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ADA suit against Twin Cities transit agency reinstated


A federal appeals court on Friday reversed a lower court ruling and reinstated an Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit against a Twin Cities transit agency filed by a deaf and blind man who complained bus drivers frequently failed to stop at designated stops.

Barry Segal complained that St. Paul, Minnesota-based Metro Transit bus operators failed 150 times out of 1,791 trips to stop at designated stops and announce the bus routes as required between September 2016 and December 2019, according to the ruling by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis in Barry Segal v. Metropolitan Council, doing business as Metro Transit.

Mr. Segal sued the agency in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, alleging violations under the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and state law. The district court found that Metro Transit had provided Mr. Segal with “meaningful access” to its services and granted the agency summary judgment.

A unanimous three-judge appeals court panel overturned the ruling. “Given the number of Metro Transit rides during the relevant time period, it remains in dispute whether Segal (or any similarly situated, disabled rider) was more likely to experience poor service than a non-disabled rider,” the ruling said.

“While Segal was late to work 5 to 10 times and missed only 3 appointments because of issues with Metro Transit’s service, the question before us is not Segal’s ability to successfully navigate the Metro Transit system despite its shortcomings, but whether Metro Transit was meeting ADA requirements,” it said.

“While we recognize that perfect service is not the standard on the evidence before us, viewed in a light most favorable to Segal, Segal has met his burden of demonstrating a genuine issue of material fact at this stage in the litigation,” the panel said in reversing the lower court and remanding the case for further proceedings.

Attorneys in the case had no comment or could not be reached.