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Patricia O'Connell
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poconnell@wileyrein.com

Wiley Rein Secures Settlement in Class Action Suit to Improve MetroAccess Service

June 28, 2007

On behalf of The Equal Rights Center, Wiley Rein LLP and the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs have secured a multi-million dollar tentative settlement of a class action lawsuit brought against MetroAccess, alleging that Metro had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act by failing to provide adequate service to customers with disabilities.  Under the settlement's terms, MetroAccess will hire expert consultants to assist in its ongoing oversight of MetroAccess performance and enhance service by increasing the paratransit budget by $4 million a year over a three-year period.  In addition, every MetroAccess patron will receive 10 free rides, valued at almost half a million dollars, and those who actively participated in the class action lawsuit will be compensated-the 14 named plaintiffs each will receive $5,000; riders who gave sworn testimony will receive $1,000; and the Equal Rights Center will receive $65,000 to advance its mission to promote civil rights, plus an additional $250,000 to be paid to it over the next three years to cover its costs of monitoring and advancing MetroAccess progress

Wiley Rein partner Thomas W. Brunner, lead plaintiffs' counsel commented, "We are pleased that, after almost 3 years of extensive litigation, we have found common ground that will afford the disabled community the level of service they both require and deserve. This settlement will provide extensive service improvements for MetroAccess riders and eliminate the inadequate service that existed under the former MetroAccess contractor."

Wiley Rein attorneys Thomas W. Brunner, Todd A. Bromberg, M. Evan Corcoran, Hugh Latimer and Keith Watson led a large team that worked with Elaine Gardner of the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.  The firm, which prides itself on its pro bono work and service to the local community, has pledged its recovery of attorneys' fees to the Washington Lawyers' Committee.