Oliver v. Ralphs Grocery Company

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 08-17-2011
  • Case #: 09-56447
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Ikuta for the Court; Circuit Judges Callahan and Rymer
  • Full Text Opinion

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, a claim filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act, each barrier that contributes to the discrimination must be listed in the original complaint. A court will not consider an expert report amendment to a complaint unless it has been filed on time and proper notice has been given to the parties.

A.J. Oliver (Oliver) filed a suit against Ralphs Grocery Company and Cypress Creek Company, alleging that Food 4 Less grocery store (the Store), owned by Ralphs Grocery Company and located on land owned by Cypress Creek Company, did not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Oliver claimed that the Store contained barriers that interfered with his ability to enjoy the “goods, services, privileges, and accommodations offered” at the facility. Shortly after he filed the complaint, the Store underwent renovation, which ameliorated some of the barriers listed in his complaint. Oliver obtained an expert to make a report about additional barriers at the Store, but the court refused to admit the report because it was not field by the deadline. The district court found in favor of the defendants based on Oliver’s original complaint, which contained many barriers that had already been fixed by the Store. Oliver appealed to the Ninth Circuit claiming that the district court erred when it refused to consider the allegations in the expert report, as well as dismissing his state law claims. The Ninth Circuit, in analyzing Oliver’s claim, turn to Rule 8 in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure which requires a complaint to state a “short and plain statement of the claim,” that provides the defendant with “fair notice of what the claim is.” For an ADA claim, each barrier in the complaint must be listed to provide effective notice. Because Oliver’s expert report’s findings were not listed in his original complaint, the Store had no notice as to those claims, and the district court properly ruled on not allowing the report to come in. Lastly, the district court did not need to take jurisdiction over Oliver’s state law claims unless “judicial economy, fairness, and comity…tipped in favor of retaining the state law claims.” AFFIRMED.

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