Dopico v. Goldschmidt, No. 80 Civ. 4562

CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
Writing for the CourtEDWARD WEINFELD
Citation518 F. Supp. 1161
PartiesRhea DOPICO, David Dopico, Muriel Zgardowsky and Vincent Zgardowsky, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. Neil E. GOLDSCHMIDT, individually and in his capacity as Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation; Theodore C. Lutz, individually and in his capacity as Administrator of the United States Urban Mass Transportation Administration; Hiram J. Walker, individually and in his official capacity as Regional Director of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration, Region II; Tri-State Regional Planning Commission; Metropolitan Transportation Authority; New York City Transit Authority; Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority; Staten Island Rapid Transit Operating Authority; Richard Ravitch, individually and in his capacity as Chairman of the Board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Lawrence R. Bailey, Carol Bellamy, Stephen Berger, David W. Brown, Jane K. Butcher, Herbert J. Libert, John F. McAlevey, Ronay Menschel, Daniel T. Scannell, William J. Sheridan, Constantine Sidamon-Eristoff, Robert F. Wagner, Jr., and Robert T. Waldbauer, as Members of the Board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Transit Authority, and Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority; John D. Simpson, individually and in his capacity as Executive Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Edward I. Koch, individually and in his capacity as Mayor of the City of New York; New York City Department of Transportation; and Anthony Ameruso, individually and in his capacity as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, Defendants. DISABLED IN ACTION OF METROPOLITAN NEW YORK, Joseph Deriso, Vincent Venditti, Sally Wetzler, and Bernadino Delacruz, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. Neil E. GOLDSCHMIDT, individually and in his capacity as Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation; Theodore C. Lutz, individually and in his capacity as Administrator of the United States Urban Mass Transportation Administration; Hiram J. Walker, individually and in his capacity as Regional Director of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration, Region II; Metropolitan Transportation Authority; New York City Transit Authority; Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority; Richard Ravitch, individually and in his capacity as Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Lawrence R. Bailey, Carol Bellamy, Stephen Berger, David W. Brown, Jane K. Butcher, Herbert J. Libert, John F. McAlevey, Ronay Menschel, Daniel T. Scannell, William J. Sheridan, Constantine Sidamon-Eristoff, Robert F. Wagner, Jr., and Robert T. Waldbauer, as Members of the Board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Transit Authority, and Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority; John D. Simpson, individually and in his capacity as Executive Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Edward I. Koch, individually and in his capacity as Mayor of the City of New York; New York City Department of Transportation; and Anthony Ameruso, individually and in his capacity as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, Defendants.
Decision Date24 July 1981
Docket Number80 Civ. 4862.,No. 80 Civ. 4562

518 F. Supp. 1161

Rhea DOPICO, David Dopico, Muriel Zgardowsky and Vincent Zgardowsky, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
Neil E. GOLDSCHMIDT, individually and in his capacity as Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation; Theodore C. Lutz, individually and in his capacity as Administrator of the United States Urban Mass Transportation Administration; Hiram J. Walker, individually and in his official capacity as Regional Director of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration, Region

[518 F. Supp. 1162]

II; Tri-State Regional Planning Commission; Metropolitan Transportation Authority; New York City Transit Authority; Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority; Staten Island Rapid Transit Operating Authority; Richard Ravitch, individually and in his capacity as Chairman of the Board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Lawrence R. Bailey, Carol Bellamy, Stephen Berger, David W. Brown, Jane K. Butcher, Herbert J. Libert, John F. McAlevey, Ronay Menschel, Daniel T. Scannell, William J. Sheridan, Constantine Sidamon-Eristoff, Robert F. Wagner, Jr., and Robert T. Waldbauer, as Members of the Board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Transit Authority, and Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority; John D. Simpson, individually and in his capacity as Executive Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Edward I. Koch, individually and in his capacity as Mayor of the City of New York; New York City Department of Transportation; and Anthony Ameruso, individually and in his capacity as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, Defendants.
DISABLED IN ACTION OF METROPOLITAN NEW YORK, Joseph Deriso, Vincent Venditti, Sally Wetzler, and Bernadino Delacruz, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
Neil E. GOLDSCHMIDT, individually and in his capacity as Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation; Theodore C. Lutz, individually and in his capacity as Administrator of the United States Urban Mass Transportation Administration; Hiram J. Walker, individually and in his capacity as Regional Director of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration, Region II; Metropolitan Transportation Authority; New York City Transit Authority; Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority; Richard Ravitch, individually and in his capacity as Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Lawrence R. Bailey, Carol Bellamy, Stephen Berger, David W. Brown, Jane K. Butcher, Herbert J. Libert, John F. McAlevey, Ronay Menschel, Daniel T. Scannell, William J. Sheridan, Constantine Sidamon-Eristoff, Robert F. Wagner, Jr., and Robert T. Waldbauer, as Members of the Board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Transit Authority, and Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority; John D. Simpson, individually and in his capacity as Executive Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Edward I. Koch, individually and in his capacity as Mayor of the City of New York; New York City Department of Transportation; and Anthony Ameruso, individually and in his capacity as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, Defendants

Nos. 80 Civ. 4562, 80 Civ. 4862.

