Moeller v. Taco Bell Corp.

In December, 2002, Fox & Robertson filed a class action lawsuit against Taco Bell Corp. based on barriers to wheelchair access at California corporate Taco Bell restaurants. The barriers include, for example, queue lines that are too narrow, inaccessible restrooms, service counters and dining areas, and insufficient accessible parking.

The Court certified a class in 2004.   Later that year, the Court appointed a Special Master to survey the approximately 220 restaurants at issue.

In August, 2007, the Court granted partial summary judgment as to three elements in over 150 restaurants.

In June, 2011, the Court held an exemplar trial on a single restaurant.   In October, 2011, the Court held in favor of the class on all of the issues in the exemplar trial, and concluded that the class was entitled to a classwide injunction.

In July, 2012, the Court issued a decision decertifying the class in part.   Based on the Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011), the Court decertified class damages claims, but held that class injunctive claims will remain certified and that, as she had previously held, that the Plaintiffs are entitled to class-wide injunctive relief.   As a result of this decision, class members will not be able to recover damages through this class action, but rather will have to file their own lawsuits.   The time to file such actions is limited by the statute of limitations.

In the July, 2012, decision, the Court gave the parties an August 31, 2012 deadline to submit proposed injunctions.   In September, 2012, however, the Court reversed her decision to enter an injunction and ordered that she would not address the question until after damages trials for the named plaintiffs, a process the Court believed “could span yet another decade.”

The Ninth Circuit dismissed our appeal of this decision for lack of appellate jurisdiction, so we are back before the district court preparing to schedule damages trials for the named plaintiffs.