Court: Disney lawsuit cannot proceed as a class action

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A federal court ruled late last month that a proposed class of 95 people suing Walt Disney Parks and Resorts over its line policy may not move forward on their claims in a single lawsuit.

For the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida Court, the “variations in the factual circumstances” underlying the claims were too great to be joined as one action.

“The developmentally disabled Plaintiffs face differing cognitive impairments—ADHD, autism, Down syndrome, etc.—and their symptoms manifest in different ways and in response to different stimuli,” the Court wrote in an Order dated October 30. “Some of the families appear to own Disney annual passes, and encounter (Disability Access Service) frequently, while others claim to have visited a Disney park on only one occasion.

“The common law allegations are similarly diverse: some families bought one-time-use tickets, sustaining economic damages of only a few hundred dollars, while other families own Disney timeshares or annual passes, or spent thousands of dollars on a Disney vacation. Some Plaintiffs visited Disneyland, in California, while most visited Disney World, in Orlando.”

In October 2013, Disney replaced its Guest Assistance Card system with a Disability Access Service Card system.

In the old system, people with certain disabilities could obtain a card and automatically go to the front of the line. Now, those people can return at a certain time, but must wait in the lines, which the plaintiffs allege is intolerable for people with autism and other cognitive disabilities.

In April 2014, 26 individuals filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District Court of California, on the grounds that the policy violates Disney’s obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.

In August, the plaintiffs filed a motion to have the lawsuit expanded to include 69 more individuals. The next month, the District Court granted Disney’s motion to have the lawsuit transferred from California, home of Disneyland, to Florida, home of Disney World, according to Deadline.

With the federal court in Florida’s last decision, each individual must now file their claims separately.