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Tatum v. Gordon-Karen Properties, LLC

United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana

February 3, 2015

THAD TATUM
v.
GORDAN-KAREN PROPERTIES, LLC

SECTION: R(1)

ORDER AND REASONS

SARAH S. VANCE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Plaintiff Thad Tatum moves to reopen this matter and place it on the Court's docket.[1] For the following reasons, plaintiff's motion is denied.

I. Background

On July 6, 2012, plaintiff filed a complaint against defendant Gordon-Karen Properties, LLC alleging violations of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA").[2] The alleged violations stemmed from accessibility problems at a Church's Chicken, located at 1600 Claiborne Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70125, operated by Cajun Operating Company d/b/a Church's Chicken.

Gordon-Karen and Cajun Operating Company later reached a settlement agreement with plaintiff in which Gordon-Karen and Cajun Operating Company agreed to make five modifications to the subject property within one year of executing the settlement agreement:

A. The sole accessible parking space will be at least a ninety-six (96") inches wide plus as per ADAAG 4.12(5)(a). Additionally, the parking space will be designated as van accessible and will provide a ninety-six (96") inch wide access aisle as per ADAAG 4.1.2(5)(b). The accessible parking space and the access aisle will not exceed a slope of 1:50 (2%) in all directions;
B. Accessible parking signage will be provided at the parking space designated as accessible as per ADAAG 4.6.4;
C. Handrails will be added on both sides of the ramp that leads to the Facility's front door as per ADAAG 4.8.5 and 4.26;
D. Landings will be added at the top and bottom of the ramp that leads to the Facility's front door as per ADAAG 4.8.4;
E. An Accessible route will be constructed that complies with ADAAG 4.3 from at least one (1) public sidewalk to the Facility.[3]

Plaintiff executed the settlement agreement on December 27, 2012, and Cajun Operating Company executed the settlement agreement on behalf of Gordon-Karen on February 20, 2013.[4] On March 11, 2013, the parties filed a joint Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41 stipulation of dismissal, [5] and the Court dismissed the action with prejudice on March 22, 2013.[6]

On August 21, 2014, six months after defendant's deadline to comply with the settlement agreement, plaintiff filed a motion to reopen this matter under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) because defendant had not completed the modifications specified in the settlement agreement.[7] Plaintiff attached photographs of the property and an affidavit signed by plaintiff's counsel to demonstrate that defendant and Cajun Operating Company had not completed the required modifications as of August 21, 2014.[8]

Defendant responded in opposition that it had completed all of the modifications listed in the settlement agreement.[9] In support, defendant stated that Jill Suwanski, Senior Director and Associate Counsel for Cajun Operating Company, attested that Cajun Operating Company completed all of the required modifications.[10] Defendant purported to attach an affidavit from Ms. Suwanski, but it instead attached an affidavit from Edward Williams, Senior Vice President of U.S. Operations for Cajun Operating Company.[11] Mr. Williams attested: "Cajun ...


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