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Case Name Castaneda v. Burger King Corporation DR-CA-0032
Docket / Court 3:08CV04262 ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Attorney Organization Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center
NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Case Summary
On September 10, 2008, a wheelchair user brought a class action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of disabled individuals who encountered various barriers to accessability at many of California's 92 Burger King restaurants. He alleged that inaccessible ... read more >
On September 10, 2008, a wheelchair user brought a class action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of disabled individuals who encountered various barriers to accessability at many of California's 92 Burger King restaurants. He alleged that inaccessible restrooms, high counters, seating areas, and other aspects of Burger King restaurants violated the Americans With Disabilities Act and California statutes.



The complaint alleged that Burger King worked closely with franchisees, overseeing construction and restaurant design, and that these leased restaurants presented numerous barriers to accessibility, including "entry and restroom doors that were very difficult to open, parking lots with insufficient or inadequate accessible parking spots, inaccessible restrooms, narrow or steep sidewalks/ramps, queue lines that were too narrow for . . . wheelchair[s] to navigate, inaccessible seating areas, and drink machines and condiments that were difficult for [the plaintiffs] to reach."

The plaintiffs alleged that plaintiffs had violated 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a) of the ADA, the Unruh Act, Cal. Civ. Code, § 51(b), and the CDPA, Cal. Civ. Code § 54.1(a)(1). Like the Unruh Act, the CDPA provides that a violation of the ADA or state accessibility regulations is a violation of the CDPA. Cal. Civ. Code § 54.1(d).

On November 26, 2008, the defendant moved to dismiss the complaint for on lack of subject matter jurisdiction both because Castaneda lacked standing to assert claims with respect to Burger King stores he did not personally visit and because the state law claims destroyed diversity jurisdiction; and under Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim, citing a lack of specificity in the complaint.

On February 18, 2009, the court denied the motion in a published opinion ruling that the plaintffs adequately pled the existence of common discriminatory barriers and policies at Burger King stores, that the plaintiffs' ADA claim pled with adequate specificity to state a claim, and that supplemental jurisdiction existed over the state law claims, thus mooting the diversity jurisdiction issue. Castaneda v. Burger King Corp, 597 F. Supp. 2d 1035 (N.D. Cal. 2009). The Court also denied the defendant's motion in the alternative for a more definite statement under Rule 12(e) and to strike class allegations under Rule 12(f)



On August 19, 2009, in a published opinion, Magistrate Judge James Larson ordered that exception circumstances warranted the defendants' disclosure of work product. Castaneda v. Burger King Corp., 259 F.R.D. 1994 (N.D. Cal. 2009). Specifically, the court ordered Burger King to produce measurements of counter heights, ramp slopes, and other information, even if this was "work product" it had gathered to remediate the accessibility problems at franchised restaurants. The plaintiffs were unable to obtain this information because Burger King did not identify these restaurants until after the remediation work had commenced.

The plaintiffs' moved to certify a class consisting of "all individuals with manual and/or mobility disabilities who use wheelchairs or electric scooters and who were denied during the liability period, or are currently being denied, on the basis of disability, full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations in any BKL Restaurant," which the plaintiff estimated to consist of 1000 individuals.

On September 25, 2009, the court granted in part and denied in part the plaintiffs' motion to certify the class, in a published opinion. Castaneda v. Burger King Corp., 264 F.R.D. 557 (N.D. Cal. 2009). The court found that typical ADA class actions proceed against a single store on behalf of all disabled persons using that store. The Castaneda action, however, proceeded against 92 stores throughout California, which differed so much in design that there were no common issues among the stores. Thus, "such a large sprawling class will not be certified. Instead, separate classes will be certified against each of the ten individual restaurants where a named plaintiff encountered alleged access barriers." Id. at 559-60.

The court certified ten classes, corresponding to 10 separate restaurants, as: "All individuals with mobility-impairment disabilities who use wheelchairs or electric scooters for mobility who, at any time on or after April 16, 2006, and up to the date of the class notice, were denied, or are currently being denied, on the basis of their mobility-impairment disability, full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of [the particular restaurant applicable to that class]." Id. at 564.

The plaintiffs appealed the district court's order granting in part and denying in part the plaintiffs' motion for class certification. However, the parties settled during proceedings in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, mooting the appeal.

On February 11, 2010, the plaintiffs filed a motion for partial summary judgment as to violations of disability standards in one restaurant, number 2055. On that same day, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment as to the plaintiffs' claim for statutory damages under the Unruh Act and California Disabled persons Act, arguing that franchisees -- not Burger King -- had engaged in discriminatory conduct. Burger King also sought summary judgment as to the ADA claims because the ten restaurants were built before the ADA was enacted. However, the court did not consider these motions because the parties settled the case.

On March 19, 2010, the court approved the settlement agreement. The settlement included an injunction requiring Burger King to remove barriers to accessibility using checklists with specific criteria for remodeling, alteration, maintenance, and monitoring of compliance. The agreement required Burger king to maintain three types of periodic access surveys including: daily surveys by franchisee-managers to ensure access to restrooms and condiments; surveys every three years of parking lots and restroom fixtures; and successor remodeling surveys whenever a restaurant is remodeled, which is roughly every 20 years. The court would retain jurisdiction to enforce these terms for six years after finalization of the agreement.

