LOS ANGELES – A federal appeals court ruled today that a Los Angeles judge erred when he dismissed a disability rights lawsuit brought against an El Monte bank by a quadriplegic who uses a wheelchair for mobility.
Plaintiff Ricardo Murillo alleged that the Chase bank branch violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and state law by not providing “full and equal” access to teller windows for those using wheelchairs when he tried to cash a check there in March 2011.
In granting Chase’s dismissal motion, U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real found that Murillo had not stated a claim for relief under the ADA because the complaint, which was filed in July 2011, did not allege that he was unable to cash the check or was an account holder at Chase.
A representative for Chase Bank said the company does not comment on pending litigation.
According to the ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Real was mistaken when he dismissed the claim.
The lawsuit “alleged that Murillo personally encountered the alleged ADA violation — a lack of wheelchair-accessible teller stations — while attempting to cash a check at the Chase branch,” according to the appeals panel.
“The complaint also connected the alleged violation to Murillo’s disability, quadriplegia,” the unanimous decision states. “This suffices to state a claim for relief under the ADA.”
The panel vacated the district court’s judgment and remanded the case back to Real for further proceedings.