Both sides reach agreement in Jonesboro sidewalk lawsuit case

Both sides reach agreement in Jonesboro sidewalk lawsuit case
A lawsuit filed by a Jonesboro man in federal court challenging the city’s lack of sidewalks and accessibility under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act has been dismissed after both sides formally agreed to a settlement.

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A lawsuit filed by a Jonesboro man in federal court challenging the city’s lack of sidewalks and accessibility under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act has been dismissed after both sides formally agreed to a settlement.

The agreement also calls for the city to spend at least $250,000 a year on sidewalks and curb ramps in the city.

According to federal court records, a joint stipulation of dismissal with prejudice was filed Jan. 7 in the case filed by Jimmy Ashley against the city of Jonesboro.

A Jan. 8 order signed by U.S. District Judge Kristine G. Baker also set the issue.

“For good cause shown, the Court adopts the stipulation of dismissal. The action is dismissed with prejudice, and except as set forth in the settlement agreement, each party will bear its own costs and fees. The Court will retain jurisdiction for purposes of enforcing the settlement agreement entered into between the parties,” Baker said in her order.

In the 13-page complaint filed by Ashley on Nov. 26, 2018, he alleged that the city had violated the ADA on the sidewalk issue.

“Prior to instituting the instant action, Ashley visited the Defendant’s (Jonesboro) sidewalks and curb ramps within the city of Jonesboro, Arkansas at issue in this matter and was denied full, safe and equal access to them due to their lack of compliance with the ADA and the architectural barriers to access listed in Paragraph 18 of this complaint, which Plaintiff personally encountered,” Ashley said in the complaint, filed by attorney Edward I. Swilling of Birmingham, Ala.

Ashley also alleged in the suit that the following sidewalks and curb ramps violated the ADA:

* Rosemont Avenue and Pearson Street.

* Matthews Avenue and Ferrel Street.

* Matthews Avenue and Meadowbrook Street.

* Matthews Avenue and Nisbett Street.

* Matthews Avenue and Walnut Street.

* Washington Avenue and Carson Street.

* Washington Avenue and Patrick, McDaniel, McAdams and Borgman Streets.

* Washington Avenue and Houghton Street.

* East Street and Monroe Avenue

* Cate Street and East Street

* Cate Street and Vandyne Street

* Cate Street and Baker Street

* Jackson Street and Carson Street

* Monroe Street and Gee Street

* Huntington and Flint/McClure

* Matthews Avenue and Vine Street

* Cherry Avenue and Cobb Street.

Settlement Agreement

The Jonesboro City Council agreed Dec. 17 to approve an 11-page agreement on the issue.

As part of the agreement, while the city of Jonesboro denied any wrongdoing, discriminating against people with disabilities or any intentional violation of Title II of the ADA, both sides agreed to resolve the case.

The city will implement a process to solicit and receive input from people with disabilities on the issue of sidewalks, curb ramps and parking in the city and “determine the nature and extent of any alleged barriers to access within 30 days of receiving such a complaint and shall report back to the complainant with its findings within this same period of time," the agreement noted.

The city also has to collect data on sidewalks, curb ramps and accessible parking to find out if they are in compliance.

The agreement also noted that the city of Jonesboro must spend money to fix the issue.

“The City shall continue to remove barriers in good faith as data is collected until such time as all existing sidewalks and curb ramps within the subject area have been reviewed and, as necessary, modified, provided that the City shall spend no less than $250,000 annually toward this goal until all such barriers have been removed that can be removed without undue burden or fundamental alteration of any program, service or activity of the City,” the agreement noted.

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