Handicap Access Claim Rejected

A federal appeals court upheld dismissal of handicap access claims against retailer Bed Bath & Beyond in a dispute about clearance space for restroom doors in a Southern California store.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday rejected the appeal of Chris Kohler, a paraplegic who sued saying the Americans with Disabilities Act requires maneuvering clearance next to the frame of a restroom door that must be pulled open.

Kohler argued unsuccessfully that the trial court was wrong to dismiss his claim.

The opinion was written by Judge Ronald Gould, who uses a wheelchair himself.

Kohler challenged access to the Lake Elsinore Marketplace story, claiming architectural barriers within the store and in the shopping center parking lot.  Gould also held that BB&B, as a tenant, was not responsible for any parking lot limitations.

The court did overturn a holding that some of Kohler’s claims were frivolous and the imposition of BB&B’s legal fees on Kohler.

Joining Gould in the decision were Judges Stephen Reinhardt and visiting Judge Frederick Motz from Maryland.

Case:  Kohler v. Bed Bath & Beyond, No. 12-56520


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