A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that a wheelchair-bound plaintiff who admitted that he did not enjoy Chinese food did not have the legal status to sue a Chinese restaurant under American Disability.
Scott Smith has arthrogryposis, a rare congenital joint disease, and uses a wheelchair, according to Tuesday's ruling by the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis. Louis i Scott Smith v. Golden China of Red Wing, Inc .; Vu Thu Lam.
In May 2017, he was driven more than 50 miles from his home to the Red Wing and Winona, Minnesota, for the sole purpose of testing whether different companies complied with the ADA, they say. 19659002] At the Golden China restaurant in Red Wing, he noted various shortcomings ̵
He later awoke 13 lawsuits at the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis as a result of his trip, including claims against Golden China under the ADA and the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
The district court found that Smith had been required to bring the suit based on his testimony that he was visiting the Red Wing and had plans to return to the restaurant if the obstacles were removed.
But under the "easily achievable standard" it found that Smith "had failed to meet his burden" Due to t The financial charge that the improvement would take on Golden China, the decision said.
On appeal, a three-judge appellate court
Mr Smith had never been to Golden China and his only return to the establishment was in June 2017 "" to see that the changes had been made, "said the panel's unanimous decision.
"Smith, who does not like Chinese food, stated that if he went back, it would only be because he was in the area for" something else "and his friends or family wanted to go," the decision said.
Mr. Smith also said that neither he nor his family had any specific plans to return to Golden China or even the Red Wing. "And if any of his friends or family ever had or ever wanted to patronize Golden China, Smith could not say," the decision said as he cleared the district court ruling.
Lawyers in the case did not respond.
According to the ADA, companies must remove architectural barriers in existing buildings and ensure that newly built or altered facilities are designed to be accessible to people with disabilities.
Defense lawyers, however, have said that "Drive-by processes" according to the ADA are often based on minor architectural issues. They say that several lawsuits are often filed by the same company, with the same named plaintiff, in order to encourage companies to simply settle for legal fees because it would be cheaper than facing further disputes.