The settlement also provided for a cash payment of $5,000,000 to the named plaintiffs and 382 class members who opted in. Burger King also agreed to pay $2,500,000 to plaintiffs for attorney's fees and costs, with reductions as an incentive for compliance with the agreement.

Eric Weiler - 05/19/2010


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Defendant(s) Burger King Corporation
Plaintiff Description Three named plaintiffs were disabled individuals who had patronized Burger King restaurants. Certified class was any disabled individual who visited one of ten specific Burger King restaurants in California and encountered barriers to accessibility.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center
NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2010 - 2016
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing DR-CA-0055 : Vallabhapurapu v. Burger King Corp. (N.D. Cal.)
Docket(s)
Ct.App. 9th Cir. 09-17210 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 01/05/2010
DR-CA-0032-9001.pdf | Detail
Westlaw
Ct.App. 9th Cir. 09-80158 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 03/03/2010
DR-CA-0032-9002.pdf | Detail
Westlaw
3:08-cv-04262-WHA (N.D. Cal.) 03/19/2010
DR-CA-0032-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Ct.App. 9th Cir. 10-15310 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 03/30/2010
DR-CA-0032-9003.pdf | Detail
Westlaw
General Documents
Discovery Order 08/19/2006 (259 F.R.D. 194) (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0032-0021.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Complaint 09/10/2006
DR-CA-0032-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant Burger King Corporation's Notice Of Motion And Motion To Dismiss For Lack Of Subject Matter Jurisdiction And Failure To State Any Claims Upon Which Relief Can Be Granted And Alternatively . . . 11/26/2008
DR-CA-0032-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Of Points Authorities In Support Of Defendants Burger King Corporation's Motion To Dismiss 11/26/2008 (2008 WL 7140554)
DR-CA-0032-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Defendant Burger King Corporation's Reply Memorandum In Support Of Its Motion To Dismiss 01/29/2009 (2009 WL 4031918)
DR-CA-0032-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
ORDER RE DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS; DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR A STAY OF CERTAIN DISCOVERY; PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL REMOVAL OF CONFIDENTIAL DESIGNATION 02/17/2009 (597 F.Supp.2d 1035) (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0032-0020.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint 03/13/2009 (2009 WL 4081701)
DR-CA-0032-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Defendant Burger King Corporation's Answer And Affirmative Defenses 03/26/2009
DR-CA-0032-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Notice Of Motion And Motion For Class Certification; Memorandum Of Points And Authorities In Support Of Their Motion For Class Certification 07/29/2009 (2009 WL 4031878)
DR-CA-0032-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Discovery Order [Re Plaintiffs’ Motion For Protective Order Re Defendants’ Contacts With Putative Class Members And Defendants’ Motion To Compel Plaintiff’s Counsel To Provide Putative Class Members’ Names, Addresses And Telephone Numbers] 07/31/2009 (2009 WL 2382688) (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0032-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant Burger King Corporation's Opposition To Plaintiffs' Motion For Class Certification 08/22/2009 (2009 WL 4031890)
DR-CA-0032-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Reply In Support Of Plaintiffs' Motion For Class Certification 09/03/2009 (2009 WL 4031893)
DR-CA-0032-0011.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order Granting Class Certification As To Ten Burger King Stores And Otherwise Denying Class Certification 09/25/2009 (264 F.R.D. 557) (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0032-0022.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Brief Of Disability Rights Legal Center, Disability Rights Advocates And The Impact Fund As Amici Curiae Support Of Petitioners 10/21/2009
DR-CA-0032-0019.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order Granting Motion To Compel Deposition 11/17/2009 (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0032-0012.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Request For Leave To Serve Additional Interrogatories 11/25/2009 (2009 WL 4282596) (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0032-0013.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Brief In Opposition To Defendant Burger King Corporation's Motion To Dismiss 01/08/2010 (2009 WL 4081700)
