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FREEMAN v. ALTA BATES SUMMIT MEDICAL CENTER CAMPUS

November 22, 2005.

MICHAI FREEMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
ALTA BATES SUMMIT MEDICAL CENTER CAMPUS, et al. Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAUNDRA ARMSTRONG, District Judge

FULL CONSENT DECREE AND ORDER

1. Plaintiff MICHAI FREEMAN is a person with a disability whose quadriplegia requires the full time use a wheelchair for mobility. Plaintiff alleges that defendants are the owners, operators and lessors of the building complex comprising the subject Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Herrick Campus, also doing business as the Alta Bates Hospital, located in Berkeley, California. (Hereafter "Campus".) Located at 2001 Dwight Way in central Berkeley, the facility has both regional and national importance. 2. Plaintiff MICHAI FREEMAN filed this action for herself and all other similarly situated members of the public to enforce provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq., and corresponding California law, including enforcement of Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations, against defendants ALTA BATES SUMMIT MEDICAL CENTER; and ALTA BATES SUMMIT FOUNDATION, et al. ("Defendants").

  3. Plaintiff alleges that defendants violated these statutes by failing to provide full and equal access and related facilities, including accessible entrances, accessible paths of travel, accessible public restrooms, accessible routes, including from the public right of way, accessible snack bar and gift shop facilities, accessible disabled parking, and accessible service counter facilities.*fn1 Specific identification of the facilities and their deficiencies has been identified by the parties through a meeting of experts and exchange of reports.

  4. Plaintiff alleges that defendants are also the lessors of the interior tenant space (housed within the building complex) occupied by former defendants LIFELONG MEDICAL CARE d.b.a. BERKELEY PRIMARY CARE, where plaintiff receives her medical care.

  5. Plaintiff alleges that the complex has undergone construction triggering the requirement of full compliance with compliance regulations in the altered areas, and that further defendants could easily afford to makes its facilities and services accessible without significant difficulty or expense.

  6. For their part, Defendants do not deny that the facility has undergone "alterations" and "new construction" in each of the areas embraced by the expert reports. However, Defendants contend, inter alia, that the areas identified by plaintiff as "barriers" are not barriers under the code, but are exempted by regulation and/or were constructed within "tolerances" provided by code.

  7. Therefore, Defendants' Answer to the Complaint denied all liability, and by entering into this Consent Order, defendants do not admit liability to the allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint filed in this action. The parties hereby enter into this Full Consent Decree and Order for the sole purpose of resolving this lawsuit without the need for protracted litigation.

  STIPULATIONS

  8. Plaintiff's Qualified Disability. Plaintiff is a qualified person with a physical disability. She has quadriplegia, and requires the full time use of a wheelchair for mobility.

  9. Plaintiff's Residence and Status as Aggrieved and Potentially Aggrieved. Plaintiff lives in Berkeley less than a mile from the Medical Campus. She qualifies as "aggrieved and potentially aggrieved", and regularly uses the clinic Berkeley Primary Care approximately 4 to 6 times per year for her medical needs.

  10. Ownership, Operation and Lease of the Medical Campus. Defendant Alta Bates Summit Medical Center is the owner, operator and lessor of the building complex comprising the subject Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, which includes the scope of facilities identified in paragraph 13, below. Said defendant is also the lessor of the tenant space occupied Berkeley Primary Care. (Note: the parties dispute the connection of defendant separate of parent corporation defendant ALTA BATES SUMMIT FOUNDATION to the subject property, i.e., as an owner, operator, and lessor to the property.)

  11. Qualified Facilities The Campus qualifies as a "public accommodation" and "commercial facility" under all applicable statutes and regulations.

  12. Construction History. The parties stipulate that all facilities in issue have undergone sufficient and recent alteration and/or new construction to require full compliance with the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act Access Guidelines published in 1992 as well as the 1998 Edition of Title 24, Part 2, of the California Code of Regulations. The dispute pertains to the interpretation, scope and purpose of the regulations.

  13. Scope of Facilities in Issue

  (a) The path of travel from the public sidewalk to the main entrance;

  (b) The parking facilities near the main entrance;

  (c) The path of travel from the north side of the Campus at Haste Street;

  (d) The designated "accessible" parking facilities at the north side of the Campus and the path of travel to the rear entrance;

  (e) The path of travel to the rear entrance at the North side of the building Complex;

  (f) The path of travel thru the give shop and counter obstructions.

  (g) The snack shop near the ...


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