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Wiley Rein & Fielding Secures Victory in Suit to Improve MetroAccess Service
Wiley Rein & Fielding, working with the Equal Rights Center and the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, secured a significant preliminary victory in its pro bono representation against MetroAccess, the curb-to-curb "paratransit" service provided by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to people whose disabilities preclude them from using regular Metrorail and Metrobus service. Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, in an opinion filed Dec. 9, 2006, ruled against WMATA's motion to dismiss the suit and certified a class of 12,000 MetroAccess users, allowing the plaintiffs' suit to cross a crucial hurdle. Judge Kennedy also ruled against WMATA's motion to remove the matter to an administrative agency, which would have significantly delayed the case.
The class action suit charges that the substandard service illegally discriminates against people with disabilities and seeks an injunction requiring MetroAccess to remediate the problems plaguing its service. It specifically alleges frequent missed-trip appointments, exceedingly late pickups, excessively long trips, poor customer service, malfunctioning equipment and reservation-system inadequacies.
Elaine Gardner of the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and Wiley Rein & Fielding attorneys Thomas W. Brunner, Andrew S. Krulwich, Todd A. Bromberg and M. Evan Corcoran led a large team representing the plaintiffs. WRF prides itself on its pro bono work and service to the local community, offering representation to a wide cross-section of non-profit organizations as well as to many individuals in need.