University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Californians for Disability Rights v. Mervyn's DR-CA-0006
Docket / Court 2002-051738 ( State Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Case Summary
This case was brought in California state court in 2002 against the owners and operators of a chain of department stores by the non-profit advocacy group, Californians for Disability Rights ("CDR"). Represented by Disability Rights Advocates, CDR claimed the pathways between fixtures and shelves in ... read more >
This case was brought in California state court in 2002 against the owners and operators of a chain of department stores by the non-profit advocacy group, Californians for Disability Rights ("CDR"). Represented by Disability Rights Advocates, CDR claimed the pathways between fixtures and shelves in the stores were too clogged to permit access by persons who use mobility aids, such as scooters, wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers. The plaintiff claimed that the store's refusal to create access to its merchandise violated the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA").

After a bench trial, the court (Judge Needham) found that the store had denied access to persons with disabilities, but that widening pathways would result in a loss of selling space and profit. The store had argued that barrier removal could not be "readily achieved" and gave as evidence the alleged loss of $70 million in annual sales and up to $30 million in profits, figures arrived at through a nine-month study in which they complied with the law. Rather, it opened remote stores that were accessible. The trial court found that solution adequate.

Following litigation concerning the effect of California Proposition 64's new limitations on, the California Supreme Court ruled on July 24, 2006 that the case could go forward. 39 Cal.4th 223, 227 (2006)

On remand, a three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeal unanimously held on July 30, 2008, that the plaintiff had proved a violation of the ADA. Californians for Disability Rights v. Mervyn's LLC, Cal. Ct. App., No. A106199. The court held that the store must make its merchandise available to disabled individuals, and that it did not meet its obligation by constructing new and geographically distant stores that are accessible. The court remanded to the trial court for consideration of appropriate alternative means for making merchandise available to disabled individuals who are denied physical access.

The trial docket of this case does not show any subsequent activity, so we have no further information.

Joshua Arocho - 08/01/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Retailer
Disability
Mobility impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to public accommodations - privately owned
Barrier Removal
Buildings
Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable Modifications
Retail Shopping
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action State law
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 12111 et seq.
Defendant(s) Mervyn's LLC
Plaintiff Description Individuals with physical disabilites who cannot access merchandise at defendant's department store due to the crowding of aisles by movable fixtures.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Docket(s)
S131798 (State Supreme Court) 03/27/2007
DR-CA-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Bloomberg Law
General Documents
Opinion (California Supreme Court) 07/24/2006 (138 P.3d 207)
DR-CA-0006-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion on Remand (California Court of Appeal) 07/29/2008 (165 Cal.App.4th 571)
DR-CA-0006-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: State Court Website
Judges Reardon, Timothy A. (State Appellate Court)
DR-CA-0006-0001 | DR-CA-0006-9000
Ruvolo, Ignazio J. (State Appellate Court)
DR-CA-0006-0001 | DR-CA-0006-9000
Sepulveda, Patricia K. (State Appellate Court)
DR-CA-0006-0001 | DR-CA-0006-9000
Werdegar, Kathryn M. (State Supreme Court)
DR-CA-0006-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Olivier, Monique (California)
DR-CA-0006-9000
Paradis, Laurence W. (California)
DR-CA-0006-9000
Sturdevant, James C. (California)
DR-CA-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers McDowell, David F. (California)
DR-CA-0006-9000
Vaclavik, Kathryn Ann (California)
DR-CA-0006-9000
Other Lawyers Leviant, Howard Scott (California)
DR-CA-0006-9000
Osborne, Thomas W. (District of Columbia)
DR-CA-0006-9000
Parker, Warrington Samuel (California)
DR-CA-0006-9000

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