United States District Court, C.D. California
Johnny Galvan, et al.
Walt Disney Parks & Resorts U.S., Inc.
Chambers] Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Remand
Present: The Honorable ANDRE BIROTTE JR., United States
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
[In Chambers] Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for
the Court is Plaintiffs Johnny Galvan, Sandy Mumma, and
Stavros Patsalos' (collectively, "Plaintiffs")
Motion for Remand, filed February 13, 2017. (Dkt. No. 15.)
Defendant Walt Disney Parks & Resorts U.S., Inc.
("Disney" or "Defendant") filed an
opposition on February 27, 2017, and Plaintiffs filed a reply
on March 6, 2017. (Dkt. Nos. 18, 19.) Having considered the
arguments and materials submitted, the Court deems this
matter appropriate for resolution without oral argument and
VACATES the hearing set for March 20, 2017. For the following
reasons, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs' motion.
action arises from a change in disability policies at Disney
parks. Before October 2013, Disney accommodated guests with
special needs by issuing "Guest Assistance Cards
("GACs"). With these cards "Plaintiffs knew
they could expect minimal manageable waits at the various
attractions of interest." (Notice of Removal Ex. A,
Complaint ("Compl.") ¶ 19.) Though not
well-articulated in the Complaint, it appears park employees
would accommodate these cardholders by allowing them to
forego traditional lines to get on rides or visit other park
October 2013, Disney replaced Guest Assistance Cards with
Disability Access Service (“DAS”) cards. It is
not clear from the Complaint what guests were required to do
to obtain GACs before October 2013, but to obtain a DAS card
thereafter, guests were required to report to Guest Relations
to have a photograph taken. Plaintiffs contend that including
this added wait time with Guest Relations to the wait times
they would have to endure in the regular lines at park
attractions necessarily resulted in lengthier wait times in
the aggregate for disabled guests than for non-disabled
guests. (Id. at ¶ 23.) As Plaintiffs calculate,
“[i]f a disabled person waits one hour at Guest
Relations to obtain the DAS card, then complies with the DAS
and rides one ride which has a one-hour wait time, the
disabled person's wait time is two hours, while the
non-disabled person's wait time is only one hour.”
Johnny Galvan has a diagnosed anxiety disorder and back
disability, which prevent him from “waiting or biding
time without cognitive and visible goal impairments
occurring.” He and his wife, Plaintiff Sandy Mumma,
visited Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in January, April,
and May 2015. Plaintiffs contend they were “forced to
leave the park” because they were not allowed “to
get a pass to go through the entrance line of the ride at the
exit” (which it appears, though it is unclear from the
Complaint, they were permitted to do with GACs), and because
Galvan was unable to wait in line. (Id. at ¶
Stavros Patsalos, who suffers from cerebral palsy, and during
the time of his visit to Walt Disney Park in March, 2015, he
was also recovering from knee surgery and therefore was
“incapable of waiting in line for an extended period of
time.” (Id. at ¶ 27.) In his previous
experience at the park, Patsalos was able to get a pass to go
to the front of the lines for rides or get appointments to be
able to get on a particular ride at a particular time to
avoid wait times. During his visit in 2015, Patsalos was not
afforded these accommodations and “left the
park.” (Id.) All three Plaintiffs claim they
suffered emotional distress as a result of the treatment they
received at Disney parks. (Id. at ¶¶ 31,
result, Plaintiffs allege claims for violations of
California's Unruh Civil Rights Act and negligent and
intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Id.
at ¶¶ 24-39.)
courts of limited jurisdiction, federal courts have subject
matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the
Constitution and Congress. See, e.g., Kokkonen v.
Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994).
A suit filed in state court may be removed to federal court
if the federal court would have had original jurisdiction
over the suit. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). A removed action
must be remanded to state court if the federal court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
28 U.S.C. § 1441, a defendant may remove an action from
state court to federal court on the basis of diversity
jurisdiction if “none of the parties in interest
properly joined and served as defendants is a citizen of the
State in which such action is brought.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441. Diversity jurisdiction requires that the parties
be in complete diversity and the amount in controversy exceed
$75, 000. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
amount in controversy is the total “amount at stake in
the underlying litigation.” Theis Research, Inc. v.
Brown & Bain, 400 F.3d 659, 662 (9th Cir. 2005).
“[I]n assessing the amount in controversy, a court must
‘assume that the allegations of the complaint are true
and assume that a jury will return a verdict for the
plaintiff on all claims made in the complaint.'”
Campbell v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 471 Fed.App'x
646, 648 ...