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Hart v. Kennedy

United States District Court, D. Arizona

August 9, 2019

Sandra Hart, Plaintiff,
v.
Kathie Sprague Kennedy, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          G. Murray Snow, Chief United States District Judge.

         Pending before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss of Defendants Kathie Sprague Kennedy and Interstate 40 Grand Canyon RV Park (“Kennedy”) (Doc. 15). For the following reasons the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         BACKGROUND

         In July 2017, Plaintiff Sandra Hart was on a cross-country road trip with her husband. Hart suffers from multiple sclerosis and is confined to a wheelchair. The couple stopped for the night in Ashfork, Arizona, and stayed at the Interstate 40 Grand Canyon RV Park owned by Kathie Kennedy. During their stay, Hart, with her husband, attempted to use the women's showering facilities. Since the shower stall had no seat, Mr. Hart positioned Hart on a borrowed chair and went to insert money into the coin-operated machine that controlled the showers. The shower turned on, and immediately began to spray scalding water on Hart. She was unable to turn off the showerhead herself because the water control knobs were too high for Hart to reach, and she was unable to move herself out of the scalding water because the shower stall had no accessibility equipment.

         Hart called for help from her husband, who tried to turn up the shower's cold water. Hot water continued to pour from the showerhead. Eventually Mr. Hart got the shower turned off. As a result of the incident, Hart suffered second-degree burns. She then brought this action, alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Arizonans with Disabilities Act (“AZDA”). Hart also brought state law claims of negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. She seeks injunctive relief under the ADA and AZDA, and money damages for the state law claims. (Doc. 1 at 8-9.) Kennedy moves to dismiss Hart's complaint, arguing that Hart lacks standing. But Kennedy's motion only contains arguments regarding Hart's ADA claim for injunctive relief, so the Court considers only that claim.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Legal Standards

         Motions to dismiss for lack of Article III standing are properly brought under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). Maya v. Centex Corp., 658 F.3d 1060, 1066 (9th Cir. 2011). “Each element of standing ‘must be supported with the manner and degree of evidence required at the successive stages of the litigation.” Id. at 1068 (alterations omitted) (quoting Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992)). “For purposes of ruling on a motion to dismiss for want of standing, both the trial and reviewing courts must accept as true all material allegations of the complaint and must construe the complaint in favor of the complaining party.” Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 501 (1975).

         II. Discussion

         A. Standards

         Article III standing is a constitutional limitation on a court's subject matter jurisdiction and cannot be granted by statute. See Cetacean Cmty. v. Bush, 386 F.3d 1169, 1174 (9th Cir. 2004) (citing Lujan, 504 U.S. at 576-77). Because standing is a jurisdictional question, it is properly addressed in a Rule 12(b)(1) motion instead of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Cetacean Cmty., 386 F.3d at 1174. “[T]he jurisdictional question of standing precedes, and does not require, analysis of the merits.” Maya, 658 F.3d at 1068 (quoting Equity Lifestyle Props., Inc. v. Cnty. of San Luis Obispo, 548 F.3d 1184, 1189 n.10 (9th Cir. 2008)). But “[t]his is not to say that [a] plaintiff may rely on a bare legal conclusion to assert injury-in-fact, or engage in an ingenious academic exercise in the conceivable to explain how defendants' actions caused [her] injury.” Id.

         “[T]o satisfy Article III's standing requirements, a plaintiff must show (1) it has suffered an ‘injury in fact' that is (a) concrete and particularized and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant; and (3) it is likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision.” Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Envtl. Servs., Inc., 528 U.S. 167, 180-81 (2000) (citing Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560-61). To bring a claim for injunctive relief-the only relief available to a private plaintiff under the ADA-a plaintiff must additionally demonstrate “real and immediate threat of repeated injury in the future.” Chapman v. Pier 1 Imports (U.S.) Inc., 631 F.3d 939, 946 (9th Cir. 2011) (en banc). Courts are to “take a broad view of constitutional standing in civil rights cases, especially where, as under the ADA, private enforcement suits are the primary method of obtaining compliance with the act.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Doran v. 7-Eleven, Inc., 524 F.3d 1034, 1039 (9th Cir. 2008)).

         B. Analysis

         Kennedy does not challenge either causation or redressability for Hart's ADA claim.[1] The Court therefore addresses only injury-in-fact, specifically whether Hart has ‚Äúdemonstrated a likelihood of ...


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