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Kohler v. Flava Enterprises

August 13, 2010

CHRIS KOHLER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
FLAVA ENTERPRISES, INC. DBA HOUSE OF FLAVA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Irma E. Gonzalez, Chief Judge United States District Court

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

[Doc. No. 4]

This is a civil rights action brought by Plaintiff Chris Kohler under the Americans with Disabilities Act and related California statutes. Presently before the Court is Defendant Flava Enterprises, Inc., dba House of Flava's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (Doc. No. 14.)

Plaintiff filed an opposition, and Defendant did not file a reply. This motion is suitable for disposition without oral argument pursuant to Local Civil Rule 7.1(d)(1). For the reasons stated herein, the Court DENIES Defendant's motion to dismiss.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are drawn from Plaintiff's Complaint. Plaintiff is paralyzed from the waist down and requires use of a wheelchair. Plaintiff alleges he visited a store in National City, California, which is owned, operated, or leased by Defendant (the "Store"). At the Store, Plaintiff allegedly encountered barriers that interfered with, or denied, his ability to use and enjoy the goods, services, privileges, and accommodations offered at the facility. In particular, Plaintiff encountered three barriers: (1) the checkout counter was too high to accommodate a patron in a wheelchair; (2) the dressing room bench was not 24 inches wide by 48 inches long; and (3) the clothing hooks inside the dressing room were mounted too high. Plaintiff further alleges he was deterred from and continues to be deterred from visiting the Store because of these barriers.

On April 7, 2010, Plaintiff filed a Complaint setting forth four causes of action: (1) violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"); (2) violation of the Disabled Persons Act, California Civil Code § 54; (3) violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act, California Civil Code § 51; and (4) denial of full and equal access to public facilities, in violation of the California Health and Safety Code. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and damages.

On June 1, 2010, Defendant filed this motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint, arguing the Complaint fails to establish subject matter jurisdiction and fails to state a claim.

DISCUSSION

I. Motion to Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(1)

A. Legal Standard

Defendant moves to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1). The governing principles are well established. "Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction," and "possess only that power authorized by Constitution and statute, which is not to be expanded by judicial decree." Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). "It is to be presumed that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction." Id.

A facial challenge, like the one Defendant brings here, argues that the Complaint does not set forth grounds for federal subject matter jurisdiction. See Thornhill Pub. Co. v. Gen. Tel. & Elecs. Corp., 594 F.2d 730, 733 (9th Cir.1979). The Court must assume the factual allegations in the complaint are true and construe them in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. See id.

Standing is a jurisdictional limitation; it is "an essential and unchanging part of the case-or-controversy requirement of Article III." Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992). In order for Plaintiff to have Article III standing, he must have suffered an injury in fact which ...


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