Alejandro Diaz v. Jesus Gutierrez Jr et al

Filing 16

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS MOTIONS TO DISMISS 8 , 10 by Judge Otis D. Wright, II . (lc). Modified on 1/14/2014 .(lc).

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O 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 13 14 15 ALEJANDRO DIAZ , v. Case No. 2:13-cv-08023-ODW(RZx) Plaintiff, ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS TO DISMISS [8, 10] JESUS GUTIERREZ, JESSICA ANDJELKOVIC, JUAN IGNACIO GARCIA, and DOES 1-10, Defendants. 16 17 I. INTRODUCTION 18 Plaintiff Alejandro Diaz filed the Complaint on October 30, 2013, alleging 19 violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and associated state law claims. 20 (ECF No.1.) Plaintiff alleges that he is disabled, requiring a wheelchair for mobility, 21 and that on August 13, 2013, he was unable to access a 99 Cent Store in Los Angeles, 22 California, because it had no wheelchair ramp. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 12–16.) Defendants 23 Jesus Gutierrez and Jessica Andjelkovic are allegedly the owners of the property 24 where the store is located. (Id. ¶¶ 4–5.) Defendant Juan Ignacio Garcia is allegedly 25 the owner of the store. (Id. ¶ 3.) Before the Court are two nearly identical Motions to 26 Dismiss—the first was filed by Garcia on November 26, 2013 and the second was 27 filed by Gutierrez and Andjelkovic on December 6, 2013. (ECF Nos. 8, 10.) All of 28 the Defendants are proceeding pro se. Having carefully considered the papers filed in 1 support of and in opposition to the instant Motion, the Court deems the matter 2 appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; L.R. 7-15. For the 3 reasons set forth below, the Court hereby DENIES both Motions to Dismiss. 4 II. DISCUSSION 5 Defendants raise a handful of arguments in their Motions. First, Defendants 6 contend that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 7 12(b)(6). Defendants support this argument by stating that the factual allegations in 8 the Complaint are untrue—specifically that Plaintiff never visited the 99 Cent Store. 9 (See Garcia Decl. 2:8–17; Gutierrez Decl. 4:14–20.) Defendants also appear to 10 question this Court’s subject-matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1). Finally, 11 Defendants point out that Plaintiff has filed several similar cases, which they argue are 12 all fraudulent. (Garcia Decl. 2:21–3:5; Gutierrez Decl. 3:22–4:7.) 13 Since subject-matter jurisdiction is required in order for this Court to proceed, 14 the Court addresses this argument first. The Complaint asserts four claims, including 15 a violation of the ADA. The ADA is a federal law, which meets the requirements of 16 federal-question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The Court has supplemental 17 jurisdiction over “all other claims that are so related to claims in the action within 18 such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy . . . .” 28 19 U.S.C. § 1367. The three other claims in this action are all related to the alleged ADA 20 violations. The claims for violations of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act and 21 Disabled Persons Act are premised on a violation of the ADA. Plaintiff’s negligence 22 claim is based on the same underlying facts that are allegedly a violation of the ADA, 23 that Defendants failed to put a handicap access ramp at the entrance of the 99 Cent 24 Store. Accordingly, the Court has subject-matter jurisdiction over this action. 25 Defendants’ arguments that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim under Rule 26 12(b)(6) are also unavailing. A court may dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) 27 for lack of a cognizable legal theory or insufficient facts pleaded to support an 28 otherwise cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 2 1 699 (9th Cir. 1990). But to survive a dismissal motion, a complaint need only satisfy 2 the minimal notice pleading requirements of Rule 8(a)(2)—a short and plain statement 3 of the claim. Porter v. Jones, 319 F.3d 483, 494 (9th Cir. 2003). Moreover, a court is 4 generally limited to the pleadings and must construe all “factual allegations set forth 5 in the complaint . . . as true and . . . in the light most favorable” to the plaintiff. Lee v. 6 City of L.A., 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir. 2001). 7 Here, Defendants base their arguments for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) on 8 facts not contained in the Complaint or any other pleading. But the Court does not 9 have the power to consider facts beyond the pleadings. Instead, the Court must accept 10 factual allegations in the Complaint as true. Id. In addition, the Court finds that 11 Plaintiff has met the notice pleading standard under Rule 8(a)(2). The Complaint 12 contains allegations of when and where the alleged ADA violations occurred and what 13 is allegedly in violation. (See e.g., Compl. ¶¶ 1, 12–16.) This is sufficient to survive 14 the present Motions to Dismiss. 15 As to Defendants’ final grounds for dismissal, the Court is aware that Plaintiff 16 is a frequent visitor to the Central District of California.1 Nevertheless, Defendants’ 17 contention that this case is fraudulent because Plaintiff has filed several similar 18 lawsuits is unsupported at this time. Plaintiff and his counsel are subject to the 19 requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11, which means that the Complaint 20 in this case was necessarily filed in good faith and without an improper purpose. The 21 fact that Plaintiff has filed other lawsuits does not alone demonstrate a fraud on this 22 Court. III. 23 For the reasons discussed above, Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss are 24 25 CONCLUSION DENIED. (ECF Nos. 8, 10.) 26 1 27 28 As of this date, Plaintiff has the following cases pending in the Central District of California: 2:13cv-7575-RSWL (AJWx); 2:13-cv-7636-RGK (JCx); 2:13-cv-8021-GW (MRWx); 2:13-cv-8022FMO (MRWx); 2:13-cv-8023-ODW (RZx); 2:13-cv-8057-FMO (CWx); and 8:13-cv-1614-CJC (JPRx). 3 1 Finally, Defendants are advised that a Federal Pro Se Clinic is located in the 2 United States Courthouse at 312 N. Spring Street, Room 525, Fifth Floor, Los 3 Angeles, California 90012. 4 Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. 5 The Federal Pro Se Clinic offers free, on-site information and guidance to individuals 6 who are representing themselves in federal civil actions. 7 Defendants may visit and follow the link for “Pro Se 8 Clinic – Los Angeles” or contact Public Counsel at 213-385-2977, extension 270. 9 Defendants are encouraged to visit the clinic, or seek the advice of an attorney, as this 10 The clinic is open for appointments on Mondays, For more information, case proceeds. 11 12 13 IT IS SO ORDERED. 14 15 January 14, 2014 16 17 18 ____________________________________ OTIS D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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