United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL JUDGMENT
AND DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO ENFORCE COMPLIANCE WITH
SCHEDULING ORDER Re: Dkt. Nos. 20, 24
William H. Orrick United States District Judge.
the Northern District of California's orders related to
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”)
litigation, before me are two motions filed by ADA plaintiff
Peter Strojnik. He brings suit against defendant VY Verasa
Commercial Company LLC dba the Westin Verasa Napa for
violations of the ADA, among other claims. Strojnik's
first motion seeks partial summary judgment, and the second
seeks an order requiring VY Verasa to comply with the
Scheduling Order for this case. The former motion runs afoul
of the Northern District's General Order 56 on ADA
litigation; the latter lacks merit because Strojnik is
equally at fault for the stalemate at which this case finds
itself. Accordingly, I deny both motions and order both sides
to get this case back on track.
describes himself as a disabled veteran and an ADA tester.
Complaint (“Compl.”) [Dkt. No. 1] ¶ 2, Add.
B. On May 13, 2019, Strojnik filed a pro se complaint against
VY Verasa. He asserts that he “is deterred from
visiting” the hotel based on his knowledge of its
noncompliance with the ADA. Compl. ¶ 12. The same day
the complaint was filed, the parties were ordered to comply
with the scheduling order for ADA cases. Dkt. No. 4.
also included as defendants the law firm Sheppard, Mullin,
Richter & Hampton, VY Verasa counsel Greg Hurley, and
Hurley's wife. On September 4, 2019 I dismissed with
prejudice the claims against Sheppard Mullin. Dkt. No. 19.
When resolving that motion, I wrote, “The parties are
admonished to comply with the Scheduling Order for ADA
following day, Hurley emailed Strojnik offering September 30
for the parties' joint site inspection. Declaration of
Greg Hurley ISO Oppo. Compliance Mot. (“Hurley Decl.
II”) Ex. A [Dkt. No. 26-2]. Strojnik agreed and wrote
that he would bring his own equipment to the
filed the pending motion for partial summary judgment on
September 13, 2019. Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
(“MSJ”) [Dkt. No. 20]. Hurley informed Strojnik
that his motion was noncompliant with General Order 56 and
requested that he withdraw it. Declaration of Greg Hurley ISO
Oppo. MSJ (“Hurley Decl. I”) [Dkt. No. 23-1] Ex.
A [Dkt. No. 23-2]. Strojnik neither responded nor withdrew
September 30, both Strojnik and Hurley appeared at the hotel
for the joint inspection. VY Verasa General Manager Don
Shindle was also present, although he did not come out to
meet Strojnik. See Hurley Decl. II ¶ 4;
Compliance Mot. 1-2. According to Hurley, Strojnik had no
tools with him, was unprepared for the inspection, and failed
to point out specific changes needed to the property, instead
only referring him to the Due Diligence Report filed with his
motion for partial summary judgment. Hurley Decl. II
¶¶ 6-7. According to Strojnik, Hurley was highly
unpleasant during their interaction. Compliance Mot. 2.
Strojnik left, and no inspection occurred.
the parties' failed site inspection, Strojnik filed a
motion to enforce compliance with the Scheduling Order.
Motion to Enforce Compliance (“Compliance Mot.”)
[Dkt. No. 24].
Order 56 governs ADA litigation in the Northern District of
California. It was adopted in 2005 to advance efficient and
effective litigation of ADA cases, and it has been amended
several times since then. The parties to an ADA access case
are obligated to conduct a joint site inspection as set forth
in paragraph 3:
No later than 105 days after filing the complaint, the
parties and their counsel, accompanied by their experts if
the parties so elect, shall meet in person at the subject
premises. . . . They shall jointly inspect the portions of
the subject premises, and shall review any programmatic or
policy issues, which are claimed to violate the Americans
with Disabilities Act.
Order No. 56 ¶ 3. Paragraph 4 further provides that at
the joint site inspection or within 28 days, the parties
“shall meet in person and confer regarding settlement
of the action.” Id. ¶ 4. General Order 56
stays discovery and proceedings other than those provided for
in the Order “unless the assigned judge orders
otherwise.” General Order 56 ¶ 2. But see
Johnson v. Otter, No. 18-CV-01689-BLF, 2019 WL 452040,
at *2 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 5, ...