Submitted: June 12, 2018
Appeals from United States District Court for the District of
Minnesota - Minneapolis
WOLLMAN, ARNOLD, and STRAS, Circuit Judges.
Hillesheim sued Holiday Stationstores, Inc., for
discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act and
the Minnesota Human Rights Act because it failed to provide a
compliant handicap-accessible parking space at one of its
stores. After fixing the alleged defect, Holiday moved for
summary judgment. The district court granted the motion and
dismissed all of Hillesheim's claims. Because we conclude
that the district court should have remanded most, if not
all, of those claims to state court, we vacate the district
who uses a wheelchair for mobility, noticed during a visit to
a Holiday store in Jordan, Minnesota, that the access aisle
next to the handicap-accessible space in the parking lot was
not flat. Rather than risk his safety, he decided not to
enter the store.
sued Holiday in state court, alleging that it had
discriminated against him under the Americans with
Disabilities Act ("ADA") and the Minnesota Human
Rights Act ("MHRA") by denying him full and equal
access to a place of public accommodation. See 42
U.S.C. § 12182(a); Minn. Stat. § 363A.11. For the
ADA claim, his prayer for relief requested only an injunction
ordering Holiday to flatten the access aisle. Under the MHRA,
Hillesheim included a matching request for injunctive relief,
as well as a demand for money damages for the discrimination
he had allegedly suffered.
Hillesheim filed his lawsuit in state court, two things
changed. First, Holiday removed the case to federal court.
The ADA claim presented a federal question, see 28
U.S.C. § 1331, and the district court exercised
supplemental jurisdiction over the MHRA claims, see
id. § 1367. Second, Holiday fixed the alleged
defect by flattening the access aisle, first temporarily and
later through remodeling the entire parking lot.
Holiday fixed the issue permanently, it filed for summary
judgment. In support of its summary-judgment motion, Holiday
attached an affidavit from its Vice President of Engineering,
John Baregi, which stated that Holiday had leveled the access
aisle during a renovation of its parking lot and that its
intent was to comply with all accessibility requirements
going forward. Accompanying Baregi's affidavit were
photographs of the renovated parking lot, which displayed a
flat access aisle next to the handicap-accessible space. This
was the first time Holiday revealed that it had fixed the
alleged problem, although photographs submitted by Hillesheim
with his initial disclosures also depicted a fully flat
district court granted Holiday's motion for summary
judgment. It dismissed Hillesheim's ADA claim because the
renovations had mooted his request for injunctive relief. The
court dealt with the MHRA claim differently. Instead of
relying on mootness, the court applied an affirmative defense
available under Minnesota law to "place[s] of public
accommodation" that remove an "architectural
barrier . . . in a manner that complies with accessibility
requirements." Minn. Stat. § 363A.331, subdiv. 4.
According to the court, the affirmative defense provided a
complete shield from liability, both from damages and from
course of granting summary judgment to Holiday, the district
court refused to strike Baregi's affidavit, which
Hillesheim thought Holiday should have disclosed long before
it filed its motion for summary judgment. See Fed.
R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1)(A) (requiring parties to initially
disclose, among other things, "the name . . . of each
individual likely to have discoverable information" and
"a copy . . . of all documents . . . that the disclosing
party . . . may use to support its claims or defenses").
Hillesheim appeals the denial of his motion to strike
Baregi's affidavit and the dismissal of his case.
begin with the parties' discovery dispute.
Hillesheim's position is that Holiday failed to comply
with its initial-disclosure obligations under Rule 26 because
it did not divulge either Baregi's name or the
photographs in its possession until it filed its motion for
summary judgment. According to Hillesheim, Holiday's
tardy disclosure "fatally impacted [his] ability to
challenge Holiday's mootness defense." The district
court, for its part, assumed that Holiday violated Rule 26
but concluded that he suffered no harm from the violation.
The district court did not abuse its discretion in reaching
this conclusion. See Firefighters' Inst. for Racial
Equal. ex rel. Anderson v. City of St. Louis, 220 F.3d
898, 902-03 (8th ...