September 23, 2005

City Residents Harass Man Who Sued Over Accessibility Violations

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 22, 2005

MEADVILLE, PA--Last month, the Meadville City Council voted to approve an agreement to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit with Paul Pecunas, a city resident who uses a wheelchair.

Pecunas sued the city for violating the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide sidewalk curb cuts that are safe and usable to wheelchair users, the Meadville Tribune reported. The settlement calls for older curb cuts, many of which reportedly are too steep, with newer ones that better fit ADA guidelines.

The settlement also called for the city to pay an $82,000 fee for Pecunas' attorney -- money which city officials say will have to come either from cutting other services or by raising taxes.

Pecunas told the Tribune that since the agreement was made public people have cussed at him, called him names, and "flipped me off".

He said he would like to talk with them to explain why he filed the suit.

"I would apologize and explain more about sidewalks and ask if they'd go for a ride. I wish I could talk to them but they don't like that."

City leaders who voted against the settlement said they do not condone the public's reaction to Pecunas, but that they understand it, primarily because the city was working with a group of disability advocates to fix the problems prior to the suit.

"City settles lawsuit for $82K; man who filed suit claims angry taxpayers are harassing him" (Meadville Tribune)

Posted on September 23, 2005

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