United States District Court, S. D. New York.

July 24, 1981.


518 F. Supp. 1163
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518 F. Supp. 1164
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
518 F. Supp. 1165
Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation B, Brooklyn, N. Y., Community Action for Legal Services, Inc., Handicapped Persons Legal Support Unit, Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts, New York City, for plaintiffs; John C. Gray, Jr., George W. Sampson, Jane Greengold Stevens, Brooklyn, N. Y., Susan Sugar Nathan, Howard G. Lane, Norman Spiegel, Sutton Keany, New York City, of counsel

John S. Martin, Jr., U. S. Atty., S.D.N.Y., New York City, for defendants Goldschmidt, Lutz and Walker; Jane E. Bloom, Asst. U. S. Atty., New York City, of counsel.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel, New York City, for defendants MTA, NYCTA, MABSTOA, SIRTOA, Ravitch, Bailey, Bellamy, Berger, Brown, Butcher, Libert, McAlevey, Menschel, Scannell, Sheridan, Sidamon-Eristoff, Wagner, Waldbauer and Simpson; Floyd Abrams, Dean Ringel, Thomas R. Jones, Susan Buckley, Devereux Chatillon, New York City, of counsel.

Allen G. Schwartz, Corp. Counsel, City of New York, New York City, for defendants Koch, NYCDOT and Ameruso; David Drueding, Asst. Corp. Counsel, New York City, of counsel.

OPINION

EDWARD WEINFELD, District Judge.

These are consolidated class actions in which plaintiffs, individually and representing all wheelchair-bound handicapped individuals, seek declaratory and injunctive relief to compel the defendants to comply with various statutes and regulations enacted by the Congress to implement the policy that the handicapped have the same right as other persons to use mass transportation facilities and services.

The defendants fall into two categories, federal and local. The defendants Goldschmidt, Lutz and Walker, officials of the United States Department of Transportation ("DOT") and the Urban Mass Transportation Administration ("UMTA"), will be collectively referred to as the "federal defendants" or, alternatively, as UMTA; the remaining defendants, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority ("MTA"), the New York City Transit Authority ("TA"), the New York City Department of Transportation ("NYCDOT"), and other authorities and agencies, their members, and members of the City government, will be collectively referred to as the "local defendants." The federal defendants grant mass transit assistance to local communities pursuant to statutes and regulations promulgated thereunder; the local defendants are the recipients of such funds, which are granted pursuant to appropriate applications to the federal agencies.

The essence of the claims against the local defendants is that they have deprived

518 F. Supp. 1166
wheelchair users of mass transportation by failing to provide an accessible system for them.1 The essence of the claims against the federal defendants is that they have approved transit grants to the local defendants when they knew or should have known that those defendants had failed to make satisfactory "special efforts,"2 as required by statutes, to provide accessible transportation to the handicapped. In consequence, plaintiffs claim that the practice of the defendants prevents the integration of class members into the mainstream of society, impairs their employment and educational opportunities, and deprives them of their rights under statutes enacted for their benefit and under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution

The Requested Relief

Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief that would, among other matters, require this Court to appoint a special master to make recommendations to the Court with respect to (i) the determination of the amount of funds defendants failed to spend or misspent on "special efforts"; (ii) oversee consultation with plaintiffs' class and their representatives by the defendants; (iii) monitor and report to the Court on defendants' implementation of required plans until the system is accessible; (iv) recommend to the Court any additional orders which the special master believes necessary to enforce the rights of the plaintiffs' class. Further, plaintiffs seek expenditure of "special efforts" funds and ask that this Court retain jurisdiction until all the requirements of the Court and the judgment to be entered herein are satisfied.

There are two motions now before the Court. The local defendants move pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to dismiss the complaints for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; the federal defendants move pursuant to Rule 56 for summary judgment. While involving the same statutes and regulations, the motions present in most respects fundamentally different issues and so they will be considered separately (just as they have been briefed separately).

