On April 27, 2017, the Honorable Robert C. Mitchell, sitting in the Western District of Pennsylvania, entered an Order certifying a class or all persons with mobility disabilities who were or will be denied the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of any Steak ‘n Shake restaurant location in the United States on the basis of a disability because such persons encountered accessibility barriers in the parking facilities of the restaurant. In granting class certification, Judge Mitchell rejected every single argument advanced by Steak ‘n Shake and found the case presented common questions with common answers: “The Plaintiffs have shown sufficient evidence – at this juncture – that Defendant applies the same ADA maintenance policies and practices in a uniform way to the restaurants it owns and controls, which may prove to be harmful to the class members protected rights” noting that while Steak ‘n Shake monitors its parking lots for cracks and potholes it does nothing to identify or remediate slope issues and other relevant disability access violations. Additionally, Judge Mitchell confirmed Steak ‘n Shake’s obligation under the ADA to maintain the accessible features of its restaurants so that individuals with disabilities may have the same dining experience as able-bodied individuals. Carlson Lynch partner Ed Kilpela is leading the firm’s litigation efforts.

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