United States District Court, E.D. California
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MORRISON C. ENGLAND, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case arises out of claims that Plaintiff Scott Johnson
(“Plaintiff”), who is confined to a wheelchair,
visited SmarTek, a store located in Sacramento, CA, on
several occasions in early 2014 and encountered
discriminatory barriers to access. As a result, he filed the
operative Complaint in this action against Defendants Omar
Ghaith and Azizur Rehman (collectively,
“Defendants”), who are the real property owners,
business operators, lessors, and/or lessees of SmarTek.
Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants are in
violation of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42
U.S.C. § 12101, and related California laws.
before the Court is Defendants’ Motion for Summary
Judgment (“Motion”). ECF No. 26. For the reasons
that follow, Defendants’ Motion is GRANTED in part and
DENIED in part.
is a quadriplegic with significant dexterity impairments. He
uses a wheelchair for mobility and has a specially equipped
van. It is uncontroverted that Defendant Ghaith owns/operates
the SmarTek retail business, and Defendant Rehman has owned
the building that houses SmarTek since 2012.
visited SmarTek on several occasions, including on dates in
January and March 2014. On those visits, he encountered
barriers that made SmarTek inaccessible to wheelchair users.
Such barriers include: a lack of accessible travel paths in
and throughout the merchandise aisles; a lack of any van
parking space; door hardware at SmarTek’s entrance that
requires a person to grasp and twist with the wrist to open;
and a lack of edge protection for the curb ramp. Despite
these barriers, Plaintiff was ultimately able to enter
SmarTek and conduct business therein, but he claims that the
barriers agitated him. Plaintiff filed this Complaint on June
18, 2014, asserting four causes of action: (1) violations of
the ADA, (2) violations of the Unruh Civil Rights Act
(“Unruh”), (3) violations of the California
Disabled Persons Act (DPA), and (4) the California tort of
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide for summary judgment
when “the movant shows that 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);
see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322
(1986). One of the principal purposes of Rule 56 is to
dispose of factually unsupported claims or defenses.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325.
also allows a court to grant summary judgment on part of a
claim or defense, known as partial summary judgment.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) (“A party may move for
summary judgment, identifying each claim or defense-or the
part of each claim or defense-on which summary judgment is
sought.”); see also Allstate Ins. Co. v.
Madan, 889 F.Supp. 374, 378-79 (C.D. Cal. 1995). The
standard that applies to a motion for partial summary
judgment is the same as that which applies to a motion for
summary judgment. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); State
of Cal. ex rel. Cal. Dep’t of Toxic Substances Control
v. Campbell, 138 F.3d 772, 780 (9th Cir. 1998) (applying
summary judgment standard to motion for summary
summary judgment motion, the moving party always bears the
initial responsibility of informing the court of the basis
for the motion and identifying the portions in the record
“which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine
issue of material fact.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at
323. If the moving party meets its initial responsibility,
the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish
that a genuine issue as to any material fact actually does
exist. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986); First
Nat’l Bank v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253,
attempting to establish the existence or non-existence of a
genuine factual dispute, the party must support its assertion
by “citing to particular parts of materials in the
record, including depositions, documents, electronically
stored information, affidavits[, ] or declarations . . . or
other materials; or showing 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). The opposing
party must demonstrate that the fact in contention is
material, i.e., a fact that might affect the outcome of the
suit under the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 251-52 (1986); Owens v.
Local No. 169, Assoc. of W. Pulp and Paper Workers, 971
F.2d 347, 355 (9th Cir. 1987). The opposing party must also
demonstrate that the dispute about a material fact “is
‘genuine, ’ that is, if the evidence is such that
a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In other
words, the judge needs to answer the preliminary question
before the evidence is left to the jury of “not whether
there is literally no evidence, but whether there is any upon
which a jury could properly proceed to find a verdict for the
party producing it, upon whom the onus of proof is
imposed.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251 (quoting
Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. 442, 448 (1871))
(emphasis in original). As the Supreme Court explained,
“[w]hen the moving party has carried its burden under
Rule [56(a)], its opponent must do more than simply show that
there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts.” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586.
Therefore, “[w]here the record taken as a whole could
not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving
party, there is no ‘genuine issue for
trial.’” Id. at 587.
resolving a summary judgment motion, the evidence of the
opposing party is to be believed, and all reasonable
inferences that may be drawn from the facts placed before the
court must be drawn in favor of the opposing party.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. Nevertheless, inferences
are not drawn out of the air, and it is the opposing
party’s obligation to produce a factual predicate from
which the inference may be drawn. Richards v. Nielsen
Freight Lines, 602 F.Supp. 1224, 1244-45 (E.D. Cal.
1985), aff’d, 810 F.2d 898 (9th Cir. 1987).