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Wilson v. PFS

March 20, 2008

RONALD WILSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PFS, LLC DBA MCDONALD'S # 23315; PFS CO. INC.; MCDONALD'S MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hayes, Judge

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS FEES, COSTS, AND SANCTIONS (Doc. # # 85) AND DEFENDANTS' REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE (Doc. # 99)

Pending before the Court are Defendants' motion for attorneys fees, costs, and sanctions (Doc. # 85) and request for judicial notice (Doc. # 99). The Court finds these matters suitable for submission on the papers and without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1(d)(1).

FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND*fn1

On October 24, 2005, Plaintiff Ronald Wilson visited Defendants' McDonald's restaurant in San Marcos, California. Plaintiff resides in Dixon, California, approximately 500 miles from Defendants' restaurant. During his visit to Defendants' restaurant, Plaintiff made at least one purchase. On December 26, 2005, Plaintiff visited Defendants' restaurant a second time to perform an Americans with Disabilities Act access survey.

On January 19, 2006, Plaintiff sent a letter to Defendants stating that Plaintiff encountered access barriers during his visit to Defendants' McDonald's restaurant. Plaintiff further stated that Defendants' restaurant was in violation of state and federal access laws, and requested that Defendants respond within ten days of the letter's receipt. On January 27, 2006, and March 22, 2006, Defendants responded to Plaintiff's letter in writing, and advised Plaintiff that Defendants had engaged an accessibility consultant and would correct any access barriers. Plaintiff did not respond to or acknowledge either of Defendants' written responses.

On May 11, 2006, Plaintiff filed the Complaint in this matter, asserting a federal Americans with Disability Act (ADA) claim as well as California state law claims against Defendants. (Doc. # 1). Specifically, Plaintiff asserted that he encountered physical and intangible barriers at Defendants' McDonald's restaurant which denied Plaintiff the ability to use and enjoy the restaurant in violation of federal and state law. (Doc. # 1).

On July 3, 2006, Defendants made a Rule 68 Offer of Judgment whereby Defendants agreed to bring Defendants' McDonald's restaurant into compliance with disability laws. On July 5, 2006, Plaintiff rejected the offer. On July 14, 2006, Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. (Doc. # 7). On July 20, 2006, Defendants tendered a second Rule 68 Offer of Judgment. On July 26, 2006, Plaintiff rejected the second offer. On November 2, 2006, this Court denied Defendants' motion to dismiss. (Doc. # 25). On December 8, 2006, Defendants made a third Rule 68 Offer of Judgment. On December 12, 2006, Plaintiff rejected the third offer.

On January 28, 2007, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's state law claims for lack of jurisdiction. (Doc. # 35). On May 31, 2007, the Court granted the motion to dismiss and dismissed Plaintiff's state law claims without prejudice. (Doc. # 57).

On April 3, 2007, Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment. (Doc. # 42). In April and early June of 2007, Defendants asked Plaintiff to withdraw the motion. On June 15, 2007, Plaintiff withdrew the motion. (Doc. # 62).

On June 22, 2007, Defendants moved for summary judgment on Plaintiff's federal ADA claim. (Docs. # 65, 66). On July 13, 2007, Plaintiff filed a cross-motion for summary judgment on the ADA claim. (Doc. # 68). On August 6, 2007, Plaintiff conceded that there were no longer ADA violations at Defendants' restaurant and that Plaintiff lacked standing. (Doc. # 78).

On August 22, 2007, this Court issued an Order granting Defendant's motion for summary judgment and denying Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. (Doc. # 80). In granting summary judgment, the Court relied upon Plaintiff's concession that all of the ADA violations had been remedied and that Plaintiff lacked standing to pursue the remaining ADA claim. (Doc. # 80).

On September 5, 2007, Defendants filed the pending motion for attorneys fees, costs, and sanctions. (Doc. # 85). On October 12, 2007, Plaintiff filed an opposition. (Doc. # 92). On October 22, 2007, Defendants filed a reply. (Doc. # 93). On March 3, 2008, Defendants requested that this Court take judicial notice of an Order filed on February 29, 2008, in Wilson v. Kayo Oil, et. al., 06CV1035 BEN (AJB), docket entry # 52. (Doc. # 99).

DISCUSSION

Defendants move for attorneys' fees, costs, and sanctions pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 12205, 28 U.S.C. § 1927, and the Court's inherent power. Defendants contend that Plaintiff filed the Complaint and multiplied these proceedings in bad faith in an attempt to obtain a large monetary settlement. Specifically, Defendants contend that Plaintiff ignored Defendants attempt to settle this matter in bad faith and filed motions for summary judgment which Plaintiff knew were meritless at the time that they were filed.

Plaintiff contends that Defendants are not the prevailing parties in this matter and are therefore not entitled to attorney fees and costs. Plaintiff further contends that he rejected Defendants' settlement demands and offers of judgment because the settlement demands and offers of judgment did not adequately protect Plaintiff's interests. Plaintiff contends that he never filed a motion in bad faith, and notes ...


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