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Love v. Garcia

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 5, 2017

SAMUEL LOVE Plaintiff,
v.
JESUS GARCIA and FAVIOLA GARCIA Defendants.

          FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

          CHRISTINA A. SNYDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On September 29, 2015, plaintiff Samuel Love filed a complaint against Jesus Garcia, Faviola I. Garcia, and Does 1-10 (collectively “defendants”) asserting claims for violations of (1) the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq. (“ADA”) and (2) California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, California Civil Code §§ 51 et seq. (“Unruh Act”). Dkt. 1 (“Compl.”). The gravamen of plaintiff's complaint is that he visited defendants' business in both November 2013 and September 2015. During each visit, plaintiff alleges he was deterred from parking his vehicle and entering defendants' store because of barriers he encountered in defendants' parking lot.

         On September 26, 2016, the Court concluded that defendants' business was, as of that date, ADA-compliant. Dkt. 34. Because the only remedy available pursuant to the ADA is injunctive relief, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants with respect to plaintiff's ADA claim, but exercised supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's Unruh Act claim. Id.

         The case proceeded to a bench trial on April 4, 2017. Although plaintiff's complaint alleged disability discrimination in both November 2013 and September 2015, Compl. ¶ 9, on the morning of trial, plaintiff elected to proceed only on the alleged November 2013 violation of the Unruh Act. The Court heard testimony from plaintiff, J. Garcia, and Jason James, a certified access specialist. The Court also heard argument from counsel. After considering the parties' arguments and the evidence introduced at trial, the Court finds and concludes as follows.

         II. FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. Samuel Love is a disabled man who cannot ambulate without a wheelchair. April 4, 2017 Transcript (“TR”) at 12:15-19.

         2. Jesus Garcia and Faviola Garcia are, and were at all relevant times, the owners and operators of “Chuy's Market, ” a convenience store located at 9878 Mission Boulevard in Riverside, California. Id. 35:18-25.

         3. In November 2013, Love traveled from his home in Beaumont, California, to a residence in Riverside, California in order to purchase a vehicle part for a Jeep. Id. 24:8-25.

         4. After buying a Jeep part from a residence nearby, while traveling eastbound on Mission Boulevard, Love turned left onto the side street adjacent to Chuy's Market and then turned right into the Chuy's Market parking lot - intending to visit Chuy's Market. Id. 26:3-14.

         5. After turning into the parking lot outside Chuy's Market, Love noticed that there were no parking spaces marked for the handicapped. Id. 13:17-25.

         6. In November 2013, the parking lot outside Chuy's Market had no parking lines drawn on the pavement - it was a bare concrete lot running along the storefront and around the western wall of the building. Id. 14:17-15:18, Plaintiff's Exhibits 1-D & 1-E.

         7. Love looked at the entire parking lot and could not identify any marked spaces for the disabled. Id. 13:20-23.

         8. The lack of marked parking spaces for the handicapped caused Love some difficulty because he feared parking in a space that was not marked. Id. 13:16-17; 14:1-4. Because Love relies upon a wheelchair to ambulate, he requires additional ...


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