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Geneva Lema v. Marriott Merced

June 13, 2012

GENEVA LEMA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MARRIOTT MERCED, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

DENYING MOTION TO STRIKE COURTYARD ORDER (Doc. 59)

Defendants move to strike portions of Plaintiff's first amended complaint pursuant to F.R.Civ.P. 12(f). Defendants' failure to support their laundry list of materials to be stricken belies their true intent, which is to continue their strategy of delaying the resolution of this case. Finding no basis to strike any portion of the amended complaint, the Court denies the motion.

I. Materials That Defendants Move to Strike

Defendants move this Court to strike the following portions of Plaintiff's complaint:

1. The final three phrases of paragraph 6, in which Plaintiff sets forth her standing to seek relief pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act: she has bothered to make herself aware of the hotel's construction and alteration history triggering the obligation to provide disabled access; she has invested substantial money and time to research and determine the hotel's obligations; and she promises to protect and fully enforce the Public Interest ahead of the personalized interests she has in this suit.

Doc 58 at 5.

2. Footnote 1 of paragraph 14:

Information concerning Ms. Lema's church and ministry can be found at http://revnevalema.cityslide.com/n.html. A video example of her speaking ministry is viewable at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wf10613KMUE&feature=relat ed.

3. The phrase "now needs the use of a wheelchair over 50 percent of the time" in Paragraph 14.

4. Paragraphs 16-20:

16. Lema estimates her ministry in Merced has reached 500-600 people in the Merced area not including those who have viewed her on television. She estimates she has gotten to know personally, and on a name basis, approximately 100 people in the area.

17. Because of the advancement of her disabilities since 2005, requiring a significantly higher use of a wheelchair, and because of significant barriers at the neighboring Comfort Inn, Lema has been forced to start staying at the subject Courtyard and has now been doing so since that hotel first opened in approximately January of 2008.

18. Inaccessible Conditions at the Neighboring Comfort Inn That Dictate Plaintiff's Choice to Stay at the Courtyard: Formerly on the traveling ministry trips, Plaintiff stayed at the aforementioned Comfort Inn (formerly Holiday Inn Express), which neighbors the Courtyard, and had been doing so for approximately 10 years. She switched to staying at the Courtyard shortly after it opened in 2008. The reason for the switch was the more formidable architectural barrier conditions she encountered at the Comfort Inn, whose barriers were not manageable. However, in most cases, especially when traveling with a team, Lema would prefer to stay at the Comfort Inn if made accessible. Its rates are cheaper and afford her the ability to bring along and meet with her ministry team. The team is usually 10 persons, which she has brought with her in the past, renting 3 rooms. And the local churches that pay for her rooms cannot always afford that many rooms at a hotel as pricey as the Courtyard. The same is true of Lema's ability to pay on those occasions where she had to pay for lodging out of her honorarium. Because of these economics, Lema has not been able to afford to take her team with her, and has thus been deterred from staying at the Comfort Inn.

19. Lema had been embarrassed while staying at the Comfort Inn. On one occasion in 2006 when she visited the area for a church's women's conference, she was unable to use the cramped bathroom in the designated accessible bathroom she took at the Comfort Inn. As a consequence, she was forced to check out in the middle of the night to obtain a more accessible guestroom in Turlock. On another occasion in 2007 when she rented the suite for purposes of meeting with her team, the inaccessible size of the bathroom would not allow her to enter and close the door. She was thus forced to disrobe and use the facilities with the door open, and with her team within earshot in the adjoining room. The architectural barriers at the Comfort Inn have caused Lema [to] "live a little bit different than everybody else," while staying at the Inn. These ...


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