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Gastelum v. Phoenix Central Hotel Venture, LLC

United States District Court, D. Arizona

February 7, 2019

Fernando Gastelum, Plaintiff,
v.
Phoenix Central Hotel Venture, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Douglas L. Rayes United States District Judge.

         Before the Court are Plaintiff Fernando Gastelum's motion for partial summary judgment (Doc. 33) and Defendant Phoenix Central Hotel Venture, LLC d/b/a Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Midtown's cross-motion for summary judgment (Doc. 39), which are fully briefed. Plaintiff's request for oral argument is denied because oral argument will not aid the Court's decision. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b); LRCiv. 7.2(f). For the following reasons, Plaintiff's motion is denied, and Defendant's motion is granted.

         I. Background

         In December 2017, Plaintiff reviewed a third-party lodging website to book an ambulatory and wheelchair accessible room at Defendant's hotel. (Doc. 10 ¶¶ 15, 26.) According to Plaintiff, this website “failed to disclose [] accessibility features in enough detail to reasonably permit [him] to assess independently whether Defendant's hotel and guest rooms [met] his accessibility needs.” (¶ 29.) Next, Plaintiff visited Defendant's first-party website, www.hilton.com, attempting to find the information that was not available on the third-party website. (¶ 30.) Also finding that the first-party website lacked enough detail on Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”) compliance, Plaintiff “called Defendant's hotel to inquire whether it was compliant with the ADA.” (¶¶ 31-35.) Defendant's reservation agent took Plaintiff's call, informing him that there was a handicap accessible room that was ADA compliant and that the room was available at the same price as regular rooms. The reservation agent also offered to take Plaintiff's reservation with no costs or penalty on cancellation. Plaintiff did not book a room.

         Plaintiff subsequently visited Defendant's hotel to verify in person whether the hotel was ADA compliant and suitable for his stay. Plaintiff, who has sued over a hundred hotels in and around the Phoenix area in the last two years, testified during a deposition (in another cases, alleging nearly identical ADA violations) that he would visit hotels with his son and his lawyer to engage in an inspection of the facilities, but that he personally almost never got out of the car. Plaintiff, or more likely his son or his attorney, discovered numerous areas where Defendant's hotel was allegedly out of compliance with the ADA. Because of these alleged deficiencies, Plaintiff elected not to stay at the hotel on December 4, 2017. Plaintiff also alleges that he “intends to book a room at the Defendant's hotel once Defendant has removed all accessibility barriers. . . .” (¶ 16.)

         On April 16, 2018, Plaintiff filed a motion seeking partial summary judgment on his ADA claims. On May 21, 2018, Defendant filed a cross-motion for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims.

         II. Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and, viewing those facts in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party, the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Summary judgment may also be entered “against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the case, and a dispute is genuine if a reasonable jury could find for the nonmoving party based on the competing evidence. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

         The party seeking summary judgment “bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of [the record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. The burden then shifts to the non-movant to establish the existence of a genuine and material factual dispute. Id. at 324. The non-movant “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, ” and instead “come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986) (internal quotation and citation omitted). Conclusory allegations, unsupported by factual material, are insufficient to defeat summary judgment. Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). If the non-movant's opposition fails to cite specifically to evidentiary materials, the court is not required to either search the entire record for evidence establishing a genuine issue of material fact or obtain the missing materials. See Carmen v. S.F. Unified Sch. Dist., 237 F.3d 1026, 1028-29 (9th Cir. 2001); Forsberg v. Pac. N.W. Bell Tel. Co., 840 F.2d 1409, 1417-18 (9th Cir. 1988).

         III. Discussion

         Plaintiff moves for partial summary judgment on whether Defendant's property and website violated the ADA. On cross-motion, Defendant asserts that Plaintiff lacks Article III standing to bring his ADA claims, and that the Court should decline supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims. The Court will first consider whether Plaintiff has standing because it “is the threshold issue of any federal action . . . .” Local Nos. 175 & 505 Pension Tr. v. Anchor Cap., 498 F.3d 920, 923 (9th Cir. 2007).

         A. Standing

         Litigants “who seek to invoke the jurisdiction of the federal courts must satisfy the threshold requirements imposed by Article III . . . by alleging an actual case or controversy.” City of L.A. v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 101 (1983). Three elements must be present for a plaintiff to have standing: (1) the plaintiff must have “suffered an injury in fact;” (2) there must be a “causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of;” and (3) it must be “likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision.” Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-561 (1992). Defendant argues that Plaintiff fails to satisfy all three elements, but its arguments with respect to the second and third elements are derivative of its argument that Plaintiff has not suffered an injury in fact.[1] The Court therefore limits its analysis to whether Plaintiff has suffered an injury in fact.

         An injury in fact must be: (a) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical, and (b) concrete and particularized. Additionally, where, as is the case here, a plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, there is an additional requirement of showing “a sufficient likelihood that [the plaintiff] will again be wronged in a similar way . . . [t]hat is, . . . a real and immediate threat of repeated injury.” Fo ...


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