Florida Record

Friday, November 22, 2019

Cleveland Clinic Florida Hospital denied motion to dismiss ADA case involving placement of trash bins


By Charmaine Little | Aug 16, 2019

General court 10

The U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida denied a Florida health-care facility’s attempt to get an Americans with Disabilities Act claim against it dismissed.

Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge John J. O’Sullivan ruled on the case.

Gary Kahn sued Cleveland Clinic Florida Hospital alleging it violated the act as trash and linen bins were placed in a possibly hazardous section of an accessible area. A previous court granted an injunction for Kahn in January, and Cleveland Clinic filed a motion to dismiss, which the court denied. 

Cleveland Clinic said the case should be dismissed because it remade an office into a changing room and “recessed the trash bins in two accessible restrooms,” according to the lawsuit. The clinic also took out the extra trash bin from another accessible bathroom and put up signage in English and Spanish that informed patrons not to put a trash bin in that space. 

But the court said it had concerns that Cleveland Clinic didn’t properly relay to its staff how important it was to keep the floor space clear and free of any barricades. It brought up an instance in which a party discovered that a trash bin blocked a clear space of a baby changing station. Cleveland Clinic fixed this by switching out the changing station with a seat-cover dispenser, but it left the trash bin where it was, the court said, blocking the newly installed dispenser.

The court said, it “has no assurances that the defendant would maintain its accessible restrooms free of encroachments” without an injunction against it. "An injunction is especially warranted given the defendant’s failed attempts at keeping its accessible restrooms free of encroachments coupled with its continued insistence that it ‘has a good faith belief that the ADA does not apply to the movable bins such as the trash bins or the linen bins,’” O'Sullivan wrote in his ruling.

O'Sullivan also determined Kahn is owed reasonable attorney’s fees and legal costs, but he denied Kahn’s attempt to get sanctions against the defendant as Kahn didn’t follow Rule 11 when filing it. That rule says a sanctions motion can’t be filed within 21 days after service.

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