Issues

General:

Access to public accommodations - governmental

Barrier Removal

Bathrooms

Buildings

Disparate Impact

Disparate Treatment

Parking

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable Modifications

School/University Facilities

School/University policies

Sidewalks

Transportation

Wait lists

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

disability, unspecified

Integrated setting

Mobility impairment

Type of Facility:

Government-run