Settlement to give disabled persons better access to San Bernardino County courts

A proposed settlement has been reached in a 2006 federal class-action lawsuit filed against San Bernardino County and its courts over accessibility for disabled persons at more than a dozen courthouses.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Riverside, claimed that parking, paths of travel, courtrooms, bathrooms and other areas were inaccessible to people with mobility or manual dexterity disabilities.

Lawyers for the Disability Rights Legal Center in Los Angeles, which represented plaintiffs in the case, said Tuesday that both sides worked hard to reach what they described as a model settlement that could be a blueprint for any court system in any county.
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County to settle $831K courthouse suit

By Melissa Pinion-Whitt, The (San Bernardino County) Sun
Posted: 11/14/2011 12:44:44 PM PST

San Bernardino Superior Court has agreed to settle an $831,000 class-action lawsuit claiming the county’s courthouses are inaccessible to the disabled, court officials said today.

Four plaintiffs named in the federal lawsuit will split $80,000 in damages. San Bernardino County is expected to pay $690,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs, and another $61,000 to monitor the county’s progress in making courthouses accessible.

The settlement terms include plans to improve disabled access in entrances, emergency exits, witness stands, jury boxes and other areas of the courthouses.

San Bernardino County and the Superior Court officials “denied and continue to deny the allegations and claims in the actions,” according to the settlement.