District Judge Laura Taylor Swain
Hudson Island LLC owned the unit, in a Manhattan luxury condominium building, that Urban Outfitters leased as “Store #143.” Plaintiff wheelchair user charged them with disability discrimination under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), alleging barriers to access at Store #143. His expert identified 13 areas of noncompliance. Plaintiff’s lawsuit was not mooted by defendants’ corrective actions. His ADA claims relating to access to Store #143′s 500 square foot landing level on a staircase, and the 1,000 square foot mezzanine, neither of which can be accessed with a wheelchair, survived dismissal. The 1991 Standards for Accessible Design, incorporated into regulations issued by the Department of Justice on July 26, 1991 require that a form of accessible vertical access for the disabled be provided to the Landing and Mezzanine levels because the display and fitting room areas thereon must be on an accessible route, and Urban’s alterations included installation of a new staircase between Store #143′s two levels. Citing ruling from other circuits, the court rejected defendants’ claim they provided “substantially equivalent access” to both spaces under 1991 Standards §2.2, the “Equivalent Facilitation Rule’.