DR-CA-0032-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion For Partial Summary Judgment As To Violations Of Applicable Disability Access Standards In Restaurant Number 2055 02/11/2010 (2010 WL 1220214)
DR-CA-0032-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Defendant Burger King Corporation's Notice Of Motion, Motion For Partial Plaintiffs Summary Judgment, And Memorandum Of Points And Authorities 02/11/2010 (2010 WL 1220215)
DR-CA-0032-0015.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Plaintiffs' Opposition To Defendant Burger King Corporation's Motion For Partial Summary Judgment 02/25/2010 (2010 WL 1220217)
DR-CA-0032-0016.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Defendant Burger King Corporation's Memorandum Of Points And Authorities In Opposition To Plaintiffs' Motion For Partial Summary Judgment As To Restaurant #2055 02/26/2010 (2010 WL 1220218)
DR-CA-0032-0017.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order Granting Motion For Preliminary Approval Of Settlement 03/19/2010 (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0032-0018.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Alsup, William Haskell (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0032-0018 | DR-CA-0032-0020 | DR-CA-0032-0022 | DR-CA-0032-9000 | DR-CA-0032-9001 | DR-CA-0032-9002 | DR-CA-0032-9003
Larson, James L. (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
DR-CA-0032-0008 | DR-CA-0032-0009 | DR-CA-0032-0011 | DR-CA-0032-0012 | DR-CA-0032-0013 | DR-CA-0032-0021 | DR-CA-0032-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Campins, Julia (California)
DR-CA-0032-0001 | DR-CA-0032-0004 | DR-CA-0032-0006 | DR-CA-0032-0008 | DR-CA-0032-0011 | DR-CA-0032-0014 | DR-CA-0032-0016 | DR-CA-0032-9000 | DR-CA-0032-9001 | DR-CA-0032-9002 | DR-CA-0032-9003
Fox, Timothy Patrick (Colorado)
DR-CA-0032-0001 | DR-CA-0032-0004 | DR-CA-0032-0006 | DR-CA-0032-0008 | DR-CA-0032-0011 | DR-CA-0032-0014 | DR-CA-0032-0016 | DR-CA-0032-9000 | DR-CA-0032-9001 | DR-CA-0032-9002 | DR-CA-0032-9003
Kilb, Linda D. (California)
DR-CA-0032-0001 | DR-CA-0032-0006 | DR-CA-0032-0008 | DR-CA-0032-0011 | DR-CA-0032-9000 | DR-CA-0032-9001 | DR-CA-0032-9002 | DR-CA-0032-9003
Lah, Andrew (California)
DR-CA-0032-0008 | DR-CA-0032-0011 | DR-CA-0032-0014 | DR-CA-0032-0016 | DR-CA-0032-9000 | DR-CA-0032-9001 | DR-CA-0032-9002 | DR-CA-0032-9003
Lawson, Antonio (California)
DR-CA-0032-0001 | DR-CA-0032-0006 | DR-CA-0032-9000 | DR-CA-0032-9001
Lee, Bill Lann (California)
DR-CA-0032-0001 | DR-CA-0032-0004 | DR-CA-0032-0006 | DR-CA-0032-0008 | DR-CA-0032-0011 | DR-CA-0032-0014 | DR-CA-0032-0016 | DR-CA-0032-9000 | DR-CA-0032-9001 | DR-CA-0032-9002 | DR-CA-0032-9003
Mayeda, Mari (California)
DR-CA-0032-0001 | DR-CA-0032-0004 | DR-CA-0032-0006 | DR-CA-0032-0008 | DR-CA-0032-0011 | DR-CA-0032-0014 | DR-CA-0032-0016 | DR-CA-0032-9000 | DR-CA-0032-9001 | DR-CA-0032-9002 | DR-CA-0032-9003
Robertson, Amy Farr (Colorado)
DR-CA-0032-0004 | DR-CA-0032-0006 | DR-CA-0032-0008 | DR-CA-0032-0011 | DR-CA-0032-0014 | DR-CA-0032-0016 | DR-CA-0032-9000 | DR-CA-0032-9001 | DR-CA-0032-9002 | DR-CA-0032-9003
Defendant's Lawyers Friedenberg, Adam (California)
DR-CA-0032-0002 | DR-CA-0032-0003 | DR-CA-0032-0005 | DR-CA-0032-0007 | DR-CA-0032-0010 | DR-CA-0032-0015 | DR-CA-0032-0017 | DR-CA-0032-9000 | DR-CA-0032-9001 | DR-CA-0032-9002 | DR-CA-0032-9003
Glynn, Clement (California)
DR-CA-0032-0002 | DR-CA-0032-0003 | DR-CA-0032-0005 | DR-CA-0032-0007 | DR-CA-0032-0010 | DR-CA-0032-0015 | DR-CA-0032-0017 | DR-CA-0032-9000 | DR-CA-0032-9001 | DR-CA-0032-9002 | DR-CA-0032-9003
Joblove, Michael D. (Florida)
DR-CA-0032-0002 | DR-CA-0032-0003 | DR-CA-0032-0005 | DR-CA-0032-0007 | DR-CA-0032-0010 | DR-CA-0032-0015 | DR-CA-0032-0017 | DR-CA-0032-9000 | DR-CA-0032-9001 | DR-CA-0032-9002 | DR-CA-0032-9003
Orlick, Martin H. (California)
DR-CA-0032-9000
Perlman, Jonathan Evan (Florida)
DR-CA-0032-0002 | DR-CA-0032-0003 | DR-CA-0032-0005 | DR-CA-0032-0007 | DR-CA-0032-0010 | DR-CA-0032-0015 | DR-CA-0032-0017 | DR-CA-0032-9000 | DR-CA-0032-9001 | DR-CA-0032-9002 | DR-CA-0032-9003
Rodgers, Maureen Anne (California)
DR-CA-0032-9000 | DR-CA-0032-9001
Other Lawyers Parks, Shawna L (California)
DR-CA-0032-0019
Pearlman, Paula D. (California)
DR-CA-0032-0019

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