California Department of Transportation
 

NOTICE OF PROPOSED CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENTS OF Munoz et al. v. Sacramento Council of Governments, et al., Case No. C-05-01525 JSW, United States District Court for the Northern District of California

TO: DEAF OR HARD-OF-HEARING PERSOND USING CALIFORNIA ROADS AND HIGHWAYS IN ALL COUNTIES WHERE EMERGENCY ROADSIDE CALL BOXES ARE LOCATED

Your legal rights will be affected if two proposed class action settlements concerning deaf-access to roadside call boxes are approved by the Court. You must act to preserve your right to sue for certain relief or to be heard at the settlement fairness hearing.

A class action has been brought on behalf of deaf and hard-of-hearing motorists against the California Department of Transportation and Will Kempton, Director of Caltrans (collectively “Caltrans”), the California Highway Patrol and Mike Brown, Commissioner of CHP (collectively “CHP”), and nine local government agencies called Service Authorities for Freeway Emergencies (“SAFE’s”) alleging a denial of equal access to California highway and roads, allegind discrimination and civil rights violations relating to roadside call boxes. The lawsuit is entitled Munoz, et al. v. Sacramento Council of Governments, et al., Case No. C-05-01525 JSW, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (“Munoz lawsuit”).

The Plaintiffs in the Munoz lawsuit have entered into proposed class action settlements with defendants Caltrans and CHP. Plaintiff’s counsel has approved theses settlements as fair and reasonable because they provide valuable benefits to members of the Settlement Class. Under the proposed class action settlements, the CHP and Caltrans will take specific actions to correct their alleged pattern and practice of violating the rights of members of the Settlement Class. Also, as part of the proposed settlements, the CHP and Caltrans have agreed that each will pay reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred in bringing the Munoz lawsuit in the amount of $30,000 to Class Counsel, who will file a request with the Court to award these amounts if it grants final approval to the proposed settlements.

If you are a deaf or hard-of-hearing motorist on Califonria roads or highways that have roadside call boxes and cannot fully use the call boxes unless they have TTY’s (text telephone or teletypewriters for the deaf), you are a member of the Settlement Class and claims you may have for injunctive and declaratory relief regarding hearing disability-based discrimination and civil rights violations by the CHP or Caltrans related to effective communication at call boxes will be affected if the Court approves these proposed settlements.

HOWEVER, THESE SETTLEMENTS DO NOT AFFECT INDIVIDUAL DAMAGES CLAIMS THAT A MEMBER OF THE SETTLEMENT CLASS MAY HAVE AGAINST THE CHP AND CALTRANS.

The Court has given preliminary approval to these proposed settlements. A hearing will be conducted by the Court on July 6, 2007 at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom 2 of the United States Courthouse for the Northern District of California located at 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102-3483, to evaluate the fairness of the proposed settlements, consider arguments in favor of and against the settlements, and decide whether to give final approval. If you believe that you may be a member of the Settlement Class (as defined above), please contact Class Counsel identified below IMMEDIATELY to receive the complete SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS or view copies on the Internet at http://www.deaflaw.org. If you wish to object to the proposed settlements or to speak at the fairness hearing, you must advise Class Counsel identified below in writing no later than 5:00 p.m. on June 15, 2007.

HOW TO GET FURTHER INFORMATION

If you have a question regarding the Munoz lawsuit or the proposed settlements of the case, you should contact Class Counsel at:”

California Center for Law and the Deaf
14895 E. 14th Street, Suite 220
San Leandro, CA 94578
(510) 483-0922 TTY and Voice telephone

You can view a copy of a more detailed notice of the proposed class action settlements on the Internet at: http://www.deaflaw.org. You may also inspect the Court’s file regarding this case during business hours at the offices of the Clerk of the Court, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, 16th Flr., San Francisco, California.

DO NOT CALL OR WRITE TO THE COURT REGARDING THIS CASE