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Feezor v. Patterson

United States District Court, E.D. California

October 5, 2012

Lary FEEZOR, Plaintiff,
v.
Gary L. PATTERSON, et al., Defendants.

Page 896

Scottlynn J. Hubbard IV, Law Offices of Lynn Hubbard, Chico, California for Plaintiff.

Jon D. Meer, Myra B. Villamor, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Los Angeles, CA, for Defendants.

Page 897

ORDER

K.J. MUELLER, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on cross-motions for summary judgment brought by plaintiff Lary Feezor (" Feezor" or " plaintiff" ) and defendant Eddie Bauer LLC (" Eddie Bauer" ). Also before the court are the cross-motions for summary judgment brought by defendant Hanesbrands Direct, LLC (" Hanesbrands" ) and plaintiff. This matter was decided without a hearing. For the following reasons, Eddie Bauer's and Hanesbrands' motions are hereby GRANTED.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Feezor is a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair; the parties agree that he falls within the definition of a person with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (" ADA" ) and California Law. ( See Def. Eddie Bauer's P. and A. in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J., ECF 76-1 at 1; Plaintiff's Opp'n and Cross-Motion for Summ. J., ECF 85 at 1). It is also undisputed that defendants Eddie Bauer and Hanesbrands (collectively " defendants" ) are private entities that own, lease, or operate places of public accommodation, and are bound by the ADA's anti-discrimination requirements. ( See ECF 85 at 4.)

A. Factual and Procedural History: Eddie Bauer's and Plaintiff's Cross-motions

Prior to filing his complaint on May 12, 2010, Feezor visited the Shasta Outlet Mall in Anderson, California, where Eddie Bauer, along with other named defendants, maintains stores. (Def. Eddie Bauer's Statement of Undisputed Facts (" EBSUF" ), ECF 76-2, 1.) Feezor alleges he encountered four barriers that prevented his full and equal enjoyment of the facility. Specifically, Feezor alleges: (1) a lack of International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA) signage; (2) improper panel handles [1] on the front door; (3) a dressing room bench that was not the proper size; and (4) a dressing room bench that was not properly affixed to the wall. (Feezor's First Am. Compl. (" FAC" ), ECF 54 ¶¶ 31-34, 167-199.) As a result, plaintiff brought this action for injunctive relief and damages, asserting claims against Eddie Bauer, and other named defendants, under the ADA, Disabled Persons Act (" DPA" ), Unruh Civil Rights Act (" Unruh Act" ), and California Health and Safety Code section 19955, et seq. (FAC ¶¶ 134-199.)

Eddie Bauer moved for summary judgment on November 16, 2011. (ECF 76.) In response, plaintiff filed an opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment. (ECF 85.) Plaintiff also filed a separate motion for summary judgment against Eddie Bauer. (ECF 92.) Plaintiff's opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment, and his separate motion for summary judgment are identical, with one difference: plaintiff added a notice of motion to the latter and labeled it a motion for summary judgment. ( Compare ECF 85 with ECF 92.) Because ECF 92 is simply a re-filing of ECF 85, only plaintiff's opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment, ECF 85, will be considered below.

B. Factual and Procedural History: Hanesbrands' and Plaintiff's Cross-motions

Also prior to filing his complaint on May 12, 2010, plaintiff visited the Hanesbrands store in Shasta Outlet Mall in Anderson,

Page 898

California. (Def. Hanesbrands' Statement of Undisputed Facts (" HSUF" ), ECF 77-2, 1.) At Hanesbrands, plaintiff allegedly encountered four barriers that prevented his full and equal enjoyment of the facility: (1) a lack of ISA signage; (2) improper panel handles on the front door; (3) a counter that was too high; and (4) a paypoint machine that was too high. (FAC ¶¶ 28, 134-166.) Again, as a result, plaintiff brought this action for injunctive relief and damages, asserting claims against Hanesbrands under the ADA, DPA, Unruh Act, and California Health and Safety Code section 19955, et seq. (FAC ¶¶ 134-166.)

Hanesbrands moved for summary judgment on November 16, 2011. (ECF 77.) In response, plaintiff filed an opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment. (ECF 87.) Plaintiff filed a separate motion for summary judgment against defendant on December 5, 2011. (ECF 93.) As with plaintiff's opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment, and separate motion for summary judgment against Eddie Bauer, ECF 87 and 93, against Hanesbrands are identical, with one difference: plaintiff added a notice of motion to the latter and labeled it a motion for summary judgment. ( Compare ECF 87 with ECF 93.) Because ECF 93 is simply a re-filing of ECF 87, only plaintiff's opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment, ECF 87, will be considered below. The parties also filed replies in support of their respective motions for summary judgment. (ECF 99-102.)

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Summary Judgment

A court will grant summary judgment " if ... there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a). The " threshold inquiry" is whether " there are any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).[2]

The moving party bears the initial burden of showing the district court " that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). The burden then shifts to the nonmoving party, which " must establish that there is a genuine issue of material fact ...." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 585, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). In carrying their burdens, both parties must " cit[e] to particular parts of materials in the record ...; or show[ ] that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c)(1); see also Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348 (" [the nonmoving party] must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts" ). Moreover, " the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact .... Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505 (emphasis in original).

Page 899

In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court draws all inferences and views all evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 588, 106 S.Ct. 1348; Whitman v. Mineta, 541 F.3d 929, 931 (9th Cir.2008). " Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no ‘ genuine issue for trial.’ " Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348 (quoting First Nat'l Bank of Arizona v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 289, 88 S.Ct. 1575, 20 L.Ed.2d 569 (1968)).

B. Standing

" To demonstrate standing, a plaintiff must (1) have suffered an injury in fact— an invasion of a legally protected interest which is (a) concrete and particularized and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; (2) there must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of— the injury has to be fairly ... traceable to the challenged action of the defendant, and not ... the result [of] the independent action of some third party not before the court; and (3) it must be likely as opposed to merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision." Pritikin v. Dep't of Energy, 254 F.3d 791, 796-97 (9th Cir.2001) (internal quotations and citations omitted) (alterations in original). " [W]hen an ADA plaintiff has suffered an injury-in-fact by encountering a barrier that deprives him of full and equal enjoyment of the facility due to his particular disability, he has standing to sue for injunctive relief as to that barrier and other barriers ...


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