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A.L. v. Walt Disney Parks & Resorts US, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

August 17, 2018, Decided

Nos. 16-12647, 17-10143, 17-10144, 17-10148 through 17-10154, 17-10193 through 17-10196, 17-10198, 17-10199, 17-10200, 17-10202, 17-10203, 17-10205 through 17-10209, 17-10212 through 17-10214, 17-10216 through 17-10218

Opinion

 [*1273]  HULL, Circuit Judge:

This is a consolidated appeal of 30 separate lawsuits. Most plaintiffsappellants are individuals with severe autism. Defendant-appellee is Walt Disney Parks and Resorts US, Inc. ("Disney"), a division of The Walt Disney Company.

In separate lawsuits, plaintiffs filed claims alleging that Disney, at six of its theme parks, fails to accommodate their disabilities, in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the "ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12182. Plaintiffs allege that their severe disabilities include an inability to comprehend the concept of time, defer gratification, and wait for rides, as well as strict adherence to a pre-set routine of rides in a specific order. Plaintiffs  [*1274]  therefore contend that access to all of Disney's rides must be both nearly immediate and in each plaintiff's individual, pre-set order to accommodate fully their impairments.

Disney responds that it accommodates plaintiffs' disabilities because its current Disability Access Service ("DAS") program allows cognitively disabled guests like the plaintiffs (1) to enter immediately all rides [**22]  with waits of less than 15 minutes, which is most rides, (2) to schedule appointment times for rides with longer waits, and (3) to never have to stand in a physical line for any ride. In each case, the district court granted Disney summary judgment and concluded that the DAS program already accommodates plaintiffs' disabilities and that revising the DAS program is not necessary for plaintiffs to have equal access and enjoyment of Disney's parks. Our opinion is organized as follows.

CONTENTS

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900 F.3d 1270 *; 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 22990 **; 27 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 1192

A.L. by and through D.L., as Next Friend, Parent and Natural Guardian, S.J.K, by and through S.L.K. as Next Friend, Parent and Court-Appointed Guardian, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants, versus WALT DISNEY PARKS AND RESORTS US, INC., Defendant-Appellee.

Subsequent History: Rehearing denied by, Rehearing, en banc, denied by A.L. v. Walt Disney Parks & Resorts US, Inc., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 32587 (11th Cir. Fla., Nov. 16, 2018)

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. D.C. Docket No. 6:14-cv-01544-ACC-GJK, et al.

A.L. v. Walt Disney Parks & Resorts United States, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147453 (M.D. Fla., Apr. 28, 2016)C.J.K. v. Walt Disney Parks & Resorts United States, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 193528 (M.D. Fla., Sept. 23, 2016)R.J.R.G. & G.M.G. v. Walt Disney Parks & Resorts U.S., Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192921 (M.D. Fla., Sept. 26, 2016)J.T.I. v. Walt Disney Parks & Resorts U.S., Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194403 (M.D. Fla., Sept. 26, 2016)T.P. v. Walt Disney Parks & Resorts U.S., Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149171 (M.D. Fla., Sept. 22, 2016)

Disposition: AFFIRMED IN PART; REVERSED IN PART; VACATED AND REMANDED IN PART.

CORE TERMS

rides, guests, disabled, wait, Card, autism, plaintiffs', accommodations, district court, routine, theme park, reservations, nondisabled, disorder, impairments, cognitive, modifications, minutes, visited, severe, attractions, meltdown, facilities, gratification, summary judgment, behaviors, spectrum, deficits, requested modification, cause of action

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Evidence, Types of Evidence, Testimony, Credibility of Witnesses, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Inferences & Presumptions, Inferences, Judgments, Summary Judgment, Summary Judgment, Burdens of Proof, Nonmovant Persuasion & Proof, Civil Rights Law, Protection of Rights, Protection of Disabled Persons, Remedies, Injunctions, Protection of Disabled Persons, Americans With Disabilities Act, Remedies, Americans With Disabilities Act, Accommodations, Allocation, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Summary Judgment Review