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McLaughlin v. Hilton Worldwide, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

February 11, 2015

EARL McLAUGHLIN, Plaintiff,
v.
HILTON WORLDWIDE, INC., a Delaware Corporation; EMBASSY SUITES MANAGEMENT LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company; FELCOR/JPM HOTELS, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company; and DOES 1 through 10, Defendants.

ORDER

WILLIAM Q. HAYES, District Judge.

The matter before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 26) filed by Defendants Hilton Worldwide, Inc. ("Hilton"), Embassy Suites Management, LLC ("ESM") and Felcor/JPM Hotels, Inc. ("Felcor").

BACKGROUND

On March 6, 2014, Plaintiff initiated this action by filing a complaint against Defendants Hilton, Felcor and ESM. (ECF No. 1). On April 9, 2014, Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint against all Defendants. (ECF No. 8).

On July 9, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint. (ECF No. 19). On August 27, 2014, the Court issued an Order granting Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a second amended complaint. (ECF No. 23).

On August 28, 2014, Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint against Defendants Hilton, Felcor and ESM. (ECF No. 24). On September 15, 2014, Defendants filed the motion to dismiss Plaintiff's second amended complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). (ECF No. 26). On October 6, 2014, Plaintiff filed a response. (ECF No. 27). On October 10, 2014, Defendants filed a reply. (ECF No. 30).

ALLEGATIONS OF SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

Plaintiff suffers from "Friedreich's Ataxia, a genetic-progressive neuromuscular disorder that affects... coordination, speech, eyesight and hearing...." (ECF No. 24 ¶ 1). "[Plaintiff] is unable to walk and uses a power wheelchair for mobility." Id. "[P]laintiff is a former Board Member of the National Ataxia Foundation. He is on the planning committee and an officer for the San Diego Support Group of that foundation." Id. ¶ 12. "[Plaintiff] frequently travels to Minnesota to attend board meetings and events at the Minnesota headquarters of the National Ataxia Foundation." Id. "[P]laintiff is a Hilton Honors Member. He stays at Hilton and Embassy Suites on a regular and ongoing basis. He frequently travels to Minnesota... and will continue to do so in the future because of his work with the National Ataxia Foundation." Id. ¶ 17.

"Defendant [Felcor] was during all relevant times in this complaint, the owner of the Embassy Suites Bloomington hotel..." Id. ¶ 3. "Defendant [ESM] was during all relevant times in this complaint, the operator of the Embassy Suites Bloomington hotel..." Id. ¶ 4. "Defendant [Hilton] is the owner and operator of the website reservation system" and "handles reservations for Hilton branded and Embassy Suites hotels including the Embassy Suites Bloomington hotel." Id. ¶ 2.

"On July 9, 2013, ... [P]laintiff was preparing for his trip to attend a board meeting of the National Ataxia Foundation. He used the Embassy Suites/Hilton interactive website and booked an accessible King Suite... for a July 21, 2013 check in" at Embassy Suites Bloomington hotel in Bloomington, Minnesota. Id. ¶ 13 "He reserved this room with [his] credit card. The [D]efendants' confirmation email was sent on July 9, 2013, confirming the room reservation for his stay." Id. "The print at the bottom of the confirmation email noted that the [P]laintiff's room would only be provided if available' and that the [P]laintiff's preference' for an accessible room was subject to hotel availability.'" Id. "Thus, the defendants do not guarantee that the specific accessible room reserved through the reservation service is held for the reserving customer." Id. ¶ 14.

"On July 21, 2013, when the [P]laintiff went to the Embassy Suites Bloomington, he was told that his room was no longer available. The hotel staff told the [P]laintiff that the room reservation is, in fact, not guaranteed. The [P]laintiff was forced to go to a different hotel and pay a higher price." Id. ¶ 15. "In encountering and dealing with the non-compliant hotel reservation policies and practices, the [P]laintiff experienced difficulty and frustration. This violation denied the [P]laintiff full and equal access to facilities, privileges and accommodations offered by the [D]efendants." Id. ¶ 16. "[P]laintiff will continue to be discriminated against by these [D]efendants until they change their policies and practices." Id. ¶ 17.

Plaintiff's second amended complaint seeks injunctive relief for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and the Unruh Civil Rights Act. Id. ¶ 23 Plaintiff also seeks damages for violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act and the California Disabled Persons Act. Id. ¶ 25.

LEGAL STANDARD

"A motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction may either attack the allegations of the complaint or may be made as a speaking motion' attacking the existence of subject matter jurisdiction in fact." Thornhill Publ's. Co., Inc. v. Gen. Tel. & Electronics Corp., 594 F.2d 730, 733 (9th Cir. 1979). "[W]hen considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) the district court is not restricted to the face of the pleadings, but may review any evidence, such as affidavits and testimony, to resolve factual disputes concerning the existence of jurisdiction." McCarthy v. United States, 850 F.2d 558, 560 (9th Cir. 1988). However, this standard "[is] not appropriate for determining jurisdiction in a case... where issues of jurisdiction and substance are intertwined." Roberts v. Corrothers, 812 F.2d 1173, 1177 (9th Cir. 1987). "A court may not resolve genuinely disputed facts where the question of jurisdiction is dependent on the resolution of factual issues going to the merits." Id. (citations and quotations omitted). "If the jurisdictional issue and ...


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