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Antoninetti v. Chipotle Mexican Grill

November 19, 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) ADOPTING JOINT PROPOSED LEGAL STANDARDS [DOC. NO. 175]; AND RELATED CASE (2) SUMMARILY DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S SUPPLEMENTAL LEGAL STANDARDS [DOC. NO. 176]; (3) ADOPTING IN PART AND DISMISSING IN PART DEFENDANT'S SUPPLEMENTAL LEGAL STANDARDS [DOC. NO. 174].

Before the Court are the Joint Proposed Legal Standards, Plaintiff Maurizio Antoninetti's ("Plaintiff") Supplemental Legal Standards, Defendant Chipotle Mexican Grill's ("Defendant") Supplemental Legal Standards, and the parties Responses in Opposition to the Supplemental Legal Standards. Having reviewed the joint legal standards, the supplemental legal standards, and the responses in opposition to the proposed supplemental legal standards; the Court ADOPTS the Joint Proposed Legal Standards, SUMMARILY DISMISSES Plaintiff's Supplemental Legal Standards, and ADOPTS IN PART AND DISMISSES IN PART Defendant's Supplemental Legal Standards.

Background

Plaintiff filed a Complaint on August 22, 2005, alleging various causes of action, including violations of the ADA, the California Unruh Civil Rights Act ("Unruh Act"), and the California Disabled Persons Act ("DPA"). [Doc. No. 1.] On April 16, 2007, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, contending: (1) Plaintiff's claims for injunctive relief under the ADA are moot because Defendant has remedied the alleged architectural barriers; (2) Defendant's food-preparation area and transaction station fully comply with accessibility regulations; and (3) the Court should decline jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims.

Doc. No. 94.] On April 12, 2007, Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that (1) the design of Defendant's restaurants violates the ADA Accessibility Guidelines; and (2) the benefits, advantages, and privileges of Defendant's restaurants are not available to persons in wheelchairs. [See Doc. No. 87.] On June 14, 2007, the Court Granted in Part and Denied in Part both parties Motions for Summary Judgment. The matter is currently set for trial on November 26, 2007 at 9:00a.m.

In the trial order, the Court ordered both parties to jointly submit one set of agreed upon legal standards. [Doc. No. 156 at 2.] The Court provided that if the parties could not agree upon one complete set of legal standards, they were permitted to submit a supplemental set of standards and objections to the non-agreed upon standards proposed by the other party. (Id.) The Court ordered that all legal standards be short, concise, and neutral statements of law. (Id.) The Court further provided that argumentative standards would not be accepted and should not be submitted. (Id.) On October 15, 2007, both parties submitted the Joint Proposed Legal Standards and their supplemental legal standards. [Doc. Nos. 174, 175, 176.] On that same day, both parties submitted a Response in Opposition to the opposing party's supplemental legal standards. [Doc. Nos. 177, 178.]

Discussion

Proposed Joint Legal Standards The parties have jointly submitted twenty-five (25) proposed legal standards. [Doc. No. 175.] These standards were submitted pursuant to the Court's instruction in the trial order. [See Doc. No. 156 at 2.] Accordingly, the Court SHOULD ADOPT the parties' Joint Proposed Legal Standards.

Plaintiff's Supplemental Legal Standards

Plaintiff has provided the Court with thirty-five (35) supplemental legal standards. [Doc. No. 176.] Defendant has filed an objection to each of Plaintiff's proposed standards. [Doc. No. Defendant objects to Plaintiff's Supplemental Legal Standards 2.7, 2.9, 3.2, 3.4, 3.6, 3.7, 6.6, 7.2, and 8.1 on the grounds that they are duplicative of the submitted joint proposed standards. [See Doc. No. 178 at 4, 6, 10, 12, 13, 22, 23, 24.] The Court FINDS that, whereas the joint proposed standards are the combined effort of both parties, any supplemental standards that address the same rule of law as the joint proposed standards should be dismissed. Accordingly, the Court SUMMARILY DISMISSES Plaintiff's Supplemental Legal Standards 2.7, 2.9, 3.2, 3.4, 3.6, 3.7, 6.6, 7.2, and 8.1.

Defendant objects to Plaintiff's Supplemental Legal Standards 3.14, 3.15, 5.3, 5.4, and 6.8 on the grounds that these standards are irrelevant. [See Doc. No. 178 at 18, 19, 21, 23.] Defendant argues that these proposed standards are only relevant for defenses that Defendant will not raise during trial. (Id.) Since Defendant will not assert the defenses that invoke these standards, the Court SUMMARILY DISMISSES Plaintiff's Supplemental Legal Standards 3.14, 3.15, 5.3, 5.4, and 6.8.

Plaintiff's Supplemental Legal Standards 2.5, 2.11, and 3.12 all cite as support, statements from the House Report on the passage of the ADA. [See Doc. No. 176 at 2, 4, 8.] Defendant argues in opposition that these standards are not statements of law but rather a policy statement derived from the legislative history of the ADA. [See Doc. No. 178 at 2, 7, 16.] In the Court's trial order, the Parties were ordered to submit legal standards that were short and concise statements of law. [Doc. No. 156 at 2.] The Court FINDS that these statements from the legislative history of the ADA are not proper legal standards. As such, the Court SUMMARILY DISMISSES Plaintiff's Supplemental Legal Standards 2.5, 2.11, and 3.12.

Defendant objects to Plaintiff's Supplemental Legal Standards 3.8, 3.13, 6.7, and 8.2 on the grounds that these standards are incorrectly applied fact-based findings from specific cases. [Doc. No. 178 at 13, 18, 22, 24.] Following is a brief discussion of each standard.

Plaintiff's Supplemental Legal Standard 3.8 provides that: for "equivalent facilitation" to be found, the benefits of a public accommodation must be provided in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of the individual. [Doc. No. 176 at 7.] Plaintiff cites Caruso v. Blockbuster, 193 F.3d 730, 739 (3rd Cir. 1999), citing 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 12182(b) (1)(A)(iii) as support. (Id.) The court's finding in Caruso was specific to the unique facts of that case. The defendant in Caruso was accused of failing to design a portion of its facility so as to allow wheelchair users to enter and exit that portion of its facility. Defendant's accommodations with regards to the entrance and ...


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