Kenneth Munson brought suit against Del Taco under the Americans with Disabilities Act and California's Unruh Civil Rights Act because barriers at one of Del Taco's locations prohibited him from accessing facilities with the wheelchair he required for mobility.
In this amicus brief, Lambda Legal, on behalf of numerous AIDS service and legal organizations, argues that individuals who demonstrate that an establishment has violated their rights to public accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have established a violation under section 51(f) of California's Unruh Civil Rights Act. Under the ADA, whether an individual must demonstrate intentional discrimination in a public accommodation claim depends on the circumstances of the alleged discrimination. The brief argues that the statutory language and legislative intent of the Unruh Act indicate the state's aim to grant people with disabilities, such as HIV, equal or greater protection than the ADA. It argues that interpreting the Unruh Act to contain requirements for showing intent that are more demanding than the requirements of the ADA would undermine this aim. To demonstrate the importance of interpreting the Unruh Act as protecting against unintentional discrimination, the brief details the prevalence of discrimination in public accommodations that people living with HIV face.