On January 10, 2017, Chris Wesierski appeared for oral argument before the Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, representing the firm’s client Los Alamitos Racing Association in the case Michael Orlando v. Los Alamitos Racing Association. Mr. Orlando had sued the Los Alamitos race track, claiming he was disabled, and making a demand under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that a stairway entrance to the facility be demolished and replaced by a ramp to accommodate his claimed disability. The race track denied all of the plaintiff’s claims, asserting that demolition of the stairway to build a 100 foot long ramp was not a “reasonable accommodation”. The race track alleged that there is an alternate entrance to the race track that would be a “reasonable accommodation” under the ADA to give him equal access to the race track, given his claimed disability. The plaintiff contended that the alternate entrance was, itself, unacceptable to him unless changes were made to this second entrance to “accommodate” his claimed disability. The plaintiff sought a six figure judgment plus an award of attorney fees.
The firm filed a motion for the trial court to enter summary judgment for the race track and against the plaintiff on the basis that the entrances to the race track were in compliance with the ADA to allow handicapped persons to have equal access to the facility. The trial court granted the summary judgment motion in favor of our client Los Alamitos Racing Association in January, 2015, stating that the alternate entrance to the race track was a “reasonable accommodation” to allow the plaintiff to enter the race track, and that the plaintiff’s demanded changes to the alternate entrance were not needed. Judgment was entered in favor of the firm’s client. The plaintiff appealed the judgment to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, claiming that the trial judge misunderstood the law, and demanding that the judgment be reversed.
After hearing lengthy oral argument from the plaintiff’s attorney and Mr. Wesierski’s responses, the Federal Court has affirmed the trial court’s judgment for the firm’s client, providing vindication to the race track that the accommodations that are provided to handicapped persons for entrance to the facility are in compliance with the ADA. The court also awarded costs to Los Alamitos Racing Association as the prevailing party.