Created Equal: Lawsuit claims local government buildings violate disability rights 

The federal class action lawsuit alleges that many municipal and county buildings in the state are difficult to navigate for those with disabilities.

The Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

The Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

Imagine how the world would look and feel if you just could not get around very easily. That is the reality for many people who have disabilities.

Earlier this year, two women with disabilities filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Detroit, Wayne County, the state of Michigan and the Detroit-Wayne Joint Building Authority — which runs the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center — alleging several disability rights violations at government buildings.

Michael Bartnik is one of the attorneys representing the women in the case. A third addition to the class action lawsuit, Marguerite Maddox, was recently profiled by Outlier Media’s civic life reporter Laura Herberg. Maddox is a Detroit resident who regularly attends government meetings to advocate for these mobility changes, and Herberg’s story illustrates how dedicated Maddox has been to this cause.

Bartnik and Herberg joined Created Equal on Wednesday to discuss the current state of Detroit’s municipal buildings from the perspective of these women, and what it would take to achieve a more accessible city for all.

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Laura Herberg is a civic life reporter for Outlier Media. She says parking spots can create obstacles for people.

“Sometimes when there are parking spaces or other barriers the drivers can’t make it to the curb,” she said. 

Michael Bartnik is a Bloomfield Hills-based attorney representing the three women in the class action accessibility lawsuit. He says funding should not prevent government entities from addressing concerns surrounding accessibility.

“The government [entities] are required by the regulations, to put together a plan every three years to focus on the accessibility issues.” 

Listen to Created Equal with host Stephen Henderson weekdays from 9-10 a.m. ET on 101.9 WDET and streaming on-demand.

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