United States District Court, E.D. California
L. NUNLEY DISTRICT JUDGE
a lawsuit alleging discrimination in violation of the
Americans with Disabilities Act, (“ADA”), 42
U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq., and its state-law
counterpart, the Unruh Civil Rights Act (“Unruh
Act”), Cal. Civ. Code § 51. The matter is before
the Court on Plaintiff Francis Mahon's
(“Plaintiff”) Motion for Preliminary Injunction.
(ECF No. 13.) Defendant Morton Golf, LLC
(“Defendant”) opposes the motion. (ECF No. 14.)
The Court has carefully considered the parties'
arguments. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's
motion is hereby DENIED.
is a recreational golfer in his late eighties. He suffers from
idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a medical condition that
affects his respiratory and cardiovascular systems. As a
result of his condition, Plaintiff cannot walk long
distances: he must use an oxygen tank and a power-driven
mobility device (a scooter). In spite of his condition,
Plaintiff is an avid golfer.
operates several golf courses in the Sacramento area. In
October of 2013, Plaintiff played golf on one of
Defendant's courses. Plaintiff was using his scooter in
lieu of a golf cart, but his scooter had not been fully
charged and it ran out of battery on the course.
Subsequently, Defendant prohibited Plaintiff from using his
scooter as a substitute for a golf cart. Defendant offered
Plaintiff the free use of Defendant's golf carts as a
courtesy and an accommodation, but withdrew the offer
sometime in the spring of 2014.
brought this lawsuit in November of 2014. (See
Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1 at 2:2-4.) He alleges that
Defendant's refusal to accommodate his scooter violates
the ADA and the Unruh Act. Roughly twenty months after filing
this lawsuit, Plaintiff brought the instant motion for a
preliminary injunction. He seeks a court order forcing
Defendant to allow Plaintiff to his use scooter in lieu of a
golf cart while this case is pending.
preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary remedy that
may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the plaintiff
is entitled to such relief.” Winter v. Nat. Res.
Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 22 (2008). “A
plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish
that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely
to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary
relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and
that an injunction is in the public interest.”
Id. at 20.
motion has two fatal defects. First, it does not show that
Plaintiff is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence
of a preliminary injunction. Second, it does not address
whether a preliminary injunction is in the public interest.
Because Plaintiff has not made “a showing on all four
prongs” of Winter, a preliminary injunction is
not justified here. All. for the Wild Rockies v.
Cottrell, 632 F.3d 1127, 1135 (9th Cir. 2011). The Court
need not assess the merits or balance the equities.
Likelihood of Irreparable Harm
must show that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm if a
preliminary injunction does not issue. He cannot make that
showing for two reasons.
Plaintiff's complained-of injury is purely economic, and
“economic injury alone does not support a finding of
irreparable harm, because such injury can be remedied by a
damage award.” Rent-A-Center, Inc. v. Canyon
Television & Appliance Rental, Inc., 944 F.2d 597,
603 (9th Cir. 1991). Here, Plaintiff is able to operate a
golf cart and enjoy the game of golf without using his
scooter. (Bettencourt Decl. Ex. 1 (“Mahon Dep.”),
ECF No. 17-1 at 75:4-12.)Plaintiff understandably prefers his
scooter to a golf cart because the scooter is free. (Mahon
Dep., ECF No. 17-1 at 75:10-12.) However, assuming Plaintiff
prevails in this lawsuit, he will be entitled to damages
under the Unruh Act, Molski v. M.J. Cable, Inc., 481
F.3d 724, 731 (9th Cir. 2007), and the amount he spends on
golf cart rentals will be readily ascertainable. Plaintiff
contends that his injury is not purely economic because he is
harmed by his loss of “personal satisfaction and
joy.” (Reply, ECF No. 18 at 8:11-9:2.) But nothing
suggests that Plaintiff enjoys golf with a golf cart any less
than he enjoys golf with his scooter-he simply dislikes
paying for the golf cart. If he eventually prevails, damages
can make him whole again.
the tardiness of Plaintiff's motion undermines his claim
of irreparable injury. A “long delay before seeking a
preliminary injunction implies a lack of urgency and
irreparable harm.” Oakland Tribune, Inc. v.
Chronicle Pub. Co., Inc., 762 F.2d 1374, 1377 (9th Cir.
1985). Plaintiff waited nearly twenty months after filing his
complaint before seeking a preliminary injunction. Although
delay, standing alone, is not a dispositive factor, Arc ...