United States District Court, D. Arizona
Advocates for American Disabled Individuals LLC, et al., Plaintiffs,
Price Company, Defendant.
Honorable G. Murray Snow, United States District Judge
September 1, 2016, this Court issued an Order for the
Plaintiffs to Show Cause as to why this case should not be
dismissed for lack of standing. (Doc. 20.) For the following
reasons, the Court remands the case to state court.
Price Company (“Costco”) had signs noting which
handicapped parking spots were “van accessible.”
(Doc. 23 at 2.) However, these signs were posted lower than
60 inches above the ground. (Doc. 22 at 2.) Therefore, the
signs were not in compliance with the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”). (Id.) The
Plaintiffs claim that the lower signage made it more
difficult to identify which parking spots were van
accessible. (Id.) On September 14, Costco replaced
the defective signs with signs located more than 60 inches
off of the ground. (Doc. 23 at 10.)
Advocates for American Disabled Individuals
(“Advocates”) does not make any allegations in
the complaint regarding the nature of its interest in this
proceeding. (Doc. 1.) In Plaintiff's Response to the
Order to Show Cause, Advocates alleges that it has
“several members/principals who are disabled
individuals with mobility impairments, ” including Ms.
Shannon Puckett and Mr. David Ritzenthaler. (Doc. 22 at 1-2.)
However, Advocates has yet to allege facts supporting the
assertion that either Ms. Shannon Puckett or Mr. David
Ritzenthaler qualifies as a member of its organization. (Doc.
1-2, Doc. 22.)
David Ritzenthaler is a legally disabled individual with a
state issued handicapped license plate. (Doc. 1-2 at 3.) Mr.
Ritzenthaler does not allege that he ever visited the
Defendant's parking lot. (Doc. 1-2.) Rather, he alleges
that he “became aware” that its parking lot
signage violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
requirements. (Doc. 1-2 at 1.) Likewise, Ms. Shannon Puckett
alleges that at some point before September 8, 2016, she was
informed that Costco's signage was defective. (Doc. 22-1
at 12.) It is unclear whether Ms. Puckett ever personally
encountered the defective signage. There is a photograph of a
receipt from a visit to the Defendant's store attached as
an exhibit to the Plaintiff's Reply in Support of the
Response to the Order to Show Cause. (Doc. 24-1 at 2.)
However, the photograph of the receipt is not accompanied by
any information that verifies that it belongs to Ms. Puckett
or that the signs were defective at the time of the trip.
(Id.) It is photographed in front of her statement
claiming that “she has been informed” of
defective signage at the Defendant's parking lot.
Plaintiffs' complaint follows the same format as
countless other claims filed by the Plaintiffs' counsel,
Mr. Peter Strojnik. There are no specific fact allegations
regarding the Defendant's signs in the complaint itself.
(Doc. 1-2 at 16.) The vague nature of the complaint led the
court to issue an Order to Show Cause as to why the complaint
should not be dismissed for lack of standing, as no injury to
the Plaintiffs is apparent on the face of the complaint.
The Plaintiff Does Not Have Standing to Pursue this
invoke the jurisdiction of the federal courts, a disabled
individual claiming discrimination must satisfy the case or
controversy requirement of Article III by demonstrating his
standing to sue at each stage of litigation.”
Chapman v. Pier 1 Imports (U.S.) Inc., 631 F.3d 939,
946 (9th Cir. 2011) (en banc). After reviewing
Plaintiff's response to the Order to Show Cause, hearing
oral arguments, and reviewing the supplemental briefings, the
Court concludes that neither Advocates nor Mr. Ritzenthaler
has standing to pursue this suit.
assert standing under Article III, a plaintiff must
illustrate three elements: 1) an injury-in-fact, 2) causation
between the injury and the allegedly wrongful conduct, and 3)
the injury is likely redressable by the court. Lujan v.
Defs. of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560- 561 (1992). The
burden is on the plaintiff to establish that standing exists.
See Id. at 561 (“The party invoking federal
jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing these
David Ritzenthaler Cannot Pursue this Suit Because He Did Not
Suffer an Injury-in-Fact.
injury-in-fact must be “(a) concrete and particularized
and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or
hypothetical.” Lujan, 504 U.S at 560 (internal
citations and quotations omitted). To show particularity, the
“party seeking review must allege facts showing that he
is himself adversely affected.” Sierra Club v.
Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 740 (1972). To be concrete, an
injury must be “real, and not abstract.”
Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540, 1549 (2016)
(internal quotations and citations omitted).
provides a means for disabled individuals to vindicate their
right to frequent a business with “the full and equal
enjoyment” of its facilities. 42 U.S.C. §
12182(a). The statute provides that if an individual is
denied that right, he is entitled to injunctive relief. 42
U.S.C. § 12188(a). However, “Article III