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Strojnik v. VY Verasa Commercial Co. LLC

United States District Court, N.D. California

November 12, 2019

PETER STROJNIK, Plaintiff,
v.
VY VERASA COMMERCIAL COMPANY LLC, et al., Defendants.

          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.

         Despite 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.

         BACKGROUND

         Stroknik 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.

         Strojnik 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 cases.” Id.

         The 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 inspection.[1] Id.

         Strojnik 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 the motion.

         On 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.

         After 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].

         LEGAL STANDARD

         General 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.

         General 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, ...


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