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Brooke v. AJU Hotel Silicon Valley LLC

United States District Court, N.D. California

December 23, 2019

THERESA BROOKE, Plaintiff,
v.
AJU HOTEL SILICON VALLEY LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT; ORDER CONSOLIDATING CASE. RE: DKT. NO. 12

          SUSAN VAN KEULEN United States Magistrate Judge.

         In this case, Plaintiff Theresa Brooke alleges that Defendant AJU Hotel Silicon Valley LLC, which owns and/or operates the Westin San Jose hotel, violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the California Unruh Civil Rights Act because the hotel does not offer an ADA accessible room corresponding to each non-accessible room type it offers. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that the Westin San Jose does not offer accessible “Penthouse Suite, ” “Palm Suite, ” or “Saint Claire Suite” rooms even though it offers a non-accessible suites in those categories. Dkt.1 (Complaint) ¶ 4. Defendant now seeks to dismiss the complaint. Dkt. 12. Defendant argues that the complaint in this case violates the anti-claim splitting doctrine because it is duplicative of an earlier-filed related case, Brooke v. AJU Hotel Silicon Valley LLC, N.D. Cal. Case No. 5:19-cv-00411-SVK (“the ‘411 case”). Id. Defendant also argues that the complaint should be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Dkt. 12. The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge. Dkt. 10, 13.

         Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b), the Court deems this matter suitable for determination without oral argument. After considering the parties' submissions, the case file, and relevant law, the Court DENIES Defendant's motion to dismiss the ADA claim, GRANTS WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND Defendant's motion to dismiss the Unruh Act claim, consolidates this case with the ‘411 case, and directs the parties to take additional steps as described below.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On January 23, 2019, Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant in the ‘411 case, alleging that the Westin San Jose hotel, which is owned and/or operated by Defendant, violates the ADA because the hotel allegedly does not offer an accessible “studio king” room even though it offers non-accessible “studio king” rooms. ‘411 Dkt. 1; see also ‘411, Dkt. 7 (first amended complaint (“FAC”)). Plaintiff also seeks relief under the Unruh Act in that case. Id. On May 20, 2019, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the FAC in the ‘411 case. ‘411 Dkt. 18. The Court held a hearing on that motion on August 27, 2019, and issued an order granting the motion to dismiss in part on September 5, 2019. ‘411 Dkt. 36, 42. Following the Court's September 5, 2019, Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint (“SAC”) in the ‘411 case, and Defendant moved to dismiss the SAC. ‘411 Dkt. 43, 46.

         Between the time of the hearing on Defendant's motion to dismiss the FAC in the ‘411 case and issuance of the order on that motion, Plaintiff filed the complaint in this case (the “‘5559 case”). Dkt. 1. The complaint in this case asserts causes of action under the ADA and the Unruh Act stemming from Defendant's alleged failure to offer an accessible “Penthouse Suite, ” “Palm Suite, ” or “Saint Claire Suite” at the Westin San Jose, even though Defendant offers non-accessible suites in those categories. Id. ¶ 4. On October 16, 2019, the Court issued an order relating this case to the ‘411 case. Dkt. 8.

         Now before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint in this case. Dkt. 12. Defendant argues that (1) this action should be dismissed on the grounds of improper claim splitting; and (2) the ADA and Unruh Act claims should be dismissed for lack of standing or failure to state a claim. Id.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. ADA and Unruh Act claims

         Defendant states that the claims in this case and the ‘411 case are identical other than the type of hotel room at issue and the date of Plaintiff's alleged access to Defendant's website. Dkt. 12-1 at 5-6. Accordingly, Defendant “relies on and incorporates by reference” its motion to dismiss the SAC in the ‘411 case. Id. at 6. For the same reasons articulated in the order on that motion (‘411 Dkt. 53), Defendant's motion to dismiss the ADA claim in this case is DENIED and Defendant's motion to dismiss the Unruh Act claim in this case is GRANTED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

         B. Claim splitting

         Defendant states that “Plaintiff can and should have litigated her entire dispute with Defendant in a single case” and requests that the Court dismiss this case on the grounds of claim splitting. Dkt. 12-1 at 5. Plaintiff opposes Defendant's claim splitting argument. Dkt. 19. In her SAC in the ‘411 case, Plaintiff states that she “does not object to the consolidation of both cases.” ‘411 Dkt. 43 ¶ 11.

         Considering the posture of both cases and the parties' apparent agreement that the cases involve common questions of fact and law, the Court finds that consolidation of this case with the ‘411 case is appropriate. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 42(a).

         III. ...


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