On October 28, 2004, a disabled California resident who used a wheelchair for mobility filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton) against Taco Bell and operators of a Union 76 gas station for having inaccessible restrooms in violation of Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq; the California Public Accommodations Law, California Civil Code §§ 51, 52, 54, 54.1, 54.3, and 55; California Health and Safety Code, §§ 19955 to 19959; California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code §§ 51, 52; and the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12101FF. The Union 76 parties settled with the plaintiff, agreeing to damages and injunctive relief. Taco Bell is presently a party to a pending class action, and it appears the plaintiff's claim in this case will be resolved in the class action. That case remains pending.
The plaintiff sought an injunction ordering the defendants to remove the barriers to accessibility listed in the complaint and to comply with the statutes above. She also sought a preliminary injunction, statutory damages, treble damages for certain claims, attorneys' fees, and costs.
On January 11, 2006, the District Court approved a consent decree between the plaintiff and the defendants who operated the Union 76 station. The consent decree included $10,000 in damages to the plaintiff and the defendants agreed to undertake remedial work set forth in an evaluation performed by expert Jonathan Adler.
On March 2008, the court adopted the magistrate judge's recommendation for an award of attorneys' fees and costs against these defendants of $48,392.80. Saldana-Neily v. Taco Bell Of America, Inc.,
No. 04-4571, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22915 (N.D. Cal. 2008). On June 19, 2008, the Union 76 parties were dismissed with prejudice by a stipulated order.
One of the owner-operators of the gas station defendants filed a cross claim against Taco Bell, presumably seeking indemnification. However, it appears the plaintiff's claims against Taco Bell will be resolved in a separate class action. The last entry on the docket is on September 9, 2009, and indicates that the case has been transferred to the Oakland division, from San Francisco. The second to last entry is the order dismissing the Union 76 parties. There is no mention of Taco Bell. It appears that the plaintiff in this action is a mandatory class member in a pending class action against Taco Bell. This case, Moeller v. Taco Bell,
also in the Northern District of California, appears on the docket as 4:02−cv−05849−PJH. It is also in this database as DR-CA-0024. On January 3, 2005, the District Court in Moeller
ordered the case to be related to Saldana-Neily
. Presumably, the plaintiff in Saldana-Neily has not settled with Taco Bell because of this pending class action.Eric Weiler - 08/19/2010