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Settlement talks in suit over transportation for disabled

Updated: May 2, 2014 6:19AM



A nonprofit group that helps the disabled and the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission are in discussions to try to settle a lawsuit that claims that NIRPC hasn’t followed a federal court consent decree that’s overseeing how NIRPC addresses the transportation needs of the disabled.

NIRPC and Everybody Counts want until at least April 9 to continue settlement talks, which they say are moving in the right direction, according to a status report filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Hammond.

“The parties continue to believe that significant and substantial progress is being made in resolving this matter amicably,” the report says.

Everybody Counts, a Merrillville-based nonprofit that represents the disabled, sued NIRPC in December, contending that NIRPC made it too difficult for disabled people to attend its annual meeting on transportation issues for the disabled.

In its lawsuit, Everybody Counts argues that the access issues included making sure the meeting is held at a time and place that the disabled can get to through their transportation providers, which don’t operate at all times of the day.

The suit also says the location of the meeting, at the Purdue University Calumet Student Union in Hammond, was a long distance from where vehicles could go, which caused problems for people who have difficulty walking.

NIRPC and Everybody Counts have been under the consent decree since 2006 as a result of Everybody Counts suing NIRPC in 1998 over disability transportation issues.



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