United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS; STAYING ACTION FOR
ALL PURPOSES EXCEPT MEDIATION TO BE CONDUCTED BY ADR PROGRAM
Re: Dkt. No. 28
MARIA-ELENA JAMES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant SSR Group, Inc.
(“Defendant”)’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff
Scott Johnson (“Plaintiff”)’s First Amended
Complaint (“FAC”). Dkt. No. 28. Plaintiff filed
an Opposition (Dkt. No. 31), and Defendant filed a Reply
(Dkt. No. 37). Both parties have consented to this
Court’s jurisdiction. Dkt. Nos. 20 & 22. The Court
finds this matter suitable for disposition without oral
argument and VACATES the July 14, 2016 hearing. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b); Civ. L.R. 7-1(b). Having considered
the parties’ positions, relevant legal authority, and
the record in this case, the Court DENIES Defendant’s
Motion for the reasons set forth below. The Court also STAYS
the action until the parties complete the mediation process
required by General Order No. 56.
is a quadriplegic who uses a wheelchair for mobility. FAC
¶ 1, Dkt. No. 26. He alleges that on at least four
occasions in 2015 when he visited Defendant’s
convenience store (the “Property”), he
encountered barriers to accessibility. Id.
¶¶ 18-48, 143-46. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges
Defendant failed to provide accessible parking and a path of
travel to the Property. Id. He also identifies other
barriers to access, but notes he did not encounter those
personally. Id. ¶¶ 49-68, 121-34
(transaction counters and restroom facilities not accessible
to persons in wheelchairs);
135-42 (merchandise aisles, safety features, and fuel pumps
not accessible to persons in wheelchairs). Plaintiff alleges
these conditions violate the Americans with Disabilities Act
of 1990 (the “ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§
12101, et seq., as well as California’s Unruh Civil
Rights Act, and California Civil Code §§ 51 and 52.
argues it has remediated the violations identified in the FAC
and that the Property is now in compliance with the ADA.
Mot., Dkt. No. 28-1 at 6-7. Defendant’s Motion is
supported by the Declaration of Steven T. Arnold, an Access
Compliance Specialist certified by the State of California.
See Arnold Decl., Dkt. No. 28-2. Mr. Arnold declares
that he assisted Defendant in bringing the Property into
compliance with federal and state laws. Id. Having
inspected the Property in 2016, Mr. Arnold opines that
“with regard to the purported barriers identified by
Plaintiff Johnson in his FAC, the Property satisfies all of
the standards and requirements set forth in the ADA’s
1991 Standards or ADA 2010 Standards” and that
Defendant is “in full compliance” with all ADA
requirements “with respect to all of the purported
‘barriers’ identified in Plaintiff
Johnson’s FAC.” Id. ¶¶ 58-59.
Defendant argues its remediation efforts moot
Plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief as there can
no longer be a risk of future harm. Because the ADA claim is
the sole predicate for federal jurisdiction here, and because
the only relief Plaintiff is entitled to under the ADA is
injunctive relief, Defendant asks the Court to dismiss the
ADA claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(h)(3); it
also asks the Court to decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims and to
remand them to state court.
has not filed a competing declaration from another compliance
specialist. Instead, he relies on Mr. Arnold’s
declaration to support his arguments that at least some of
the barriers identified in the FAC do not currently comply
with the ADA. Opp’n, Dkt. No. 31 at 5-12 (citing Arnold
Decl. ¶¶ 27-28, 32, 35, 45, 55-56). He further
argues that Defendant has not met the burden of demonstrating
that the violations that have been remediated, will not
recur. Id. at 12-16.
district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction;
“[t]hey possess only that power authorized by
Constitution and statute, which is not to be expanded by
judicial decree.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins.
Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994) (citation omitted).
Accordingly, “[i]t is to be presumed that a cause lies
outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of
establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting
jurisdiction.” Id.; Chandler v. State Farm
Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 598 F.3d 1115, 1122 (9th Cir.
2010). “If the court determines at any time that it
lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the
action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) authorizes a party to move
to dismiss a lawsuit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
A jurisdictional challenge may be facial or factual. Safe
Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir.
2004). Where the attack is facial, the court determines
whether the allegations contained in the complaint are
sufficient on their face to invoke federal jurisdiction,
accepting all material allegations in the complaint as true
and construing them in favor of the party asserting
jurisdiction. Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 501
(1975). Where the attack is factual, however, “[t]he
court need not presume the truthfulness of the
plaintiff’s allegations.” Safe Air, 373
F.3d at 1039. In resolving a factual dispute as to the
existence of subject matter jurisdiction, a court may review
extrinsic evidence beyond the complaint without converting a
motion to dismiss into one for summary judgment.
Id.; McCarthy v. United States, 850 F.2d
558, 560 (9th Cir. 1988) (holding that a court “may
review any evidence, such as affidavits and testimony, to
resolve factual disputes concerning the existence of
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction in a case premised on
federal-question jurisdiction is “exceptional.”
Sun Valley Gasoline, Inc. v. Ernst Enter., Inc., 711
F.2d 138, 140 (9th Cir. 1983). Jurisdictional dismissal is
warranted “where the alleged claim under the
constitution or federal statutes clearly appears to be
immaterial and made solely for the purpose of obtaining
federal jurisdiction or where such claim is wholly
insubstantial and frivolous.” Safe Air, 373
F.3d at 1039 (quoting Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678,
682-83 (1946)). Jurisdictional dismissal is not warranted
when “the jurisdictional issue and substantive issues
are so intertwined that the question of jurisdiction is
dependent on the resolution of factual issues going to the
merits of the action.” Sun Valley Gasoline,
711 F.2d at 139. Jurisdictional and substantive issues are
intertwined where “a statute provides the basis for
both the subject matter jurisdiction of the federal court and
the plaintiff’s substantive claim for relief.”
Jurisdictional Dismissal Is Not ...