Local

Sacramento paid $300,000 to woman injured in ‘trap for wheelchair users’ on downtown sidewalk

Pioneering disabilities rights attorney explains the ideas behind the Americans with Disabilities Act

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights commemorated the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with a report on the ADA’s history and the work that remains in August 2017.
Up Next
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights commemorated the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with a report on the ADA’s history and the work that remains in August 2017.

The city of Sacramento has paid a $300,000 settlement to a woman who alleged she was thrown from her wheelchair and injured after her chair got stuck in a sidewalk downtown.

The settlement — signed in February and obtained by the Sacramento Bee Friday through a California Public Records Act request — was paid to Cynthia DeJesus Gstettenbauer.

Gstettenbauer, of Southern California, filed a federal lawsuit against the city in March 2015 after the city declined her claim seeking damages, the complaint alleged.

The city declined comment on the settlement, city spokesman Tim Swanson said.

Gstettenbauer was traveling in her wheelchair down the sidewalk on J Street at the intersection of 15th Street in February 2014, according to the complaint. She was attempting to maneuver up the sidewalk on to the curb when the footplate of her chair got wedged between the curb and an improperly placed or maintained “truncated dome” pad attached to the curb, creating a “trap for wheelchair users,” the complaint alleged.

There were no warning signs and no alternative path of travel, the complaint alleged.

On impact, Gstettenbauer’s chair came to a sudden stop, causing her to be thrown from her chair, the complaint alleged. She fell on her side with her ankle bent under her.

Her ankle required surgery, the complaint alleged. Her left knee was also injured and her wheelchair was damaged.

The city violated disabled access and safety standards that are supposed to protect disabled persons, the complaint alleged. Other city sidewalks do not comply with ADA regulations and state laws, causing risks to others with mobility disabilities, the complaint alleged.

Theresa Clift covers Sacramento City Hall. Before joining The Bee in 2018, she worked as a local government reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Daily Press in Virginia and the Wausau Daily Herald in Wisconsin. She grew up in Michigan and graduated from Central Michigan University.
  Comments