Lloyd v. Illinois Regional Transp. Authority

Decision Date30 September 1982
Docket NumberNo. 75 C 1834.,75 C 1834.
Citation548 F. Supp. 575
PartiesGeorge LLOYD, et al., Plaintiffs, v. ILLINOIS REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, et al., Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Dodge Wells, Wallace C. Winter, Susannah Smith, Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, Chicago, Ill., for plaintiffs.

James C. Munson, Lawrence E. Strickling, David M. Harris, Kirkland & Ellis, Chicago, Ill., for Regional Transp. Authority, Lewis Hill.

Paul Blankenstein, Robert D. Nesler, Dept. of Justice-Civil Division, Washington, D.C., Gail Ginsburg, Ass't U.S. Atty., Chicago, Ill., for Andrew L. Lewis, Sec'y of Transp., Arthur E. Telle, Jr., Administrator of Urban Mass Transportation Administration, Raymond S. Barnhart, Administrator of Federal Highway Administration U.S. Dept. of Transp.

Norman J. Barry, Joseph P. Della Maria, Jr., Daniel Cummings, Rothschild, Barry & Myers, Chicago, Ill., for Chicago Transit Authority, Eugene Barnes.

Tyrone C. Fahner, Atty. Gen. of Ill., Judith Mostovoy, Gary Medler, Ass't Attys. Gen., Chicago, Ill., for Chicago Area Transp. Study, John Kramer.

Ronald Bartkowicz, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago, Ill., for Chicago Transit Authority.

Richard J. Bacigalupo, Urban Mass Transp. Admin., Washington, D.C., for Urban Mass Transp. Authority.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

KOCORAS, District Judge:

Plaintiffs bring this action on behalf of a class of mobility-handicapped individuals who challenge the efforts of local, state, and federal officials and agencies to comply with various statutes and regulations securing the rights of the handicapped to use and to have access to the mass transportation system in the Chicago metropolitan area. Plaintiffs' Third Amended Complaint, which is at issue here, seeks declaratory and injunctive relief for alleged violations of the Urban Mass Transportation Act, 49 U.S.C. §§ 1601 et seq., § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794, § 165 of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973, 23 U.S.C. § 142, the applicable federal regulations promulgated under the authority of the foregoing statutes, and the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The defendants have filed motions to dismiss and for summary judgment.

The named plaintiffs are George A. Lloyd, who is a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair since 1953, Janet B. Wolfe, who is mobility-disabled because of a chronic pulmonary dysfunction, and Harold Brennan, who is also disabled because of partial paralysis in both legs from polio. All are residents of Chicago, but they sue on behalf of all mobility-disabled persons residing in the region served by the local defendants.

The defendants may be characterized as federal and local. The federal officials and agencies sued in this action include the former Secretary of Transportation, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), the former administrator of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA), and the former administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). These will hereafter be referred to as the "federal defendants". Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 25(d)(1), the present administrators of the UMTA, FHWA, and the DOT are substituted as party defendants. The local defendants include the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), which provides public transportation and assists in the public mass transportation system in this region, the Chicago Transportation Authority (CTA), which administers and provides mass transportation service in the Chicago metropolitan area, the Chicago Urban Transportation District (CUDT), the administrators of the foregoing entities, and the Chicago Area Transportation Study (CATS), which is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the transportation area served by the RTA, CTA and the CUTD. Both the CTA and the RTA are municipal corporations established pursuant to Ill.Rev.Stat.1975, ch. 111 2/3 , §§ 701.01 et seq. and 301 et seq.

