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Schoors v. Seaport Village Operating Co., LLC

United States District Court, S.D. California

May 5, 2017

RONALD SCHOORS, Plaintiff,
v.
SEAPORT VILLAGE OPERATING COMPANY, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company; INTERNATIONAL DESSERT AND COFFEE, LLC, a California Limited Liability Company; and DOES 1-10, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION

          Hon. Anthony J. Battaglia United States District Judge.

         The instant matter comes before the Court on Defendant International Dessert and Coffee, LLC's (“Defendant”) motion to dismiss Plaintiff Ronald Schoors's (“Plaintiff”) Complaint for lack of jurisdiction. (Doc. No. 6.) Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1.d.1, the Court finds this motion suitable for determination on the papers and without oral argument. With the issuance of this Order, Defendant's motion is DENIED.

         I. FACTS ALLEGED IN THE COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff is a California resident who suffers from a range of physical disabilities that include congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, recurring transient ischemic attacks, and left-side weakness from two strokes, one of which has left him with brain damage. (Doc. No. 1 ¶¶ 1, 2.) Due to his health issues, Plaintiff is significantly limited in his mobility and must use a cane to help him walk as he is unsteady on his feet, and is subject to black outs and falls. (Id. ¶ 3.)

         In November of 2016, Plaintiff went to Defendant's brick and mortar store located at 835 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego, California (the “Store”). (Id. ¶¶ 6, 12.) Plaintiff alleges that due to the way the shelves and merchandise were configured in the Store, the paths of travel throughout the aisles were not accessible to Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 15.) Specifically, Plaintiff contends that the route of travel in some parts of the store were less than thirty-six inches in width, with some paths of travel as narrow as twelve inches in width. (Id. ¶¶ 15-16.)

         Based on the Store's practice of placing merchandise in the walkway, Plaintiff argues that he was denied full and equal access to the Store, and that Defendant has failed to maintain in working and usable conditions features required to provide access to persons with disabilities. (Id. ¶¶ 17, 21.) Furthermore, Plaintiff asserts that the failure to remove the barriers was intentional because: (1) the particular barriers are intuitive and obvious; and (2) Defendant exercised control and dominion over the conditions at this location and the lack of accessible facilities was not an “accident.” (Id. ¶ 25.)

         Therefore, Plaintiff brings his Complaint alleging a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), and violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act (“Unruh Act”).[1] (Id. ¶¶ 26-35.) Plaintiff requests injunctive relief, damages under the Unruh Act, reasonable attorneys fees, and costs of suit. (Id. at 7-8.)

         Plaintiff instituted this action on December 25, 2016. (Doc. No. 1.) On March 20, 2017, Defendant filed the present motion, its motion to dismiss Plaintiff's state-law causes of action for lack of jurisdiction. (Doc. No. 6.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         “Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Accordingly, “[a] federal court is presumed to lack jurisdiction in a particular case unless the contrary affirmatively appears.” Stock W., Inc. v. Confederated Tribes, 873 F.2d 1221, 1225 (9th Cir. 1989). In civil cases, federal courts have subject matter jurisdiction over only those cases where either diversity jurisdiction or federal question jurisdiction exist. See Peralta v. Hispanic Bus., Inc., 419 F.3d 1064, 1068- 69 (9th Cir. 2005).

         The supplemental jurisdiction statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1367, grants federal courts supplemental jurisdiction over claims over which no original jurisdiction exists. Specifically, § 1367(a) grants supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims “that are so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy under Article III of the United States Constitution.” Id. The Supreme Court has illustrated that federal courts have supplemental jurisdiction over a state law claim where the state claim and the federal claim “derive from a common nucleus of operative fact, ” such that “the relationship between [the federal] claim and the state claim permits the conclusion that the entire action before the court comprises but one constitutional ‘case.'” See United Mine Workers of Am. v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 725 (1966); see also City of Chicago v. Int'l Coll. of Surgeons, 522 U.S. 156, 164-65 (1997).

         The Ninth Circuit mandates the exercise of supplemental jurisdiction unless it is prohibited by section 1367(b), or unless one of the exceptions in section 1367(c) applies. See Irwin v. Mascott, 96 F.Supp.2d 968, 974-75 (N.D. Cal. 1999). Thus, “unless a court properly invokes a § 1367(c) category in exercising its discretion to decline to entertain pendent claims, supplemental jurisdiction must be asserted.” Id. at 975.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Defendant argues that pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1367(c), there exists several reasons for this Court to decline to take supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's Unruh Act claim. (Doc. No. 6-1 at 6.) Plaintiff argues that as both of his causes of action involve identical facts, witnesses, evidence, and discovery, that there is no basis for ...


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