Attorneys Fee Provision in California Disabled Persons Act Is Not Preempted by the ADA

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In Jankey v. Song Koo Lee, 2010 DJDAR 2024 (2010), the California First Appellate District decided an unsettled question relating to the scope of preemption of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §12101 (ADA). The court reviewed the preemption question vis-à-vis California Civil Code §54, known as the California Disabled Persons Act (CDPA).

The plaintiff was a disabled person who used a wheelchair. The plaintiff sued the owner of a food market, seeking injunctive relief under the ADA and the CDPA. The plaintiff claimed that a step at the entry of the market was a barrier, that effectively prevented him from entering the store. The trial court granted the defendant summary judgment.

As a prevailing party, the defendant moved for attorney fees under Civil Code Section 55 contained in the CDPA.

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