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Antoninetti v. Chipotle Mexican Grill

August 23, 2007

MAURIZIO ANTONINETTI PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL, INC., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Napoleon A. Jones, Jr. United States District Judge

(1) DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL AND DOES 1 THROUGH 10, inclusive, RECONSIDERATION [DOC. NO. 132]; (2) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION [DOC. NO. 135]

ORDER:

Before the Court are two motions. Defendant Chipotle Mexican Grill ("Defendant") has filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the Court's Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part the Parties' Motions for Summary Judgment. [Doc. No. 132.] Plaintiff has also filed a Motion for Reconsideration. [Doc. No. 135.] The issues presented are decided without oral argument. See S.D. Cal. Civ. R. 7.1.d.1 (2006). For the reasons stated below, the Court DENIES the parties' Motions for Reconsideration.

Background

On June 14, 2007, the Court issued an Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part the Parties' Motions for Summary Judgment. [Doc. No. 129.] The Court first addressed Plaintiff's claim that the food-preparation counters at Defendant's restaurants were too high and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). (See Order on Mots. for Summ. J. at 7.) The Court found that the food-preparation counters were sales and service counters and were therefore governed by ADA Accessibility Guideline ("ADAAG") § 7.2. (Id. at 13.) The Court found that Defendant had not provided a portion of the food-preparation counter that complied with the ADA, nor had Defendant provided an ADA-compliant auxiliary counter. (Id. at 15-16.) However, the Court found that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Defendant had provided "equivalent facilitation" to customers in wheelchairs within the meaning of ADAAG § 7.2(2)(iii). (Id. at 17.) Under Defendant's Customers with Disabilities Policy ("Policy"), employees were instructed to implement a variety of accommodations to assist customers with disabilities. (Id.) The Court found that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the Policy provided substantially equivalent access to Defendant's restaurants.

Accordingly, the Court denied Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment as to Plaintiff's claims that the food-preparation counters violated the ADA.

The Court next addressed Plaintiff's claims that the parking lots at Defendant's restaurants violated the ADA. (Id. at 20.) The Court found that Plaintiff had set forth facts demonstrating that the parking lots at Defendant's restaurants had previously violated the ADA, and that Defendant had remedied the ADA violations. (Id.) Because only injunctive relief is available under the ADA, and because the parking lots at Defendant's restaurants are currently ADA compliant, the Court found that Plaintiff's ADA claims were moot. (Id.) The Court therefore granted summary judgment for Defendant as to Plaintiff's ADA claims regarding the parking lots. (Id.) However, the Court found that Plaintiff's state law claims presented a live controversy, because a plaintiff can recover damages under California's Unruh Civil Rights Act ("Unruh Act") and Disabled Persons Act ("DPA"). (Id. at 21.) The Court noted that under California law, a violation of the ADA also constitutes a violation of the Unruh Act and the DPA. (Id. at 23.) Finding no material issue that the parking at Defendant's restaurants previously violated the ADA, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff as to his state law claims regarding the parking at Defendant's restaurants. (Id. at 24.)

Legal Standard

A motion for reconsideration is "appropriate if the district court (1) is presented with newly discovered evidence, (2) committed clear error or the initial decision was manifestly unjust, or (3) if there is an intervening change in controlling law." See Sch. Dist. No. 1J v. ACandS, Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993). "[A] motion for reconsideration should not be granted, absent highly unusual circumstances." See 389 Orange St. Partners v. Arnold, 179 F.3d 656, 665 (9th Cir. 1999). A motion for reconsideration may not be used to raise arguments or present evidence for the first time when they could reasonably have been raised earlier in the litigation. See id.; Kona Enters., Inc. v. Estate of Bishop, 229 F.3d 877, 890 (9th Cir. 2000).

Discussion

I. Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration

Defendant requests that the Court reconsider its ruling only as to Plaintiff's state law claims regarding the parking at Defendant's restaurants. (Mot. for Recons. at 1.) Defendant does not seek reconsideration of any other portion of the Order. (Id.) Defendant argues that the Court should have declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims regarding the parking at Defendant's restaurants. (Mot. for Recons. at 3.) According to Defendant, Plaintiff's state law claims raise a novel and complex issue of unresolved state law because this Court is faced with irreconcilable authorities based on the current status of state law. (Id. at 4.)In addition, Defendant asserts that convenience and fairness mandate dismissal of Plaintiff's state law claims, and that Plaintiff's state law claims substantially predominate over his federal law claims. (Id. at 11.)

A district court does not abuse its discretion in declining to consider arguments that are raised for the first time in a motion for reconsideration. See Kona Enters., 229 F.3d at 890 ("A Rule 59(e) motion may not be used to raise arguments or present evidence for the first time when they could reasonably have been raised earlier in the litigation."); Novato Fire Prot. Dist. v. United States, 181 F.3d 1135, 1142, n.6 (9th Cir.1999) ("A district court has discretion to decline to consider an issue raised for the first time in a motion for reconsideration."); Arnold, 179 F.3d at 665 ("Our abuse of discretion review precludes reversing the district court for declining to address an issue raised for the first time in a motion for reconsideration."); Rosenfeld v. DOJ, 57 F.3d 803, 811 (9th Cir. 1995) ("The district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to consider an argument raised for the first time on reconsideration without a good excuse."); Spacey v. Burgar, 207 F. Supp. 2d 1037, 1054 (C.D. Cal. 2001) ("[T]his Court need not address an issue raised for the first time in a reconsideration motion.").

A review of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment reveals that the Motion failed to assert two of the arguments that Defendant now raises, for the first time, in its Motion for Reconsideration. Defendant did not argue in any of its moving papers that Plaintiff's claims under the Unruh Act require that he prove intentional discrimination. Nor did Defendant argue that there is a novel and complex issue of state law as to whether Plaintiff would be entitled to daily damages. A motion for reconsideration is not the proper avenue for raising legal theories that could have been, but were not, raised before the Court issued the order for which reconsideration is sought. See Kona Enters., 229 F.3d at 890. Defendant did argue in its Motion for Summary Judgment that if the Court dismissed all of Plaintiff's federal ...


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