The opinion of the court was delivered by: DANA SABRAW, District Judge
ORDER: (1) DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; (2)
GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; AND (3) DENYING
DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF AWARD OF ATTORNEY'S
[Doc. Nos. 16, 20, 25]
This suit arises from Plaintiff Ruben Deanda's ("Plaintiff")
Civil Rights action against Defendants Savings Investment, Inc.
and Del Taco, Inc. (collectively "Defendants") under the American
with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et
seq., and the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code
§ 51 et seq., for allegedly failing to remove architectural
barriers at Defendants' facility, located at 1540 Ocotillo Drive,
El Centro, California. The parties have now filed cross-motions
for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Defendants
also filed a motion for an order denying Plaintiff attorney's
On October 28, 2005, the Court heard oral argument on these
motions. Russell C. Handy, Esq. appeared on behalf of the
Plaintiff and Lisa A. Wegner, Esq. appeared on behalf of all
Defendants. For the reasons discussed below, the Court denies
Defendants' motion for summary judgment and grants Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. In addition, the
Court denies Defendants' motion for an order denying Plaintiff
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Plaintiff is a person with disabilities who requires a
wheelchair for mobility. (Deanda Decl. ¶ 1.) Defendants own and
operate a Del Taco restaurant ("Restaurant") located in El Cajon,
California, which Plaintiff visits a few times a month.
(Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment at 3; Deanda Decl. ¶ 2.)
During his visits to Defendants' Restaurant, Plaintiff alleges he
encountered architectural barriers denying him full and equal
access. (Deanda Decl. ¶ 3, 4.) Specifically, Plaintiff alleges he
encountered barriers to access as a result of the configuration
of the Restaurant's entry doors. (Deanda Decl. ¶ 3.) According to
Plaintiff, the entry doors operate in a series which require two
people to hold the door open for him to gain access into the
Restaurant. (Id.) Plaintiff also alleges he encountered
architectural barriers during his visits to Defendants'
Restaurant because none of the dining tables have sufficient knee
clearance space to accommodate his wheelchair. (Id.) As a
result of these barriers, Plaintiff sued Defendants in January of
2005, alleging various causes of action, including violations of
the ADA and the California Unruh Civil Rights Act.*fn1
After Defendants learned of the lawsuit, counsel for Defendants
contacted Stanley Albright ("Albright"), Senior Director of
Construction and Facilities of Del Taco, Inc., and notified him
of Plaintiff's claims regarding the Restaurant's alleged
violations of the ADA. (Albright Decl. ¶ 5 attached to
Defendants' Opposition.) Thereafter, Defendants undertook steps
to ensure that the Restaurant was compliant with the ADA
Accessibility Guidelines ("ADAAG") and Title 24 of the California
Code of Regulations. (Id.) Subsequently, Defendants removed the
interior entrance door and placed a work order for the
installation of three new disabled accessible tables. (Id.) In
addition, Defendants restriped the parking area and undertook
measures to ensure that the restrooms complied with the
specifications set forth in the ADAAG and Title 24. (Id.) On August 24, 2005, Defendants filed a motion for summary
judgment, contending: (1) Plaintiff's claims for injunctive
relief under the ADA are moot because Defendants have remedied
the alleged architectural barriers; (2) summary judgment is
appropriate as to Plaintiff's ADA claim because he was not
deterred from visiting the Restaurant; (3) the Court should
decline jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state Unruh claim; and (4)
even if the Court were to exercise jurisdiction over the Unruh
claim, Plaintiff's claim nonetheless fails because Defendants did
not intentionally discriminate against the disabled. On August
26, 2005, Plaintiff filed a cross-motion for summary judgment,
arguing that: (1) there are no genuine issues of material fact
that Defendants' architectural barriers constitute discrimination
under the ADA; and (2) because Plaintiff's state Unruh claim is
predicated on Defendants' violation of the ADA, summary judgment
also should be granted on the state claim. Both parties filed
Oppositions and Replies to the cross-motions for summary
On September 21, 2005, Defendants filed a motion for an order
denying Plaintiff attorney's fees. Plaintiff filed an Opposition
to Defendants' motion on October 14, 2005, and thereafter,
Defendants filed a Reply.
Summary judgment is appropriate under Rule 56 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure on "all or any part" of a claim where
there is an absence of a genuine issue of material fact and the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) & (c); Celotex Corp. V. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A fact is material when, under the governing
substantive law, it could affect the outcome of the case.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986);
Freeman v. Arpaio, 125 F.3d 732, 735 (9th Cir. 1997). A dispute
about a material fact is genuine if "the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party."
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
A party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of
establishing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. The moving party can satisfy this
burden in two ways: (1) by presenting evidence to negate an
essential element of the nonmoving party's case; or (2) by
demonstrating that the nonmoving party failed to make a showing
sufficient to establish an element to that party's case on which
that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Id. at
322-23. If the moving party fails to discharge this initial burden, summary judgment
must be denied and the court need not consider the nonmoving
party's evidence. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144,
If the moving party meets this initial burden, the nonmoving
party cannot defeat summary judgment by merely demonstrating
"that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts."
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986); see also Triton Energy Corp. v. Square D.
Co., 68 F.3d 1216, 1221 (9th Cir. 1995) ("The mere existence of
a scintilla of evidence in support of the nonmoving party's
position is not sufficient.") (citing Anderson,
477 U.S. at 252). Rather, the nonmoving party must "go beyond the pleadings
and by [his or] her own affidavits, or by `the depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file,' designate
`specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.'" Celotex, 477 U.S. at 344 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)).
"Disputes over irrelevant or unnecessary facts will not preclude
a grant of summary judgment." T.W. Elec. Serv. Inc. v. Pacific
Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987).
Moreover, "the district court may limit its review to the
documents submitted for purposes of summary judgment and those
parts of the record specifically referenced therein." Carmen v.
San Francisco Unified Sch. Dist., 237 F.3d 1026, 1030 (9th Cir.
2001). The Court is not obligated "to scour the records in search
of a genuine issue of triable fact." Keenan v. Allen,
91 F.3d 1275, 1279 (9th Cir. 1996) (citing Richards v. Combined Ins.
Co., 55 F.3d 247, 251 (7th Cir. 1995)).
When making its determination, the Court must view all
inferences drawn from the underlying facts in the light most
favorable to the party opposing the motion. See Matsushita,
475 U.S. at 587. "Credibility determinations, the weighing of
evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts
are jury functions, not those of a ...