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Snyder v. Lady Slings The Booze, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville

May 21, 2014

HOWARD STEPHEN SNYDER, Plaintiff,
v.
LADY SLINGS THE BOOZE, LLC, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

CHARLES R. SIMPSON, III, Senior District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the following motions:

1) a motion for summary judgment (DN 30) filed by Defendant Lady Slings the Booze, LLC ("Defendant"), against Plaintiff Howard Stephen Snyder ("Plaintiff");
2) a motion for partial summary judgment (DN 27) filed by Plaintiff against Defendant.

For the reasons set forth below, the court will deny the motions for summary judgment.

BACKGROUND

Unless otherwise indicated, the following facts are undisputed. Plaintiff suffers from muscular dystrophy, a neurological disease which has caused significant mobility impairment requiring that he use a motorized wheelchair. On June 8, 2012, Plaintiff attempted to gain access to "Third Street Dive, " a bar owned by Defendant, but was unable to negotiate the four-inch step barrier separating the sidewalk from the saloon. Upon inquiry of the manager, Plaintiff was informed that there was no ramp he could use to enter the premises. Although Plaintiff had a portable ramp in his vehicle which he could have used to enter the bar, the manager refused to allow him to enter. While Plaintiff claims that he was refused entry due to his allegation that the step barrier violated the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), Defendant claims that Plaintiff was refused entry because he appeared intoxicated, behaved belligerently, and refused to pay the bar's cover charge.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On October 15, 2012, Plaintiff filed the present action alleging discrimination and retaliation in violation of the ADA. On September 15, 2013, Plaintiff moved for partial summary judgment (DN 27) on his ADA discrimination claim, arguing that there was no genuine dispute that the step barrier violated the ADA. On October 22, 2013, Defendant moved for summary judgment on both the discrimination and the retaliation claim, arguing that: 1) the step barrier did not violate the ADA to the extent that its removal was not readily achievable; and 2) Plaintiff was not retaliated against because he was not denied admission to the bar because of his disability or his allegation that the step barrier violated the ADA, but rather because of his refusal to pay a cover charge and his allegedly intoxicated and belligerent behavior.

Having considered the parties' briefs and being otherwise sufficiently advised, the Court will now address the motions for summary judgment.

STANDARD

Before granting a motion for summary judgment, the Court must find that there is no genuine issue of material fact such that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The party moving for summary judgment bears the initial burden of establishing the nonexistence of any issue of material fact, Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986), a burden which may only be satisfied by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record..." or "showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). If the moving party satisfies this burden, the burden of production shifts to the non-moving party, who must then identify evidence demonstrating the existence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322.

In resolving a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view the evidence in a light most favorable to the non-moving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007). However, the non-moving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Thus, "[t]he mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [non-moving party's] position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [non-moving party]." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, ...


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