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Case Name Smith v. Board of Commissioners DR-LA-0002
Docket / Court 2:17-cv-07267-SM-JCW ( E.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Case Summary
This is a case about disability access in public accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The plaintiff, a wheelchair user, filed this suit on July 28, 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. She sued the Board of Commissioners of the Louisiana ... read more >
This is a case about disability access in public accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The plaintiff, a wheelchair user, filed this suit on July 28, 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. She sued the Board of Commissioners of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District and its chief executive, Kyle France; SMG; Live Nation; and Box Office Ticket Center, LLC under the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights after attending a concert at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite purchasing a ticket for an accessible seat for herself and an adjoining seat for her companion, she alleged that she was made to sit in an ordinary seat without restroom access or a clear line of sight to the performance area and that her wheelchair was taken from her and stored out of sight for the duration of the concert, among other claims. The plaintiff asserted that defendants violated the ADA by failing to make reasonable accommodations to ensure persons with disabilities the equal opportunity to enjoy use of their facilities and services. The plaintiff sought damages, declaratory and injunctive relief, and attorneys' fees and costs.

The case was assigned to Judge Susie Morgan and Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Wilkinson, Jr. On December 15, 2017, Live Nation was dismissed as a defendant and Box Office Ticket Center, LLC was likewise dismissed on February 6, 2018. Settlement talks began in early 2018, but no settlement agreement was reached.

On January 9, 2019, the plaintiff and defendants filed cross-motions for summary judgment. In early March of 2019, Judge Morgan granted in part and denied in part each of the motions for summary judgment. The court held that the plaintiff had standing to seek injunctive relief under Title II of the ADA against the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District and Kyle France, in his official capacity as chief executive of the Board of Commissioners, and under Title III of the ADA against SMG. 371 F. Supp. 3d 313. However, it held that both the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District and France were entitled to sovereign immunity on the Title II damages claim and that the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District was also entitled to sovereign immunity on the Title II claim for injunctive relief. 372 F. Supp. 3d 431. The court denied the remaining portions of the summary judgment motions with respect to liability. 2019 WL 1084705.

A bench trial was held before Judge Morgan on March 11, 2019. On May 14, 2019, the court found that the plaintiff was entitled to recover $20,000 in damages for emotional distress from defendant SMG and that she was entitled to injunctive relief, attorney’s fees, and costs against SMG and France. 385 F. Supp. 3d 491. On July 11, 2019, the court entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff. SMG and France appealed the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on July 30, 2019. That appeal remains pending.

On October 1, 2019, SMG and France were ordered to pay the plaintiff $58,358.62 in attorneys’ fees and $1,307.75 in costs, for a total award of $59,666.37, based on recommendation by Magistrate Judge Wilkinson. 2019 WL 7580772.

Rachel Harrington - 11/13/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Reasonable Accommodation
Defendant-type
Movie Theater or Other Entertainment facility
Disability
Mobility impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Access to public accommodations - privately owned
Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable Modifications
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
State law
Defendant(s) Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District
Plaintiff Description Patron with disability who was denied reasonable accommodations during concert.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 07/28/2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
E.D. La.
10/16/2019
2:17-cv-07267
DR-LA-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D. La.
07/28/2017
Complaint [ECF# 1]
DR-LA-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. La.
08/20/2017
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 5]
DR-LA-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. La.
03/06/2019
Order and Reasons [ECF# 87]
DR-LA-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. La.
03/07/2019
Order and Reasons [ECF# 91]
DR-LA-0002-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. La.
05/07/2019
Order and Reasons [ECF# 90]
DR-LA-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. La.
05/14/2019
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law [ECF# 96] (385 F.Supp.3d 491)
DR-LA-0002-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. La.
10/01/2019
Order (2020 WL 7580772)
DR-LA-0002-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Westlaw
E.D. La.
10/01/2019
Order [ECF# 138] (2019 WL 7580772)
DR-LA-0002-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Westlaw
show all people docs
Judges Morgan, Susie [Sue, Donna] (E.D. La.) show/hide docs
DR-LA-0002-0001 | DR-LA-0002-0003 | DR-LA-0002-0004 | DR-LA-0002-0006 | DR-LA-0002-0007 | DR-LA-0002-0008 | DR-LA-0002-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bizer, Andrew David (Louisiana) show/hide docs
DR-LA-0002-0002 | DR-LA-0002-0005 | DR-LA-0002-9000
Florman, Marc P. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
DR-LA-0002-0002 | DR-LA-0002-0005 | DR-LA-0002-9000
Hammack, Jacqueline Kaye (Louisiana) show/hide docs
DR-LA-0002-0002 | DR-LA-0002-0005 | DR-LA-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Centorino, Scott G. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
DR-LA-0002-9000
Duplantier, Richard G. Jr. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
DR-LA-0002-9000
Fine, Robert S. (Florida) show/hide docs
DR-LA-0002-9000
Walters, Christopher (Louisiana) show/hide docs
DR-LA-0002-9000

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