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White v. Wisco Restaurants, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

March 27, 2018

DOROTHY WHITE, Plaintiff,
v.
WISCO RESTAURANTS, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          Hon M. James Lorenz United States District Judge

         In this action alleging disabled access violations, Defendant Wisco Restaurants, Inc. filed a motion to dismiss for lack of standing and failure to state a claim, and requesting the Court to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims. The Court decides the matter on the papers submitted and without oral argument. See Civ. L. R. 7.1(d.1). For the reasons stated below, Defendant's motion is denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The action arises from Plaintiff's visit to Defendant's restaurant. She alleges that she had contracted polio and it is difficult for her to walk or stand. She uses a mobility equipped van and a manual wheelchair to travel in public. When she visited Defendant's restaurant, she encountered three barriers which interfered with her access. First, at least one disabled parking space had slopes and/or cross slopes that were too steep to transfer between a van and a wheelchair. Second, at least one of the van accessible parking spaces was too small to make the transfer. Finally, there was insufficient clear space under the lavatory to approach with a wheelchair close enough to wash hands. (Compl. at 3.)

         Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging violations of (1) the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101 et seq. (“ADA”); (2) the Unruh Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code §51 et seq. (“Unruh”); (3) the Disabled Persons Act, Cal. Civ. Code §54 et seq. (“DPA”); and California Health and Safety Code §19955 et seq. The Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1367(a).

         Defendant moves to dismiss the initial complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and (6) arguing that Plaintiff failed to sufficiently allege standing, the Court should exercise its discretion to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1367, and that Plaintiff failed to state a claim.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Standing

         Defendant contends this action should be dismissed because Plaintiff did not sufficiently allege standing. A federal court "may not decide a cause of action before resolving whether the court has Article III jurisdiction." RK Ventures, Inc. v. City of Seattle, 307 F.3d 1045, 1056 n.6. Federal jurisdiction under Article III depends on the existence of a case or controversy. SEC v. Med. Comm. for Human Rights, 404 U.S. 403, 407 (1972). Standing is required to establish a case or controversy. RK Ventures, 307 F.3d at 1056 n.6.

         Plaintiff has the burden of pleading standing:

[T]he plaintiff has the burden of proving jurisdiction in order to survive the motion. A plaintiff suing in a federal court must show in his pleading, affirmatively and distinctly, the existence of whatever is essential to federal jurisdiction, and, if he does not do so, the court, on having the defect called to its attention or on discovering the same, must dismiss the case, unless the defect be corrected by amendment.

Tosco Corp. v. Communities for a Better Env't, 236 F.3d 495, 499 (9th Cir. 2001)(internal citations and quotation marks omitted) abrogated on other grounds by Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 82-83 (2010).

         Article III “requires federal courts to satisfy themselves that the plaintiff has alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to warrant his [or her] invocation of federal-court jurisdiction.” Summers v. Earth Island Inst., 555 U.S. 488, 493 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted, emphasis in original).

[T]he "irreducible constitutional minimum" of standing consists of three elements. The plaintiff must have (1) suffered an injury in fact, (2) that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct of the defendant, and (3) that is ...

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