Northern California Record

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Judge awards plaintiff more than $10,000 attorneys’ fees following successful ADA lawsuit


By Payton Kuhn | May 25, 2019


SACRAMENTO – A federal judge has awarded a man more than $10,000 in attorneys' fees and costs in a case against the owners of a Stockton business over alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Unruh Civil Rights Act.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California granted plaintiff Scott Johnson’s request for attorney’s fees in part regarding a lawsuit he pursued against the owners of Charlie’s Auto Parts.

On March 20, Johnson had filed a request for roughly $15,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs. In the court order posted on May 10, Judge Allison Claire granted the motion in part, awarding the plaintiff approximately $10,328 in fees.

Johnson, who was represented by the Center for Disability Access, sought to “recover $350 per hour worked by partner Mark Potter; $300 per hour worked by experienced attorney Phyl Grace; and $250 per hour worked by three associates, Dennis Price, Amanda Lockhart Seabock, and Sara Gunderson.” Using the lodestar method to calculate fees, the court reduced each request from the plaintiff in its final decision.

Claire gave each party within 14 days to file any written objections to the court regarding the decision.

Johnson previously was granted summary judgment in February in the lawsuit in which he claimed the defendants, Stanley and Sandra Powers, failed to offer clear parking spaces for persons with disabilities and that many structural aspects of the building violated each law.

In the summary judgment proceeding, it was noted that “Subsequent to [the] plaintiff's visits, [the] defendants re-striped the parking lot, but the parking was still not compliant.” Johnson was awarded $8,000 dollars in statutory damages.

Johnson, who is a quadriplegic and cannot walk, originally filed the suit in January 2015. He alleged he visited the defendants' business in 2014 to make a purchase but could not find a parking space reserved for use by persons with disabilities and encountered other barriers.

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