Uber Driver

Uber Sued for Discriminating Against Wheelchair-Users

Uber logoCarlson Lynch LLP and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) filed a class action lawsuit against Uber, challenging the popular ride-sharing service’s failure to make wheelchair-accessible vehicles available in the Pittsburgh area through its rideshare service.

Today, Carlson Lynch LLP and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) filed a class action lawsuit against Uber, challenging the popular ride-sharing service’s failure to make wheelchair-accessible vehicles available in the Pittsburgh area through its rideshare service. The suit, brought by individuals in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, challenges Uber’s wheelchair-inaccessibility. The plaintiffs—four individuals who use wheelchairs—brought this action to end Uber’s discriminatory practices and policies.

Since launching its transportation service in San Francisco in July 2010, Uber has experienced explosive growth, has seized an ever-expanding market share from taxi companies, and is now a major provider of individual transportation services in over 450 cities in the United States, including Pittsburgh. However, Uber, a multi-billion-dollar company, does not provide wheelchair-accessible transportation in and around Pittsburgh, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Uber has been sued in cities around the United States for its violation of disability laws by failing to provide wheelchair-accessible service, yet it has continued its policy of denying that service.

Uber’s failure to make accessible vehicles available through its service denies people in Pittsburgh who use wheelchairs access to reliable, on-demand transportation that could drastically improve their lives, enabling them to travel to a wider variety of destinations without having to rely on transportation via expensive and unreliable taxis, unreliable paratransit, and limited public transit. It would enable them to travel spontaneously, without having to schedule transportation hours or even days in advance. Unfortunately, Plaintiffs and members of the class are excluded from these benefits, and suffer real harm as a result.

For example, on multiple occasions Plaintiff Paul O’Hanlon has had to travel several miles by wheelchair when he has missed the last city bus. “By reason of my disability I am denied access to Uber’s on-demand transportation that allows others to move around the city on their own schedules,” he said. Similarly, Plaintiff Irma Allen must rely on her son for transportation, which requires him to take time off work and lose a day’s wages. Ms. Allen said, “My family and I are at a distinct disadvantage because Uber doesn’t provide wheelchair-accessible service. It’s not fair that we are being left behind while other folks are enjoying the benefits of Uber’s new technology.”

Michelle Iorio, Staff Attorney at Disability Rights Advocates, said, “Transportation can be a real challenge for people with mobility disabilities, who often don’t have access to their own vehicle and who frequently can’t depend on paratransit because it is unreliable. Accessible ride sharing would facilitate societal integration for persons with disabilities, and Uber’s failure to provide wheelchair-accessible service undermines this potential.”

Echoing this sentiment, Bruce Carlson, a founding partner at national class action firm Carlson Lynch, LLP, noted: “Uber’s express business plan, as detailed in its regulatory filings, is to displace public transportation with its ride sharing services. The problem is that public transportation, where available, is largely accessible, but Uber’s ride sharing services are not. Uber wants to create a paradigm shift with respect to the provision of transportation services. But will the new paradigm realize the potential of exponentially increasing accessibility, or will it leave individuals with mobility disabilities behind?”

The lawsuit seeks modifications to Uber’s policies and practices to ensure that it makes wheelchair accessible vehicles readily available to persons who need them through its on- demand ridesharing services. Plaintiffs do not seek monetary damages.

In addition to the case filed today against Uber in Pittsburgh, DRA has filed cases against Uber in New York and California for their failure to serve riders who use wheelchairs. DRA has also filed a case against Uber’s competitor Lyft in California. These cases are critical to protecting the rights of wheelchair-users throughout the country.

A copy of the Complaint is available here.

Bruce Carlson

Bruce Carlson Selected Charter Member Rue Ratings Best Attorneys America

Carlson Lynch founding partner Bruce Carlson has been selected as a Charter Member of Rue Ratings’ Best Attorneys of America. Less than 1% of American attorneys are invited to join this prestigious, peer-reviewed organization, and there are 100 or fewer Charter Members in every state.

View Bruce's profile on Best Attorneys of America here.

Signing mortgage documents

Carlson Lynch Wins $24 Million Dollar Award On Behalf Of Certified Class Of Mortgage Borrowers Following 13 Day Federal Court Arbitration

On March 24, 2017, a three judge panel awarded $24 million dollars to a certified class of mortgage borrowers represented by Carlson Lynch.The award followed a 13 day arbitration trial conducted in the federal courthouse in Pittsburgh. The panel of arbitrators included a former judge from the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and two former litigation department heads at AmLaw 100 law firms.Bruce Carlson was co-lead counsel for the class and Carlson along with his partner Gary Lynch led the Carlson Lynch trial team that tried the case. This arbitration award represented the culmination of more than ten years of litigation, including three trips to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the certification of a RICO class which was affirmed by the Third Circuit. Judge Arthur Schwab was the presiding judge in the District Court.

Mortgage documents

Third Circuit Affirms Class Certification In Nationwide Mortgage Fraud Action Against PNC Bank

On July 29, 2015, the Third Circuit issued a 62 page precedential opinion affirming a class certification order that had been entered in favor of 22,000 plus second mortgage borrowers and against PNC by Judge Arthur J.Schwab in the Western District of Pennsylvania. .

