Judge grants partial summary judgment in ADA violation suit against gas station in Union

By Sam Knef | Sep 28, 2017

ST. LOUIS — U.S. District Judge Ronnie L. White has granted partial summary judgment to a wheelchair-bound man who is suing a Petro Mart in Union for alleged violations of the American Disabilities Act (ADA). 

Plaintiff Joseph Reed claims he broke his left femoral head in his hip/leg Aug. 22, 2014, when his wheelchair slipped off the edge of the business's sidewalk that had been narrowed to a width of 23.6 inches due to a marketing display of bottled water, according to court documents. The ADA requires a minimum width of 36 inches.

In an order issued Sept. 22, White wrote that Reed had demonstrated that Petro Mart's parent company, Western Oil, had violated the ADA, that Reed was a member of a class the ADA intended to protect and that his injury was of the type that the ADA intended to prevent.

According to the order, Western Oil had been ordered to respond to the partial summary judgment motion no later than Sept. 22. But on Sept. 12, the defendant notified the court it did not intend to file an opposition to plaintiff's motion.

"Therefore, the only remaining issue at trial for Plaintiff's negligence per se claim is whether the ADA (violation) proximately caused injury to Plaintiff," White wrote.

A day earlier, White had granted a sweeping discovery request for Reed, who has been seeking several admissions from Western Oil, including admission that a sidewalk width of 23.6 inches is a violation of ADA requirements, inspection and walkthrough documents, identification of store employees on the day of the incident, production of the entire employee handbook and sales transactions on the date of the incident.

White indicated in his Sept. 21 ruling that if Western Oil fails to produce discovery responses by Friday, Sept. 29, he may impose sanctions, including the possibility of striking its pleadings.

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