Lawsuit alleges a rash of ADA violations at Sacramento Airport

A new barrier seemingly awaits California resident Ruthee Goldkorn every time she attempts to travel through the recently opened Terminal B in the Sacramento International Airport.

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Airport Accessibility

Upon arriving at the terminal during one of her 11 business-related visits in 2012, she attempted to enter the terminal in one of the accessible loading zones, only to encounter sidewalks lacking in curb cuts.

When attempting to check-in, she has encountered counters too high for her to interact, preventing her from independently being able to access services such as ticketing, requesting flight assistance and changing seat assignments.

In one instance, she almost seriously injured herself trying to enter a bathroom due to its excessively heavy door.

On December 20, 2012, Disability Rights Advocates filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, a statewide non-profit organization consisting of 25 independent living center, and Goldkorn as an individual plaintiff, alleging a variety of violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“It is unfortunate that such a large public construction project was not completed in a way that makes it accessible to people with disabilities, particularly when the law is so clear,” DRA attorney  Shawna Parks said in a news release. “This kind of failure could have been prevented, and must now be corrected.”

The new Terminal B, which opened for public use on October 6, 2011, cost Sacramento County more than $1 billion in construction costs.  In addition to the architectural barriers, the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, claims that the airport lacks an emergency evacuation plan for people with mobility disabilities.

Finally, the lawsuit claims that the airport has failed to adequately train its staff to assist people in wheelchairs and scooters. “Defendant’s conduct constitutes ongoing and continuous violations of the ADA, and unless restrained from doing so, Defendant will continue to violate the ADA,” the lawsuit states. “This conduct unless enjoined, will continue to inflict injuries for which Plaintiff class has no adequate remedy in law.”