Bruce Carlson is co-lead counsel for this national class and presented oral argument on its behalf before the Third Circuit. Discovery in the case is largely complete and Carlson expects that the case will now proceed quickly to a jury trial. PNC has potential exposure of over 1 billion dollars in this matter.

Handicap parking spots

Important Opinion Denying Motion To Dismiss Issued In ADA Parking Accessibility Case Filed By Carlson Lynch Against Starbucks

On March 9, 2015, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (Mitchell, J.) issued an opinion denying a motion to dismiss filed by Starbucks in a case challenging the accessibility of parking lots at Starbucks restaurants. The opinion is significant in that it thoughtfully analyzes, and rejects, many of the defenses that have been historically asserted on behalf of defendants in barrier removal cases under Title III of the ADA. This case is part of Carlson Lynch’s national initiative to improve parking accessibility for those individuals with mobility disabilities—the top priority for the Department of Justice’s ADA enforcement division. To that end, and working with the disability rights community, Carlson Lynch files Title III cases with the objective of improving accessibility throughout a given public accommodation’s entire network of business locations—not just the location that was visited by a given disabled plaintiff. Bruce Carlson manages the disability rights group at Carlson Lynch.

Judge writing on documents

Carlson Lynch Files Complaint Seeking In Excess Of $250 Million In Insurance Coverage As Part Of Rescap Bankruptcy Settlement

On February 4, 2015, Carlson Lynch filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York Bankruptcy Court asserting claims based upon the assignment of insurance rights to the class as part of the Kessler class action settlement. Bruce Carlson is co-lead counsel for the Kessler Class. In the Kessler settlement—which was also prosecuted in the bankruptcy court in the Southern District of New York—Rescap (the debtor in bankruptcy) agreed to pay the Kessler Class an allowed claim amount of $300 million to settle allegations that second mortgage loans made to the class included inflated fees as a result of an illegal kickback scheme. Currently, it is expected that the allowed claim amount settlement of $300 million will yield a payment of approximately $38 million dollars from the debtor to the Kessler Settlement Class. This coverage action that was filed by Carlson Lynch on February 4th seeks to recover the difference between the $38 million that will be paid to the Kessler Class by the debtor and the $300 million allowed claim amount that was negotiated in the settlement. The defendants in the coverage action include Lloyd’s of London, Twin City Fire Insurance and Swiss Re International, SE, among others.

Bruce Carlson

Bruce Carlson Argues On Behalf Of Certified Class Of Mortgage Borrowers Against PNC Bank Before The United States Court Of Appeals For The Third Circuit

On January 20, 2015, Bruce Carlson presented oral argument on behalf of a certified class of residential mortgage borrowers before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia. The case arrived in the Third Circuit after PNC Bank filed a Rule 23(f) appeal asking the appeals court to reverse an order certifying the Class which was entered by Judge Schwab in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in the summer of 2013. To hear a recording of the oral argument, go the website for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and click on the link for opinions and oral arguments. Once you are in that link, click on oral argument recordings and then go to docket number 13-4273, In re Community Bank of Northern Virginia. If you click on that link, you will hear the recording of the argument.

Sidewalk ramp

Giant Eagle Motion To Dismiss Denied

On December 3, 2014, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (Eddy, J.) issued an opinion and order denying a motion to dismiss filed by Giant Eagle, Inc. The motion sought dismissal of a class action complaint filed by Carlson Lynch on behalf of a plaintiff with a mobility disability. In the complaint, Carlson Lynch alleged that parking lots at defendant’s grocery stores have slopes in their accessible parking spaces and paths of travel that violate the requirements of the ADA. The case subsequently settled.

Judge using Gavel

ResCap Settlement Clears

As was reported previously on www.carlsonlynch.com, Bruce Carlson is co-lead counsel on behalf of a class of approximately 45,000 residential mortgage borrowers whose claims were recently settled as part of the ResCap bankruptcy proceedings in the Southern District of New York.  The settlement was for an allowed claim amount of $300 million dollars.The bankruptcy court granted final approval of the settlement on November 27, 2013.  However, the effective date of the settlement was tied to confirmation of the bankruptcy plan.  We are pleased to report that the bankruptcy plan was confirmed by Judge Glenn on December 11, 2013. In confirming the plan, Judge Glenn noted that the ResCap bankruptcy was the most legally and factually complex matter that he has presided over since becoming a judge.

A more detailed description of the settlement is provided in the class notice section of this website.

Lawyer examining documents

Carlson Lynch Wins Approval Of Class Settlement In ResCap Bankruptcy


On November 27, 2013, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York granted final approval of a class settlement with an allowed claim amount of $300 million dollars. The negotiation of the settlement was reported previously on this website.  Bruce Carlson, who was co-lead counsel for the class in connection with this settlement, filed the first case initiating this litigation on behalf of residential mortgage borrowers more than (12) twelve years ago. A related case remains pending against PNC Bank in the Western District of Pennsylvania.