L.A. to pay $2.1 million in legal fees to disability group
The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to pay $2.1 million in legal fees for a group that had alleged that city officials had no strategy for evacuating people with disabilities after a natural disaster or terrorist attack.
The nonprofit group Communities Actively Living Independent and Free, along with San Fernando Valley wheelchair user Audrey Harthorn, sued Los Angeles three years ago, saying the city’s emergency plans did little to address the needs of people with disabilities after a major fire, earthquake or other crisis. The lawsuit said the plan left 500,000 disabled residents at “extreme and unacceptable risk.”
In response, a federal judge ordered the city to hire a consultant to review and revise the plan so that it accommodates the needs of disabled residents, said William Carter, chief deputy to City Atty. Carmen Trutanich. The plan must be revised within three years.
The legal payment was approved on a 10-0 vote. The funds will go to the legal team Disability Rights Advocates, according to the city clerk.
- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall