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Orlando v. Los Alamitos Racing Association

United States District Court, C.D. California, Southern Division

January 28, 2015

MICHAEL ORLANDO, Plaintiff,
v.
LOS ALAMITOS RACING ASSOCIATION; Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [40]; and GRANTING AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [41]

DAVID O. CARTER, District Judge.

Before the Court are Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment ("D-Mot.") (Dkt. 40) and Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment ("P-Mot.") (Dkt. 41). After reviewing the papers, the Court GRANTS IN PART both Motions.

I. Background

A. Facts

This lawsuit arises from Plaintiff Michael Orlando's allegation that Defendant Los Alamitos Racing Association has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because there is no wheelchair accessible path of travel from the parking lot to the main entrance of the Clubhouse at the Los Alamitos racetrack, which is located at the south side of the grandstand ("Southern Entrance"). Defendant either owns, leases, or exercises operative control over the Los Alamitos racetrack, including the Clubhouse, and that the Los Alamitos racetrack, including the Clubhouse, is a business establishment and a place of public accommodation. P-SUF Nos. 3, 4.[1]

Plaintiff has been going to the Los Alamitos racetrack for over 20 years. On most of those visits, Mr. Orlando has patronized the Clubhouse portion of the grandstand at the Los Alamitos Track. Declaration of Michael Orlando ¶ 3 ("Orlando Decl.") (Dkt. 41-2). The Southern Entrance to the Clubhouse has multiple sets of stairs leading up to the entrance. The stairs go up a vertical distance of approximately 8 feet. D-SUF No. 8. There is no elevator or lift which services this entrance. P-SUF No. 6. Plaintiff states that he experienced great difficulty navigating the stairs. He could not use his walker because the walker would not fit on the stairs. He instead had to use his cane. He fell and injured himself, causing him difficulty, discomfort, and embarrassment. Orlando Decl. ¶ 4.

An alternative route to the Clubhouse is accessed by entering the front gate, entering the ground floor of the grandstand, turning left or right down a hallway, taking an elevator to the second floor, and crossing the floor to an interior door which leads to the Clubhouse ("Interior Door"). P-SUF No. 8. Due to the un-ramped stairs located at the Southern Entrance, in order to access the Clubhouse, a disabled patron must either climb the stairs or use the alternative route to the Interior Door. P-SUF No. 9.

The Interior Door is kept locked so that admission to the Clubhouse is restricted to those customers who purchase the separate admission to the Clubhouse. The Interior Door will be opened by an attendant for any person who has purchased separate admission to the Clubhouse, to allow the person to enter the Clubhouse. A person in a wheelchair who has paid the separate admission fee for the Clubhouse and who wishes to visit the Clubhouse is escorted up the elevator to the Clubhouse door, where the escort and any security personnel will open the entrance door to allow admission to the Clubhouse for the person in the wheelchair. D-SUF Nos. 19, 20.

Plaintiff states that, due to the un-ramped stairs at the Southern Entrance and the locked Interior Door, he has been unable to return to the Los Alamitos track for some time. He wishes to return and attend regularly again, once the violations are removed. Orlando Decl. ¶¶ 7-8.

B. Procedural History

Plaintiff filed suit in this Court on July 19, 2013. See Compl. (Dkt. 1). The Complaint[2] originally alleged three causes of action:

(1) Violation of Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990;
(2) Violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. ...

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