Stoney and Vandeusen v. Maple Shade Twp., — N.J. Super. – (App Div. 2012)

Practice Areas: Public Entity and Civil Rights Litigation

The principal issue on appeal in this case was whether a trial court may deny injunctive relief upon a jury finding of access discrimination under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C.A. §§ 12101-12213, and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 to-49.  A jury found that the plaintiff had been illegally denied access to restrooms in a municipal building and parts of a public park due to a failure of those facilities to conform with the Americans With Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG).  The jury awarded no compensatory damages.  The plaintiff made a post-trial motion for injunctive relief, which the trial court denied.  The Appellate Division determined that the trial court had abused its discretion by not fully analyzing all the facts necessary to arrive at a proper determination on the appropriateness of injunctive relief.  Specifically, the trial court did not inquire fully into the amount of impairment that the failure to abide by the ADAAG caused the plaintiff and did not specify why the proposed alterations of the public facilities would constitute an undue burden on public resources.

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