The Statutes

Federal assistance to states and localities for mass transit is generally provided under § 3 of the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 (as amended) (the "UMT Act")3 for discretionary capital grants, § 5 of the UMT Act4 for operating and capital subsidies pursuant to a federal formula, and under the mass transportation provisions of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973 (as amended).5

Beginning in 1970, Congress enacted various provisions with the goal of advancing the rights of the elderly and handicapped persons in the use of public mass transportation. Thus, in 1970, Congress passed § 16 of the UMT Act, which declares it to be national policy

that elderly and handicapped persons have the same right as other persons to utilize mass transportation facilities and
518 F. Supp. 1167
services; that special efforts shall be made in the planning and designing of such facilities and services so that the availability to elderly and handicapped persons of mass transportation which they can effectively utilize will be assured.6

Further, the section provides that all programs assisting mass transit should contain provisions implementing this policy.

In 1973, Congress passed § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, patterned after Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which, as amended, provides that

no otherwise qualified handicapped individual ... shall, solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.7

The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973, as amended in 1974, provides that transportation projects funded under that Act must be planned, designed, constructed, and operated to allow effective utilization by, among...

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18 practice notes
  • Jensen v. Conrad, Civ. A. No. 82-2061-15.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • July 18, 1983
    ...and create an enforceable right when the court has determined that the statute itself creates no such "right." Dopico v. Goldschmidt, 518 F.Supp. 1161 Therefore, the court concludes that the plaintiff has also failed to assert a cognizable claim against any of the defendants named herein un......
  • Lloyd v. Illinois Regional Transp. Authority, No. 75 C 1834.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • September 30, 1982
    ...before Judge Weinfeld in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. See, e.g., Dopico v. Goldschmidt, 518 F.Supp. 1161 (S.D.N.Y.1981), aff'd in part, rev'd in part, 687 F.2d 644 (2nd Cir. 1982).1 Judge Weinfeld's lengthy opinion adequately described the statutes......
  • St. Louis Dev. Dis. Treatment Center v. Mallory, No. 80-4012-CV-C-H.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • August 8, 1984
    ...class. Brown v. Sibley, 650 F.2d 760 (5th Cir.1981); Doe v. Colautti, 592 F.2d 704, 711 (3rd Cir.1979). See also Dopico v. Goldschmidt, 518 F.Supp. 1161 (S.D.N.Y.1981); Sherer v. Waier, 457 F.Supp. 1039 (W.D.Mo.1977). Only one case has been brought to this Court's attention that has held th......
  • Dugar v. Coughlin, 83 Civ. 7471 (JES).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • July 11, 1985
    ...He can neither sue directly under them, nor can he use them as a predicate for a section 1983 action. See, e.g., Dopico v. Goldschmidt, 518 F.Supp. 1161, 1176 (S.D.N.Y.1981), aff'd in part, rev'd in part on other grounds, 687 F.2d 644 (2d 2 Defendants are Thomas Coughlin, Commissioner of th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • Jensen v. Conrad, Civ. A. No. 82-2061-15.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • July 18, 1983
    ...and create an enforceable right when the court has determined that the statute itself creates no such "right." Dopico v. Goldschmidt, 518 F.Supp. 1161 Therefore, the court concludes that the plaintiff has also failed to assert a cognizable claim against any of the defendants named herein un......
  • Lloyd v. Illinois Regional Transp. Authority, No. 75 C 1834.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • September 30, 1982
    ...before Judge Weinfeld in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. See, e.g., Dopico v. Goldschmidt, 518 F.Supp. 1161 (S.D.N.Y.1981), aff'd in part, rev'd in part, 687 F.2d 644 (2nd Cir. 1982).1 Judge Weinfeld's lengthy opinion adequately described the statutes......
  • St. Louis Dev. Dis. Treatment Center v. Mallory, No. 80-4012-CV-C-H.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • August 8, 1984
    ...class. Brown v. Sibley, 650 F.2d 760 (5th Cir.1981); Doe v. Colautti, 592 F.2d 704, 711 (3rd Cir.1979). See also Dopico v. Goldschmidt, 518 F.Supp. 1161 (S.D.N.Y.1981); Sherer v. Waier, 457 F.Supp. 1039 (W.D.Mo.1977). Only one case has been brought to this Court's attention that has held th......
  • Dugar v. Coughlin, 83 Civ. 7471 (JES).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • July 11, 1985
    ...He can neither sue directly under them, nor can he use them as a predicate for a section 1983 action. See, e.g., Dopico v. Goldschmidt, 518 F.Supp. 1161, 1176 (S.D.N.Y.1981), aff'd in part, rev'd in part on other grounds, 687 F.2d 644 (2d 2 Defendants are Thomas Coughlin, Commissioner of th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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