Update on gluten-free lawsuit against P.F. Chang's: Celiac disease concerns

Lana Bandoim's picture

The class action lawsuit against P.F. Chang's may have reached its end. A judge has decided to tentatively dismiss the case, and a case management conference is scheduled for next month. Anna Marie Phillips began the class action lawsuit against P.F. Chang's because she felt it was unfair that the gluten-free menu was more expensive than the regular menu.

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Anna Marie Phillips claims that P.F. Chang's restaurant is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by having a more expensive menu for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. P.F. Chang’s charges an extra $1 for gluten-free menu items. Legal Newsline reports that P.F. Chang’s argues the class action lawsuit could hurt the entire restaurant industry and has asked the judge to dismiss the case.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte has decided to tentatively dismiss the case, and the motion reveals more about the reaction to Anna Marie Phillips’ claims. P.F. Chang’s has argued that Phillips’ statements about celiac disease and gluten intolerances being covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act are incorrect. The restaurant states that her issues are not limiting a major life activity, so the ADA does not apply, and it does not consider Phillips to be disabled. On the other hand, Phillips’ lawyers argue that P.F. Chang’s is not using the correct definition of the law and is deliberately profiting from the disabled.

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“Plaintiff has failed to plausibly allege that she is disabled under any applicable statute since her condition constitutes only a minimal limitation on the major life activity of eating. She can still consume all gluten-free foods. No authority supports plaintiff’s baseless position that she is disabled,” according to the motion.

In its motion to dismiss the case, P.F. Chang’s also shares that gluten-free menu items cost more to prepare. In addition, it points out that the Americans with Disabilities Act refers to equal access to all individuals and does not control prices or inventory. P.F. Chang’s mentions that Anna Marie Phillips did not have the support of the Celiac Disease Foundation because the nonprofit has issued a statement that sided with the restaurant.

Read more about celiac disease:
Doctors ignore proper celiac disease diagnosis and care
Celiac disease tripled in children in last 20 years

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