United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION & ORDER
KATHERINE B. FORREST, DISTRICT JUDGE
February 14, 2017, plaintiff Timothy Presmarita filed suit
against Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company
(“Metro-North”) seeking damages and injunctive
relief after he was injured trying to disembark from a train
at Grand Central Station. The core federal assertion is that
Metro-North was required to provide him with a wheelchair at
the point of disembarkation and to the street. He asserts
that Metro-North's failure to do so violated his rights
to equal access to a public accommodation under Title II of
the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42
U.S.C. § 12131, et seq., and pursuant to
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (the
“Rehabilitation Act”), 29 U.S.C. 794.
Additionally, he has asserted state law claims that mirror
these but also broadly capture specific conduct by
Metro-North pursuant to which plaintiff alleges Metro-North
assumed a duty of care which it then breached.
April 17, 2017, defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing
that Metro-North had no obligation under the ADA and
Rehabilitation Acts to provide plaintiff with a wheelchair,
and that the Court should dismiss the remainder of the claims
for lack of supplemental jurisdiction. (ECF No. 14.) On
August 30, 2017, the Court noted that all previous argument
had assumed that Metro-North was subject to Title II, Part A
of the ADA, which applies to public entities broadly, when in
fact it seemed that commuter railroads such as Metro-North
were actually subject to Part B, which applies only to public
entities providing public transportation; thus, it requested
supplemental briefing. (ECF No. 19.) The parties submitted
additional briefing at the end of September 2017-both sides
agreed that Part B was the relevant law. (ECF Nos. 20, 21,
the Court finds that the relevant service at issue is
point-to-point transportation on the rail line, and not
transportation within a station to the street, the Court
further finds that the ADA does not require Metro-North to
provide its customers with wheelchairs, at the point of
disembarkation and to the street. Accordingly, the Court
GRANTS the motion to dismiss in its entirety.
factual allegations discussed below are drawn from the
complaint (ECF No. 1, Compl.) and assumed true for the
purposes of this decision.
is a resident of New York who was injured in an automobile
accident in or about 2001, in which he broke his neck; he has
had thirteen surgeries as a result of this accident. (Compl.
¶¶ 10-11.) Even after these surgeries, plaintiff
has limited functionality in his cervical spine, right leg,
and right arm, and thus requires a wheelchair to walk more
than a few steps. (Id. ¶¶ 12-13.)
is a public benefit corporation organized pursuant to the
Public Authorities Law of the State of New York, with its
principal place of business in New York; it operates commuter
railroad service between New York City and locations
surrounding New York, including Connecticut. (Id.
November 8, 2016, defendant was operating a commuter train
between New Haven, Connecticut, and Grand Central Station.
(Id. ¶ 17.) Plaintiff purchased a ticket on the
9:55 p.m. train, due to arrive in New York at 11:47 p.m.
(Id. ¶ 22.) Plaintiff traveled with a friend,
Javier Quinonze, so that he would have assistance as he
traveled. (Id. ¶ 23.) Upon his arrival at his
departure point, Union Station in New Haven, plaintiff
requested a wheelchair in order to navigate the station and
platform and to board the train. (Id. ¶ 24.) He
was told by defendant that no wheelchair was available; he
therefore boarded with the assistance of his friend, who
carried him through the station. (Id. ¶¶
alleges that once on board, two separate conductors employed
by defendant approached him and asked if he would require a
wheelchair upon arrival at Grand Central; plaintiff said yes,
and both conductors indicated that they would call ahead to
Grand Central to make the necessary arrangements.
(Id. ¶¶ 27-30.) Plaintiff was informed
that he should wait on board the train until everyone else
had disembarked, at which time defendant's employees
would assist him in disembarking with a wheelchair.
(Id. ¶ 31.)
train arrived at Grand Central at or about 11:47 p.m.; the
wheelchair was not waiting on the platform. (Id.
¶¶ 33-35.) Despite several interactions with
conductors about the wheelchair, plaintiff and his friend
waited for more than one hour on the empty train.
(Id. ¶¶ 33-37.) At or about 1 a.m.,
plaintiff attempted to exit the train and station without a
wheelchair and with the assistance of his friend.
(Id. ¶ 37.) While walking, plaintiff fell twice
and injured his left ankle. (Id. ¶¶
38-42.) Quinonze and Presmarita asked a Station Master if
they could use an orange motorized cart to help them traverse
the station; they were refused. (Id. ¶¶
44-47.) The Station Master further informed plaintiff that
there was an ample supply of wheelchairs, but a lack of
personnel to push them. (Id. ¶ 49.) Quinonze
offered to push plaintiff; the Station Master told him this
was not allowed. (Id. ¶ 51.)
time, the Station Master offered a wheelchair to the
station's exit, which was pushed by another of
defendant's employees. (Id. ¶ 52.)
Initially this employee refused to take plaintiff to the
curb, however when plaintiff offered him a $20 tip, he
agreed. (Id. ¶¶ 53-54.) Plaintiff got into
a taxi without tipping the employee. (Id. ¶
was subsequently diagnosed with a left ankle injury and
placed in a ...