W.D. Va.: Farmers' Market is a Place of Public Accommodation Under the ADA
Last week, Judge Jackson Kiser of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia issued an opinion and order in Clement v. Satterfield, 2013 WL 765374 (W.D. Va., Feb. 28, 2013). Clement had been refused a slot as a vendor at a local farmers' market; he alleged, among other things, that the market's president (Satterfield, the defendant) refused him that opportunity because he has a disability that resulted from a stroke. Satterfield moved for summary judgment. The district court denied summary judgment on the ADA claim. The court concluded that the South Boston Farmers Market is a place of public accommodation under Title III of the ADA, that individuals who operate places of public accommodation may be properly sued under Title III, and that there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether Satterfield, the President of the Halifax County Farmers Market Association, operated the market.
This case tickles me a bit, because in an amicus brief I did for disability rights groups years ago in PGA Tour v. Martin, I used farmers' markets as an example of an entity -- like the PGA Tour -- that is a place of public accommodation with Title III obligations both to buyers and to sellers. So it's nice to see a court rely in part on PGA Tour to hold that farmers' markets are covered by the statute in their dealings with potential sellers.