May 4, 2018
University of Washington settles disability access lawsuit, Agrees to fix campus parking problems
(Seattle, WA) – The University of Washington has agreed to correct and remove access barriers for individuals with mobility impairments at 77 of its parking facilities at its Seattle campus in order to settle a lawsuit alleging numerous violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”), according to lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Darrell Cochran, of the law firm Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala.
“We are pleased that the University agreed to address the problems identified in the lawsuit so that Washingtonians with mobility impairments can enjoy the equal and fair access to the University that they deserve and are entitled to under the law,” Cochran said. “These corrections have been required under the law for decades and these improvements are a long time coming.”
The lawsuit was brought by three individuals against the University to correct multiple ADA violations in each of the parking facilities. The violations include hazardous slopes and curb cuts that could cause wheelchair users to tip over and inadequate numbers of accessible parking spaces.
“These individuals were students and patrons of the UW with a great amount of Husky Pride who happened to live with impaired mobility,” Cochran said. “The University’s parking hadn’t been compliant with the ADA for many years, and at the end of the day, many Seattle campus parking facilities were incredibly hard or outright dangerous to use for individuals with mobility impairments.” After this lawsuit was filed, the University gave the issue the attention and priority it deserved, Cochran said.
As a part of the settlement, a federal district court approved a consent decree, which is a way for the plaintiffs and the Court to monitor the improvements and make sure the necessary actions are being taken. The University will correct the accessibility problems over the next 15 years, including major construction and structural changes to some parking facilities.
“We are especially pleased that the University has committed to oversight by and cooperation with the plaintiffs,” Cochran said. “We are proud that we were able to deliver a settlement that gives the individuals most affected by these issues an equal seat at the table and an equal voice in the process of making sure these problems are fixed correctly and completely.”