Furniture and Other Merchandise Are Not “Isolated and Temporary” Interruptions

  • The 9th Circuit has partly upheld the ruling for a disabled shopper against Pier 1 Imports alleging that cluttered aisles constitute access barriers under the ADA.
  • In Chapman v. Pier 1 Imports, Inc., the Court affirmed that aisles obstructed by furniture, merchandise and other items “were not permissible ‘isolated or temporary interruptions … in access’ under the ADA Accessibility Guidelines because the evidence demonstrated that Pier 1 repeatedly failed to maintain accessible routes in its store.”
  • The plaintiff alleged that on each of 11 separate visits, obstructions narrowed the functional width of aisles to less than the required 36 inches. The Court held that plaintiff’s photos of the aisles confirmed that, despite Pier 1’s alleged policies to limit such obstructions, the obstacles were not “temporary.”  The Court also held that Pier 1 failed to show that customers, rather than employees, created the obstructions.

Court Reverses Ruling That Cluttered Checkout Counter Constitutes ADA Barrier

  • Citing insufficient evidence, the Court reversed a ruling for the plaintiff that clutter on the checkout counter constituted an ADA barrier.
  • The plaintiff encountered clutter on the ADA-accessible checkout counter on only two or three of his visits to the store, and each time the items were promptly removed by store employees.
  • The Court found that the alleged obstructions did not "persist beyond a reasonable period of time" and therefore did not violate ADA regulations.