Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Grocery store's mask requirements survive ADA legal challenge

An interesting decision from the Western District of Pennsylvania, in Pletcher v. Giant Eagle. One of the plaintiff's, Josiah Kostek, sought a preliminary injunction against Giant Eagle grocery store claiming that its mask requirements violated the ADA. 

The plaintiff has been diagnosed with numerous mental impairments: "anxiety disorder; panic disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder; and, an adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and a depressed mood." But, he failed to provide any medical records establishing that he could not wear a mask in the grocery store. Further, Giant Eagle allows shoppers to wear face shields instead of masks, and Kostek had no evidence that he was unable to wear a shield. 

The plaintiff managed to trip over the low bar of establishing a prima facie case. Of course, even if he had cleared that initial hurdle, Giant Eagle would still have an opportunity to present a defense - like, ya know, they're trying to avoid the further spread of a global pandemic that's already killed a few hundred thousand Americans. The Court did not directly rule on that issue, but sent a crystal clear message:

[T]he Court need not evaluate Giant Eagle's well-taken defenses that its face covering policy is a legitimate safety requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic and that Kostek presented a direct threat to the health and safety of others, including customers and employees.

I understand people's frustration with mask requirements, but it appears to be an uphill legal battle to challenge store policies requiring them.  

No comments:

Post a Comment