The local defendants receive direct or indirect federal financial assistance under the auspices and approval of the federal defendants. Count I of the Third Amended Complaint alleges that the local agency defendants have violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, because they have conducted the mass transit operations in such a way as to exclude plaintiffs and their class from use of the system by reason of plaintiffs' handicaps. Count II alleges that the local agency defendants' conduct in excluding plaintiffs from the mass transit system has violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the regulations promulgated thereto, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Count III alleges that the local agency defendants have failed to take "special efforts" to plan and to design the mass transit system so as to assure the meaningful usage of the federally-financed facilities by the elderly and handicapped; the third count asserts violations of section 16(a) of the Urban Mass Transportation Act, 49 U.S.C. § 1612(a), the Federal-Aid Highway Act, 23 U.S.C. § 142, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Count IV, which is the only count against the federal defendants, alleges that they violated section 16(a) of the UMTA, 49 U.S.C. § 1612(a), the Federal-Aid Highway Act, 23 U.S.C. § 142, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, and the federal regulations implementing those provisions by approving the local defendants' applications for federal financial grants with the knowledge that the mass transit system had been and would continue to be inaccessible to the elderly and handicapped.

The plaintiffs seek both declaratory and injunctive relief. In particular, plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment that they have a right of meaningful access to the mass transit system; that the defendants have violated the plaintiffs' rights secured by the UMT Act, the FAHA, the Rehabilitation Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the applicable federal regulations; and that the local defendants have violated the regulations codified in 49 C.F.R. Parts 609 and 613. The prayer for relief also seeks an injunction against the local defendants from operating or owning any vehicles or facilities "in addition to those currently owned or operated", which are not designed for use and accessibility by the mobility-handicapped, until (a) the local agency defendants have completely implemented all projects contained in the 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979 Annual Elements; (b) the local agency defendants have made all buses, rapid transit facilities, and fixed facilities constructed or purchased since May 1, 1976 accessible to the handicapped; and (c) the local defendants can satisfy this court that adequate plans have been made to design and to construct services and facilities that can be used by the handicapped. (Third Amend. Complaint, Prayer for Relief, ¶ 5). Plaintiffs seek to enjoin the federal defendants from releasing any funds to the local defendants or from approving any projects and proposals until the local defendants have complied with the foregoing requirements in paragraph 5 of the prayer for relief. (Third Amend. Complaint, Prayer for Relief, ¶ 6).

The same statutes and applicable regulations were involved in a recent case brought on similar grounds 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 involved and the regulations implementing them. Id. at 1166-1169. In addition, the Memorandum in Support of the Federal Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Third Amended Complaint or, Alternatively, for Summary Judgment, provides a very thorough and able review of the applicable federal statutory and regulatory provisions. (Federal Defs. Memo. in Support at 7-16). This court need not dwell on the regulations that have already been fully described in Judge Weinfeld's decision in Dopico and by the brief of the federal defendants. A broad overview of the applicable regulations, however, is necessary for purposes of the motions before the court.

The first regulations implementing section 16(a), section 165(b), and section 504 were promulgated in 1976 in order to provide for accessible mass transportation for handicapped persons ("the 1976 regulations"). See 23 C.F.R. Part 450. They required the creation of a Metropolitan Planning Organization ("MPO"), which in this case is the defendant Chicago Area Transportation Study (CATS). The MPO is responsible "for carrying out the urban transportation planning process ... and shall develop the planning work programs TIP ... and shall be the forum for cooperative decision making by principal elected officials." 23 C.F.R. § 450.112(a). The TIP is a "staged multiyear program of transportation improvements including an annual element." Id. § 450.304. The purpose of the TIP is to identify transportation improvements for a particular program period, indicate priorities, and estimate costs; the annual element of the TIP sets forth the projects being funded for that fiscal year. Id. §§ 450.308 and 450.310-312; Dopico v. Goldschmidt, supra, 518 F.Supp. at 1167.

The UMTA must determine that a program conforms to the regulations in order to certify it for federal funding. Id. § 450.320. Significantly, the 1976 regulations also required that the TIP must include "special efforts" in planning public mass-transit facilities so that they can effectively be used by the elderly and the handicapped. Id. § 450.120(a)(5). Thus, the locality must demonstrate genuine, good-faith progress in planning services for disabled persons and "reasonable progress" in implementing previously approved projects. 23 C.F.R. Pt. 450, Sub. A, App. B; 49 C.F.R. § 613.202(c).

An Appendix, which supplements these regulatory requirements, sets forth specific examples of effort that will be deemed to satisfy the "special...

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