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Antoninetti v. Chipotle Mexican Grill

November 7, 2007

MAURIZIO ANTONINETTI PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL, INC., AND DOES 1 THROUGH 10, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Napoleon A. Jones, Jr. United States District Judge

ORDER:

(1) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO EXCLUDE EXHIBITS AND TESTIMONY RELATING TO DEFENDANT'S POLICY

(2) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO EXCLUDE EXHIBITS NO. 51 AND 92 (DEFENDANT'S TRIAL MANUAL) AND ANY TESTIMONY RELATING THE TO TRIAL MANUAL

(3) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO EXCLUDE CUMULATIVE WITNESSES

(4) GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO EXCLUDE JOE STUPP'S TESTIMONY REGARDING 3/15/07 EMAIL

(5) GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO EXCLUDE EXPERT WITNESS TESTIMONY REGARDING APPLICABLE LAW AND REGULATIONS

(6) DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION IN LIMINE TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE AND ARGUMENT REGARDING CHIPOTLE RESTAURANTS NOT AT ISSUE IN THE COMPLAINT

(7) DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE AND ARGUMENT REGARDING NON-WITNESS ALLEGATIONS OF DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION

(8) GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO EXCLUDE MICHAEL RIFKIN, JAMES PERKINS, AND JEAN RIKER

(9) DENYING IN PART AND GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO EXCLUDE ANY EVIDENCE AND ARGUMENT REGARDING ALLEGATIONS THAT DEFENDANT'S EXPERT WITNESS KIM BLACKSETH HAD CONFLICTS OF INTEREST OR MISUSED HIS POSITION

(10) GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OF PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS ARTICLES BATES LABELED DEF RFP 24-0250 THROUGH DEF RFP 24-0281

A Motion in Limine hearing was held for this action on Monday, November 5, 2007, at 9:00 a.m. Plaintiff Maurizio Antoninetti ("Plaintiff") brings this action against Defendant Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. ("Defendant"). Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and damages under California Civil Code Sections 51, 51.5, 52, 54, 54.1 and 54.3. Both parties filed motions for summary judgment. The Court granted in part and denied in part both parties' motions. Trial is scheduled to begin on November 27, 2007 at 8:00 a.m. Currently before the Court are five (5) Motions in Limine filed by Plaintiff and five (5) Motions in Limine filed by Defendant. [Doc. Nos. 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172.] Both parties have filed Responses in Opposition to the Motions. [ Doc. Nos. 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190.] Plaintiff filed his Reply to the Defendant's Responses. [Doc. Nos. 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197.]

Background

Plaintiff is a paraplegic who requires a wheelchair for mobility. (Prop. Pretrial Order at 1.) Defendant owns and operates restaurants in Encinitas and San Diego. (Id.) Defendant's restaurants serve burritos, tacos, and other Mexican cuisine. (Id. at 3.) In ordering their entrees, customers move along a service line and select various ingredients. (Id.) Defendant's employees then prepare the entrees in front of customers using the selected ingredients. (Id.) After customers order their entrees and the employees prepare them, they move down the service line to a cashier counter to pay for their entrees. (Id. at 3.) The cashier counter is compliant with disabilities regulations. (Id. at 7.)

Defendant's employees prepare the entrees on counters that are approximately 35 inches high. (Id. at 5.) A wall separates restaurant customers from the food-preparation counters. (Id. at 4-5.) The wall is 44 inches from the floor. (Id.) A sneeze guard is attached to the top of the wall by a metal bracket that is approximately 2 inches high. (Id. at 5.) The view of the food-preparation counters is obstructed to a height of 46 inches from the floor. (Id.) If a person's eyes are at a height of 51 inches and are 12 inches from the wall at the food service line, the person can see no portion of the food-preparation counter, the ingredients available for selection, or the preparation of their food. (Id.) If a person's eyes are at a height of 43 inches and are 12 inches from the wall at the food service line, the person can see no portion of the food-preparation counter, the ingredients available for selection, or the preparation of their food. (Id.) The average eye level of persons in wheelchairs is between 43 and 51 inches. (Id.) Plaintiff's eye level is 45 inches. (Id. at 8.) He could not see over the wall obstructing the food-preparation counter. (Id.)

On October 6, 2006, the parties conducted site inspections of Defendants restaurants as part of discovery. (Id. at 5.) Defendant's employees did not show Plaintiff food items unless he asked to see them. (Id.) Plaintiff was shown each item he asked to see. (Id.) Defendant's employees showed Plaintiff ...


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