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P.F. Chang's Looks to Dismiss Gluten-free Disability Suit
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Celiac.com 11/16/2015 - P.F. Chang's seeking to dismiss an amended complaint filed by a woman who claims the restaurant chain violated federal anti-discrimination laws by charging higher prices for gluten-free items than for non-gluten-free items.
Plaintiff Anna Marie Phillips initially sued P.F. Chang's in California state court in December, but P.F. Chang's got the case moved to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Lawyers for P.F. Chang's first moved to dismiss Phillips' class action in February, claiming her celiac disease does not make her a disabled person under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Federal Judge Ronald Whyte heard oral arguments in May, and "tentatively granted" the motion to dismiss, with a final ruling to be issued later.
In August, the federal judge granted P.F. Chang's motion to dismiss Phillips' original complaint. The court ruled that the plaintiff failed to allege facts showing that the restaurant chain discriminated against her and other guests with celiac disease or a gluten allergy/intolerance, by charging $1 more for some gluten-free menu items compared to non-gluten-free versions of menu items with a similar name but prepared and handled much differently.
However, Whyte did grant Phillips a leave to amend, while expressing his "reservations" that she could ever mount a viable claim using her discrimination theory.
P.F. Chang's, in its Sept. 24 motion to dismiss the amended complaint, contends the new complaint asserts the same disability-discrimination claims and offers "few additional facts" and "none that warrant a different result."
The plaintiff asserts, P.F. Chang's notes, that the gluten-free menu items are "essentially the same" and are "not truly different dishes" because they have the same basic ingredients.
What do you think? Are restaurants wrong to charge more for gluten-free food? Share your thoughts and opinions below.
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