Amtrak passengers who are considered disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act and experienced architectural barriers or discriminatory practices at any Amtrak rail station may have legal recourse. It has been alleged that Amtrak has yet to comply with the terms of the ADA, even though Congress provided Amtrak a 20-year grace period when it enacted the federal regulation in 1990. A class action lawsuit has already been filed on behalf of a plaintiff who requires a wheelchair for mobility, demanding that Amtrak comply with the requirements of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.
If you or a loved one has experienced discrimination based on your disability at any Amtrak station, you may be able to participate in litigation aimed at forcing Amtrak to immediately alter each of its rail stations to make the facilities usable and accessible to disabled passengers. To learn more about your eligibility for legal recourse, please complete our free case review form with details of your complaints against Amtrak rail stations.
In March 2012, it was reported that a class action lawsuit was filed against Amtrak for discriminating against people with disabilities and causing irreparable harm. The plaintiff in the case suffers from multiple spinal disc herniations, cannot stand or walk for more than three to five minutes at a time, and needs a wheelchair for mobility, which she cannot use her arms to mobilize. She was traveling via an Amtrak train from Tampa to New York City when she allegedly encountered discriminatory practices and procedures, in addition to architectural barriers at the Amtrak rail stations. According to the Amtrak class action suit, the plaintiff was instructed to enter the Tampa train station using her own limited ambulatory ability, and would thereafter be given a wheelchair operated by an Amtrak employee.
While at the Tampa rail station, the plaintiff was met with a number of allegedly discriminatory barriers including locked doors at the handicapped entrance and a front entrance without a sloped ramp. According to the plaintiff’s allegations, she was forced to walk up the stairs to the front entrance where, contrary to her requests, no wheelchair was available upon her arrival. She was allegedly told that she needed to request a wheelchair at the ticket counter, which was a significant distance from the front doors. According to the Amtrak class action, the plaintiff was forced to stand in line at the ticket counter waiting for an appropriate wheelchair, and when she could not stand up any longer, other passengers, rather than Amtrak employees, assisted her to bench seating. When a wheelchair was brought to her, the Amtrak employee quickly departed, even though the plaintiff expressed that she could not move the chair herself, the suit claims.
The plaintiff continued to encounter a number of discriminatory barriers and practices. She was forced to wait for a wheelchair to be transported to the rail platform, and as a result, missed her train, according to the Amtrak class action suit. The plaintiff further alleges that she received no financial assistance from Amtrak, and was forced to sit in the public waiting area without food or assistance. She claims that she was unable to reach the restrooms in the rail stations, as she was left unattended in the wheelchair.
When the ADA was enacted in 1990, Congress gave Amtrak a 20-year grace period to come into compliance with the Act. Amtrak admitted, however, that it did not comply with the mandate that all of its rail stations be in compliance with the ADA and allegedly requested to have the deadline extended to Sept. 30, 2015. The attorneys working with ClassAction.org believe that Amtrak had adequate time to comply with the ADA and are looking to hear from disabled Amtrak passengers to assist in their investigation into the practices of Amtrak rail service.
If you suspect you or a loved one has been discriminated against due to your disability at any Amtrak rail station, contact us today for a free consultation.