In a recently decided case (Mundy v. Pro-Thro Enterprises, 192 Cal.App.4th Supp. 1 (2011)), Thomas Mundy, who is confined to a wheelchair, claimed violation of disability-related laws because he could not see himself in the restroom mirror at a car wash he patronized.
The court of appeal upheld the lower court’s dismissal of the case, finding that Mundy failed to prove that he suffered any actual injury, embarrassment, humiliation or discomfort as a result of the inability to use the restroom mirror.
The requirement to prove actual injury is found in statutes that were effective January 1, 2009. These amendments to the law provide equal access for the disabled and protection for businesses from litigation abuse.*
Mundy admitted that he is unemployed, yet earned income of more than $100,000 in 2009 from disability litigation. His "job" is to visit businesses, look for violations of state and federal disability access laws and file lawsuits against those businesses.
Mundy appealed the introduction at trial of his earnings from disability-related lawsuits, but the appeal was dismissed because he failed to properly raise the issue at trial. The court added that even if the evidence was inadmissible, Mundy could not show the required actual injury, and the admissibility of the evidence was moot. The court also ordered Mundy to pay the company its costs for the appeal.
The court noted that Mundy did not bring the problem with the height of the restroom mirror to the company's attention on the day he visited the car wash. After Mundy’s complaint was filed, the company installed a full-length mirror in the restroom.
Susan Kemp, CalChamber Senior Employment Law Counsel
*CalChamber members get exclusive access to HRCalifornia's Law Library, which includes a detailed section on accessibility laws and employer obligations. Not a CalChamber member? Test-drive HRCalifornia with a 15-day Free Trial.