A federal appeals court on Friday ruled in a class action lawsuit against a disabled chain filed against a bargaining chain, ruling that the lower court had certified an overly broad class based on insufficient evidence.
Irma Allen and Bartley Michael Mullen Jr., who are disabled and need wheelchairs, filed a class action lawsuit against Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Inc., a chain of more than 400 stores in 29 states, after finding pillars. clothes racks and drawers blocking their way in two Pennsylvania stores, according to Friday’s ruling by the Third U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia in Irma Allen; Bartley Michael Mullen, Jr. v. Ollie̵7;s Bargain Outlet Inc.
The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the chain in the U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh. The trial accused the chain of violating Section III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
ADA prohibits resellers from discrimination on the grounds of disability by failing to make reasonable changes for persons with disabilities; fails to remove architectural barriers; and not build or modify facilities so that they are accessible and useful to the disabled, the decision said.
The district court agreed to certify the proposed class, but was overruled by a court panel with three judges.
In order to be certified as a class action, the plaintiff must show that the potential number of class members is “the number of a predominant part of the evidence”, the verdict said, pointing to an earlier case which found that a class with more than 40 members “is not always necessary . ”
In this case, the verdict said, among other things, evidence, the plaintiffs declared that they had video evidence showing 16 people using wheelchairs or scooters in two Ollie places. “It is not sufficient to satisfy the plaintiffs’ burden of proof for numerosity,” the verdict said.
In addition, the plaintiff must show that the chain’s “visual store standards are more likely than not a common cause of failure to maintain available aisles in Ollie’s stores in the United States.”
“They have not met that burden,” the verdict said. “There is no evidence that the visual standards caused inaccessible aisles in all of Ollie’s stores across the country,” it said. “The investigation report is limited to stores in Pennsylvania,” the decision was made, by leaving the lower court and remanding the case for further processing.
The lawyers in the case had no comments.
In April, a federal appellate court resumed an ADA lawsuit against a motel in Tallahassee, Florida, filed by a self-appointed “tester” who did not intend to visit the facility.