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Geneva Lema v. Comfort Inn

March 27, 2012

GENEVA LEMA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMFORT INN, MERCED, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra M. Snyder United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (Doc. 43)

Defendants move for dismissal pursuant to F.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and (6), arguing that the complaint is barred by the statute of limitations and that the Court lacks jurisdiction because of Plaintiff's lack of standing. This court reviewed the papers and determined that this matter was suitable for decision without oral argument pursuant to Local Rule 78-230(h). Having considered all written materials submitted, the Court is required to dismiss the complaint as a result of Plaintiff's failure to allege facts establishing subject matter jurisdiction.

I. Procedural History

On February 27, 2010, Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendants seeking injunctive relief and damages for violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.); California state disabilities rights laws (California Civil Code §§ 54, 54.1, and 55); and the Unruh Civil Rights Act. Plaintiff sought injunctive and declaratory relief, and treble damages. Defendants answered on April 8, 2010.

Following multiple substitutions of counsel in the spring and summer of 2011, Defendants failed to provide timely expert discovery, resulting in the Court's striking Defendants' designation of its expert witness on January 19, 2012. On February 2, 2012, Defendants moved to dismiss the complain for lack of jurisdiction.

II. Factual Allegations

Plaintiff alleged that she is a person with physical disabilities who uses a wheelchair, but has "short term semi-ambulatory abilities with the use of hand crutches." Plaintiff alleged that, in the two years before she filed her complaint, she was unable to patronize Defendants' hotel due to a laundry list of deficiencies:

1. Insufficient disabled accessible guestrooms spread across the range of accommodations, including suited, and double bedrooms;

2. Absence of guestrooms with roll-in showers;

3. Insufficient numbers of disabled parking facilities in the hotel's different lots accessing entrances on separate sides of the building;

4. Substantially inaccessible disabled parking facilities, which are improperly sized, configured, sloped, and signed, and in many cases, hazardous to disabled use;

5. The absence of an accessible path of travel from the adjoining public sidewalk and paths of travel to the public transportation stops;

6. Absence of a path of travel between the main entrance and the porte-cochere;

7. Absence of a path of travel between the main entrance and the north parking lot;

8. Inaccessible path of travel between main entrance and the north parking lot requiring traversing steps and a cobblestone path; Inaccessible path of travel between the main entrance and the outdoor patio;

9. A raised registration counter, which provides only a roll-out shelf, but provides printed material, fruit, and other items, on the upper counter, violates Title 24;

10. Inaccessible lobby facilities, including circulation paths of travel, internet terminal and house telephone;

11. Inaccessible designated accessible guestrooms, which violate code requirements in almost every respect, including but not limited to the failure to provide a compliant interior door landing (i.e., the existing strike-edge clearance is obstructed by the closet); a lack of turning radius in bathroom; and the necessary side and front transfer space for using the water closet and tub; the sign on the back of the door for the Emergency Escape Plan is mounted at about 56 inches and in a non-complaint font (about 8 or 9 pts); the absence of a 36 inch path of travel throughout the room; the absence of access to the HVAC controls, which are obstructed by furniture; and the inaccessible knee clearance at the desk/table; and the absence of knee space for the lavatory;

12. The designated disabled accessible restroom located on the first floor corridor just outside Room 101 is inaccessible because, inter alia, it fails to provide an accessible exterior door landing; the path of travel is obstructed by a 1 inch beveled sudden change in rise that obstructs the transition from the corridor to the pad; a vending machine also obstructs the inward swinging door by approximately 1 inch; the hot water feed is not wrapped; the interior lacks a compliant turning circle and space beside and in front of the toilet; and all amenities are mounted at non-compliant heights and/or next to inaccessible floor spaces, including the sanitary seat cover dispenser behind the toilet, the mirror, the towel/trash receptacle, the sanitary napkin/tampon vending machine, and the sanitary disposal box;

13. Inaccessible vending and ice machines on the first floor which is obstructed by the ...


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