Christmas is over with lumps of coal and sugar plums distributed in ways that often seem unrelated to who has been naughty or nice. Regular readers will see just how little has changed in the course of 2019 despite some important defense victories in the Sixth and Eight Circuits. With most ADA litigation centered in New York, California and Florida the serial litigation business will almost certainly continue to thrive in 2020.
Personal jurisdiction over website owners
Experts and the ADA
Mooting website accessibility claims
Mooting physical accessibility claims.
ADA litigation and the peculiar case of Peter Strojnik
ADA pleading – more than boilerplate is required
No federal jurisdiction of Unruh Act claims
FHA “remediation defendants” and tester standing
ADA Standing – has the worm turned?
Shared bicycles and the like.
Schulz v. Bay Area Motivate, LLC, 2019 WL 6493979 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 3, 2019)† In this case the plaintiff claimed that a bike share program operated under a city license violated the ADA because there were no bikes he, as a quadriplegic, could use. The court rejected an attack on standing, but found that:
- bicycles are not “conveyances” covered by the ADA requirements for municipal transportation systems,
- the nature of this plaintiff’s disability is such that he could not use the program even if it had different equipment because his use would require that pickup locations be staffed and have storage for his wheelchair; thus, the city was not required to accommodate his special needs,
- the private defendant was not required to provide rental equipment other than that it usually provided under the general rule that public accommodations do not have to modify their inventory.
This disposed of all plaintiff’s claims and resulted in dismissal for failure to state a claim under state or federal law.
The chicken and the egg – accommodation requests must be dealt with in a timely way.
Condominium parking for the disabled – get it right the first time.
Being wrong is not sanctionable.
This summer Scott Smith’s claims against RW’s Bierstube were dismissed for lack of standing.** In Smith v. RW’s Bierstube, Inc., 2019 WL 6464142 (D. Minn. Dec. 2, 2019) the Court nonetheless denied a claim for defense attorneys’ fees, joining a host of other courts in holding that such fees are awardable only for frivolous claims. The Eighth Circuit has recently ruled on ADA standing in ways that supported the dismissal of Smith’s claims‡, but Steger v Franco continues to haunt Eight Circuit jurisprudence, creating just enough uncertainty to make claims like Smith’s non-frivolous even if they are implausible.