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April 22, 2021
By: Andrés J. Gallegos, Jennifer M. Sender

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On April 19, 2021, the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Peoria Division, certified a class consisting of all persons with mobility disabilities who were residents of the City of Pekin from December 11, 2016 through December 11, 2018 and who were denied meaningful access to public pedestrian rights-of-way in the City during that timeframe. Click here to view the Court’s order and opinion

“This is incredibly significant,” said Andrés J. Gallegos, founder and director of Robbins, Salomon & Patt, Ltd.’s (RSP), national disability rights practice. “It gets us closer to enabling the approximately 600+ residents of the City of Pekin who have mobility disabilities to not live confined in their homes because they cannot get around the City safely after years of begging for safe sidewalks,” said Gallegos. “It is the beginning of literally getting our clients out of the streets and alleys where they risk their own safety to get around the City of Pekin due to the absence of sidewalks, the deterioration of sidewalks, barriers placed on sidewalks, and the absence, in many instances, of curb cuts” said Jennifer Sender, RSP’s lead litigator on this case.

The lawsuit, Berardi, v. City of Pekin, Illinois, filed on December 11, 2018, asserts claims of disability-based discrimination against the City of Pekin, its mayor, city manager and trustees, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. As asserted in the complaint, nearly 90% of the City’s hundreds of miles of pedestrian rights-of-way are in need of repair or are not accessible to persons with mobility disabilities due to the absence of curb ramps or compliant curb ramps; the presence of cracks and broken sidewalks and cross-walks; and the presence of light poles, mailbox posts, and large planters permanently embedded in sidewalks without providing required paths of travel for persons with mobility disabilities utilizing mobility devices such as wheelchairs and scooters.

RSP’s attorneys, Andrés Gallegos and Jennifer Sender, together with East Peoria attorney Carl Reardon, were designated as class counsel by the Court. “While we still have a ways to go, the significance of this ruling for this very large population of people with mobility disabilities in the City of Pekin cannot be understated. They all get their day in court,” said Reardon.

The class action lawsuit is certified as a “hybrid class” under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, meaning that the lawsuit may proceed seeking both injunctive relief and monetary damages for class members.

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RSP is a full-service civil law firm with offices in Chicago and Glenview, Illinois. RSP’s Disability Rights practice focuses on improving the lives of persons with disabilities throughout the country. For more information contact Andrés J. Gallegos, Esq., 312 456-0381, agallegos@rsplaw.com. Direct all media inquiries to Wendy Berry, 312 456 -0198, wberry@rsplaw.com.