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Published: Sunday, 10/3/2004

Appeals court backs ruling on curb cuts

A federal appeals court Friday upheld a ruling requiring the city of Sandusky to install curb ramps and alter some existing ones to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati sustained a January, 2003, decision by U.S. District Judge James Carr in favor of the Ability Center of Greater Toledo.

The center sued Sandusky and then-City Manager Gerald Lechner in September, 1999, alleging that Sandusky did not maintain or install proper curb cuts for people who use wheelchairs.

While siding with the Ability Center on one issue, the three-judge panel also upheld a section of Judge Carr's ruling in favor of Sandusky. The appeals court ruled that the Ability Center, as a private entity, could not require the city to develop a plan for complying with ADA.

Thomas Zraik, a Sylvania attorney who represented the Ability Center, said he was pleased with the appeals court's finding that Sandusky violated the law. Mr. Zraik said the city has brought many of the hundreds of curb cuts in question into ADA compliance.

Mr. Zraik said he would file an administrative complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice to try to force the city to file a compliance plan.

Sandusky City Manager Mike Will referred questions about the ruling to William Lang, a Cleveland-area attorney who represents the city.

Mr. Lang could not be reached for comment.

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