The ACLU of Southern California today filed a second amended complaint to expand a federal lawsuit (Beauchamp vs Los Angeles County MTA) as a class action on behalf of more than 5,000 disabled bus riders in Los Angeles County. The lawsuit was originally filed last January against the Metropolitan Transit Authority and Ryder/ATE Inc., a bus company contracted to provide bus service in the Long Beach area of Los Angeles County. The ACLU and cooperating attorneys Stanley Fleishman and David Warshaw charge that the MTA and Ryder Inc. discriminate against disabled riders by failing to maintain wheel chair lifts and other equipment.

In papers filed this morning, the ACLU says that the class is made up of all persons who have physical disabilities that limit their mobility, use a wheelchair or other assistive device, and use or attempt to use the fixed route public bus services provided by the MTA or Ryder in the Los Angeles County area.

Further, the ACLU says that the MTA and Ryder/ATE are in violation of federal and state laws which require equal access and accommodation for disabled individuals. These statutes include Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, California's Unruh Civil Rights Act.

Plaintiffs seek a declaration that the MTA and Ryder/ATE have violated federal and state law and an injunction requiring defendants to give equal access to disabled passengers and to eliminate any discrimination against persons with disabilities who use their buses.

The MTA was created by the California State Legislature to administer, plan, and provide transportation services for Los Angeles County. Ryder/ATE, Inc., a Delaware corporation, operates at least seven bus lines for the Metropolitan Transit Authority, including bus lines regularly used by plaintiffs.