United States District Court, E.D. California
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MORRISON C. ENGLAND, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
lawsuit was brought by Plaintiff Scott Johnson
("Plaintiff') under the provisions of both the
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §
12101, et seq. ("ADA"), and California's Unruh
Civil Rights and Disabled Persons Acts, Cal. Civ. Code
§§ 51-53, 54-54.8, ("Unruh Act") on
grounds that SmarTek, a now-closed store previously located
at 5050 Fruitridge Road, Sacramento, CA (the
"Property"), contained impermissible barriers to
access. Defendant Omar Ghaith ("Ghaith") was the
owner of SmarTek at the time this action was filed, and
SmarTek operated on real property owned by Defendant Azizur
before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Summary
Judgment, which contends that Plaintiff is entitled as a
matter of law to statutory penalties against Defendants under
the Unruh Act in the amount of $8, 000.00, as well as
injunctive relief requiring that Rehman provide accessible
parking at the Property. As set forth below, Plaintiff's
Motion (ECF No. 43) is GRANTED.
cannot walk, uses a wheelchair for mobility, and has
significant manual dexterity impairments. Defs.' Sep.
Stmt. of Undisputed Facts (“SUF”), ECF No. 45-1,
¶ 1. He also uses a specially equipped van with
a lift. Id. at ¶ 2. Ghaith owned/operated the
SmarTek retail business, and Rehman has owned the building
that housed SmarTek since 2012. Id. at ¶¶
5, 6. Plaintiff visited SmarTek on several occasions,
including on dates in January, February, and March 2014.
Id. at ¶¶ 7, 21. On those visits, he
encountered barriers that made SmarTek inaccessible to
wheelchair users. Such barriers included lack of ADA
compliant parking (to include van parking), inaccessible door
hardware at SmarTek's entrance, and a lack of edge
protection for the curb ramp. Id. at ¶ 8, 14,
Plaintiff alleges that the Property did not supply a single
handicapped accessible parking spot for its patrons.
Id. at ¶ 8. Although one space appeared to have
faintly visible hatch marked striping, that space lacked a
marked access aisle. Id. at ¶¶ 9, 10.
Given his impairments, Plaintiff needs accessible parking
with an eight-foot access aisle and accompanying safety
lettering to safely deploy his lift and exit the van. SUF
¶ 11. In the absence of a space meeting these
requirements, Plaintiff claimed he had to park in a
non-accessible spot and leave the ramp to his vehicle
deployed so that he would be able to get back into the
vehicle upon his return. Id. at ¶¶ 12, 13.
In addition to the lack of an accessible parking, Plaintiff
claims he also had trouble navigating his wheelchair into
SmarTek because of the presence of a ramp without flared
sides along the path of travel, which proved difficult to
traverse in a wheelchair. Id. at ¶ 17. Finally,
Plaintiff alleges that SmarTek's door hardware had a
round knob which required tight grasping and twisting of the
wrist to operate, something that Plaintiff's manual
dexterity impairments make problematic. Id. at
¶¶ 14, 15, 16.
these barriers, Plaintiff was able to enter SmarTek and
conduct business therein, but he claims that the barriers
agitated him. Id. at ¶ 20. In later visits,
Plaintiff discovered that Defendants altered the parking lot
and door hardware to improve accessibility. Id. at
¶ 22. However, barriers remained, as a curb ramp
extended into the newly created access aisle of the van
accessible parking space, the access aisle lacked “NO
PARKING” lettering, signs reading “Minimum $250
Fine” or “Van Accessible” were not present,
and there was no sign with tow-away information within the
parking lot. Id. at ¶¶ 25, 26, 30, 32, 33.
filed this Complaint on June 18, 2014, asserting four causes
of action: (1) violations of the ADA, (2) violations of the
Unruh Act, (3) violations of the California Disabled Persons
Act ("DPA"), and (4) the California tort of
negligence. ECF No. 1. Defendants previously moved for
Summary Judgment on each of Plaintiff's claims. ECF Nos.
23, 26. In an August 2016 Order, the Court granted
Defendants' summary judgment on Plaintiff's Fourth
Cause of Action, but otherwise denied the motion. ECF No. 40.
Plaintiff now moves for summary judgment on his remaining
claims. ECF No. 43.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide for summary judgment
when "the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute
as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a);
see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322
(1986). One of the principal purposes of Rule 56 is to
dispose of factually unsupported claims or defenses.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325.
also allows a court to grant summary judgment on part of a
claim or defense, known as partial summary judgment.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) ("A party may move for
summary judgment, identifying each claim or defense-or the
part of each claim or defense-on which summary judgment is
sought."); see also Allstate Ins. Co. v. Madan,
889 F.Supp. 374, 378-79 (CD. Cal. 1995). The standard that
applies to a motion for partial summary judgment is the same
as that which applies to a motion for summary judgment.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); State of Cal. ex rel.
Cal. Dep't of Toxic Substances Control v. Campbell,
138 F.3d 772, 780 (9th Cir. 1998) (applying summary judgment
standard to motion for summary adjudication).
summary judgment motion, the moving party always bears the
initial responsibility of informing the court of the basis
for the motion and identifying the portions in the record
"which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine
issue of material fact." Celotex, 477 U.S. at
323. If the moving party meets its initial responsibility,
the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish
that a genuine issue as to any material fact actually does
exist. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986); First Nat'l
Bank v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 288-89 (1968).
attempting to establish the existence or non-existence of a
genuine factual dispute, the party must support its assertion
by "citing to particular parts of materials in the
record, including depositions, documents, electronically
stored information, affidavits[, ] or declarations ... or
other materials; or showing that the materials cited do not
establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or
that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to
support the fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). The opposing
party must demonstrate that the fact in contention is
material, i.e., a fact that might affect the outcome of the
suit under the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 251-52 (1986); Owens v.
Local No. 169. Assoc, of W. Pulp and Paper Workers, 971
F.2d 347, 355 (9th Cir. 1987). The opposing party must also
demonstrate that the dispute about a material fact "is
'genuine,' that is, if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In other
words, the judge needs to answer the preliminary question
before the evidence is left to the jury of "not whether
there is literally no evidence, but whether there is any upon
which a jury could properly proceed to find a verdict for the
party producing it, upon whom the onus of proof is
imposed." Anderson. 477 U.S. at 251 (quoting
Improvement Co. v. Munson. 81 U.S. 442, 448 (1871))
(emphasis in original). As the Supreme Court explained,
"[w]hen the moving party has carried its burden under
Rule [56(a)], its opponent must do more than simply show that
there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. Therefore,
"[w]here the record taken as a whole could not lead a
rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there
is no 'genuine issue for trial.'" Id.
resolving a summary judgment motion, the evidence of the
opposing party is to be believed, and all reasonable
inferences that may be drawn from the facts placed before the
court must be drawn in favor of the opposing party.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. Nevertheless, inferences
are not drawn out of the air, and it is the opposing
party's obligation to produce a factual predicate from
which the inference may be drawn. Ric ...