United States Ninth Circuit

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Kohler v. Eddie Bauer, 13-55808

Plaintiff, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair, brought this suit against defendant Eddie Bauer, alleging that while shopping he encountered a series of obstacles that prevented his full use and enjoyment of the store in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California state law. Following a bench trial, the district court found in favor of Eddie Bauer, holding that plaintiff had not proven a violation of the ADA or California law stemming from the cited obstacles. The judgment of the district court is: 1) vacated as to the violation of the ADA requirement that a store checkout counter be at most thirty-six inches high, where plaintiff was not required to present expert evidence of the counter height and the store's provision of a clipboard was not an "equivalent facilitation" making the counter accessible under California law; 2) affirmed as to the rulings on the dressing room bench, where the sixty inches length of the dressing room bench, rather than the forty-eight inches required by the ADA Accessibility Guidelines, qualified as an equivalent facilitation because plaintiff was able to make a parallel transfer onto it from a wheelchair; 3) affirmed as to the district court's ruling that a claim of blocked aisles did not constitute an ADA violation; and 4) affirmed as to the district court's denial of defendant's motion for attorneys' fees under section 55 of the California Disabled Persons Act, where section 55 is preempted in this case by the ADA's provision of fees for prevailing defendants.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 03/20/2015
  • Published 03/20/2015

Judges

Court

  • United States Ninth Circuit

Counsel