Wheelchairs can't roll over pipes

Lawsuit settled over a year after city sued subcontractor

The City of San Diego has tentatively settled a lawsuit brought by a woman who says the city failed to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements while crews were repairing sections El Cajon Boulevard.

As reported by the Reader, Yolanda Zaldivar's lawsuit, filed in January 2015, alleges road crews working for a city subcontractor haphazardly blocked the sidewalk by pouring mounds of asphalt over water and sewage pipes on the sidewalk during road repairs. The obstacles prevented Zaldivar, who relies on a wheelchair, access to businesses and other public right-of-ways. They also posed a safety risk as well.

Read the lawsuit "...uneven surfaces and excessive slopes and drops at the curb ramps. In some areas, the hoses and pipes are partially sticking out. Attempting to utilize the curb ramps under these conditions puts [Zaldivar] at substantial risk of tipping over and falling out of her chair."

Zaldivar is represented by attorneys at San Diego law firm Potter Handy, which specializes in ADA lawsuits against businesses and municipalities. During the course of the past 20 years, the law firm has filed over 2000 lawsuits throughout California for alleged ADA violations.

In Zaldivar's case, the city filed a cross complaint against its subcontractor, KTA Construction. The two sides settled their dispute in May 2015.

Despite multiple settlement conferences, the city and Zaldivar's attorney, Isabel Masanque, failed to reach an agreement until November 2016.

The amount of the settlement has not been released. The city council must first approve the amount before an agreement is ratified. The council is expected to discuss the terms during an upcoming closed-session hearing.

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Most if not all construction projects that effect the public right of way require that ACA required access is maintained. If a wheel chair ramp has to be blocked and a temporary ramp is not able to be constructed then an alternate route must be built. It seems to me that the City failed, as it always does, to properly inspect the construction site and ensure that the contract and ACA laws were being followed.

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