ADA Plaintiffs Need Not Prove Intent, Court Says

     (CN) – An employee who sues for disability discrimination does not need to prove the discrimination was intentional, the California Supreme Court ruled.

     Kenneth Munson won the decision of Del Taco Inc. after he alleged that architectural barriers prevented him from using the restroom at one of the company’s restaurants.
     In making the decision, Justice Werdegar had to choose between two previous cases: Lentini v. California Center for the Arts (9th Circuit, 2004), which ruled that intentional and unintentional violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act are subject to damages, and; Gunther v. Lin (Calif. App. 4th, 2006) which disagreed with Lentini by stating that unintentional violations are not subject to damages.
     Werdegar agreed with Gunther, ruling that legislative history “demonstrates an intent to incorporate ADA accessibility standards comprehensively into the Unruh Civil Rights Act and thus to provide a damages remedy for any violation of the ADA’s mandate of equal access to public accommodations.”

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