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Badger v. Advance Stores Co., Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

March 1, 2017

JOSIE BADGER and EMILY GELLATLY, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
ADVANCE STORES CO., INC. d/b/a ADVANCE AUTO PARTS, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ROBERT C. MITCHELL United States Magistrate Judge

          Presently before the Court is a motion (ECF No. 6), filed by the Defendant, Advance Stores Co., Inc., d/b/a Advance Auto Parts (“Advance Stores”), to have this case reassigned pursuant to Local Rule 40(D). For the reasons that follow, the motion will be denied.

         Plaintiffs, Josie Badger and Angela Hunter, filed this action, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, against Advance Stores on December 16, 2016, alleging violations of Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181 to 12189 (ADA). Specifically, they allege that the facilities at Advance Stores are not fully accessible to and independently usable by individuals who use wheelchairs for mobility, as they do, because of various barriers in the parking lots and along the paths of travel. They also challenge Defendant's corporate policies and practices, which she contends allow access barriers to recur at Defendant's facilities even after they have been remediated.

         On the Civil Cover Sheet that accompanied the Complaint, Plaintiffs checked the box indicating that this case was related to Heinzl v. Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores, Inc., No. 14-1455, another case involving alleged ADA Title III violations in parking lots and corporate policies and practices affecting plaintiffs with mobility disabilities. (ECF No. 1-1.) As a result, the case was assigned to the undersigned.

         On December 29, 2016, Defendant filed a motion for reassignment (ECF No. 6). On January 23, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a brief in opposition (ECF No. 9). On January 30, 2017, Defendant filed a reply brief (ECF No. 10).

         Local Rule 40

         As amended effective November 1, 2016, the Local Rules of this Court provide that:

         D. Related Actions.

         At the time of filing any civil or criminal action or entry of appearance or filing of the pleading or motion of any nature by defense counsel, as the case may be, counsel shall indicate on an appropriate form whether the action is related to any other pending or previously terminated actions in this Court. Relatedness shall be determined as follows:

1. all criminal actions arising out of the same criminal transaction or series of transactions are deemed related;
2. civil actions are deemed related when an action filed relates to property included in another action, or involves the same issue of fact, or it grows out of the same transaction as another action, or involves the validity or infringement of a patent involved in another action; and
3. all habeas corpus petitions filed by the same individual shall be deemed related. All pro se civil rights actions by the same individual shall be deemed related.

         E. Assignment of Related Actions.

1. If the fact of relatedness is indicated on the appropriate form at time of filing, the Clerk of Court shall assign the case to the same Judge to whom the lower numbered related case is assigned, who may reject the assignment if the Judge determines that the cases are not related or the assignment does not otherwise promote the ...

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