Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition v. Hermanson Family Limited Partnership I, et al., 96-WY-2490-AJ (D.C. Colo. 1996)
Four stores in Denver’s landmark shopping district, Larimer Square, provide no access to persons who use wheelchairs; ADA requires removal of barriers when doing so is “readily achievable, “e.g., installing ramps at one-step entrances. Plaintiff was Kevin Williams, CCDC General Counsel, on behalf of himself and a class of individuals with disabilities and CCDC itself, represented by Fox & Robertson, P.C.
Campbell-Ritter Corporation (operated Chatelaine store, no longer in business), AnnTaylor Stores Corporation, AnnTaylor, Inc (operated AnnTaylor store), Nine West Group, Inc. (operated Nine West Store), Hermanson Limited Family Partnership I (owns Larimer Square).
The District Court ruled that there is no exhaustion of administrative remedies required under the Colorado Anti-discrimination Act, a state anti-discrimination law. That Court also issued a ruling that an ADA plaintiff has standing to sue in a place of public accommodations if she or he tries to access the place and cannot enter; there is no need to demonstrate concrete intent to return or make a purchase. After trial and an appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Tenth Circuit adopted a burden of proof standard for plaintiffs in readily achievable barrier removal cases that is an issue of first impression.
Unfortunately, the Tenth Circuit held that the plaintiffs, in this case, failed to meet that burden of proof at trial. The single step entrances remained at the four stores.
The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision can be found at the following: