Ninth Circuit holds you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

In Strong v. Valdez Fine Foods, — F.3d —, 2013 WL 3746097 (9th Cir. July 18, 2013), the Ninth Circuit held that a person with a disability who is suing to challenge architectural barriers at a pizza joint did not need an expert to testify that the place was inaccessible. Inaccessible facilities are always experienced in the first place without a tape measure.   You try to patronize them, but there’s no ramp or the queue line is too narrow or the restroom too small.   This is obvious to a person using a wheelchair because you can’t get in here or out there or from here to there.   Ultimately, it’s not a legal violation unless the inaccessible dimensions actually run afoul of the legal standards, for example, the DOJ Standards for Accessible Design, but in most cases, that’s a matter of reading a tape measure. All that said, in litigation, in an abundance of caution, we generally retain an expert to read the tape measure and the [only slightly] more complex digital level and door-force measuring device. Our experts (love you guys!) are experienced architects and access analysts who bring their expertise in code interpretation, and that experience and analysis is invaluable.   But if you really just want to know the height of a service counter or the width of a parking space, pretty much any one over the age of 10 could do it. Which brings me to Strong v. Valdez, which held that a person with a disability doesn’t need an expert to testify to basic measurements.   Judge Kosinski sets the tone with...

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Hello, World!   And welcome to the CREECblog.   The Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center is the new project of the attorneys formerly known as FoxRob.   We’re looking forward to investigating and litigating civil rights violations and teaching and speaking on civil rights topics.   On the blog, we’ll be providing newsy updates, legal commentary, and (of course) snark. We’re on Twitter (@CREEClaw) and Facebook — come follow and like us.   And most importantly, please join CREEC and help support our mission....
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