Monday, October 29, 2012

FoxRobBlog on New Oliver Case

Awesome disability rights lawyers (and FOBs) Tim Fox and Amy Robertson have a new blog over at their law firm's website; check it out.  They have a post on an important new case involving the Ninth Circuit's pleading standards for ADA public accommodations claims.  The case is Oliver v. In-N-Out Burgers, — F.R.D. —, 2012 WL 5266978 (S.D. Cal., Oct. 19, 2012).  Here's Amy's write-up:
This case does two important things: 
First, it permits the plaintiff to amend his complaint to add barriers he learned about during the litigation. This is clearly a best practice in light of the Ninth Circuit’s holding in Oliver v. Ralphs Grocery Company, 654 F.3d 903 (9th Cir. 2011), limiting the plaintiff — the same Mr. Oliver! — to the barriers alleged in his complaint. The Ninth Circuit had held, earlier that year, that “[a]n ADA plaintiff who has Article III standing as a result of at least one barrier at a place of public accommodation may, in one suit, permissibly challenge all barriers in that public accommodation that are related to his or her specific disability.” Chapman v. Pier 1 Imports (U.S.) Inc., 631 F.3d 939, 950-51 (9th Cir. 2011). These holdings are harmonized if a plaintiff is permitted to amend his complaint, during the litigation, to allege additional violations. 
Second, it addresses new state law pleading standards set to take effect on January 1, 2013, requiring complaints to allege the dates on which they encountered the alleged barriers. The defendant argued that the amendment would be futile because it did not contain these required dates. The court rejects this argument, holding that state pleading standards do not apply in federal court.

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