Sam Benford v. Martin Garcia et al

Filing 10

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE WHY THE COURT SHOULD NOT DECLINE TO EXERCISE SUPPLEMENTAL JURISDICTION OVER PLAINTIFF'S STATE LAW CLAIMS by Judge Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong. Benford shall file a Response to this Order to Show Cause by no later than fourteen days from the date of this order. [SEE DOCUMENT FOR FURTHER INFORMATION.] (es)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 Plaintiff, 12 13 Case No.: 2:24-cv-04915-MEMF-JPR SAM BENFORD, v. 14 15 16 17 MARTIN GARCIA D/B/A GARCIAS MINI MARKET; CHANG K. HONG; and DOES 1 to 10, ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE WHY THE COURT SHOULD NOT DECLINE TO EXERCISE SUPPLEMENTAL JURISDICTION OVER PLAINTIFF’S STATE LAW CLAIMS Defendants. 18 19 On June 11, 2024, Plaintiff Sam Benford (“Benford”) filed a Complaint against Defendants 20 Martin Garcia D/B/A Garcias Mini Market, Chang K. Hong, and Does 1 to 10, asserting: (1) a claim 21 for injunctive relief arising out of an alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act 22 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12213; (2) a claim for damages pursuant to California’s Unruh Civil Rights 23 Act (“Unruh Act”), Cal. Civ. Code §§ 51–52, et seq.; (3) a claim for damages pursuant to the 24 California Disabled Persons Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 54, et seq.; (4) a claim for damages and injunctive 25 relief pursuant to the Cal. Health & Safety Code § 19955, et seq.; and (5) a claim for negligence. 26 ECF No. 1 (“Complaint” or “Compl.”). The Complaint alleges that this Court has jurisdiction over 27 the ADA claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343, and that the state law claims are brought 28 “pursuant to pendant [sic] jurisdiction.” Id. at ¶¶ 6–7. 1 1 The principles of pendent jurisdiction have been codified in the supplemental jurisdiction 2 statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1367. The supplemental jurisdiction statute “reflects the understanding that, 3 when deciding whether to exercise supplemental jurisdiction, ‘a federal court should consider and 4 weigh in each case, and at every stage of the litigation, the values of judicial economy, convenience, 5 fairness, and comity.’” City of Chicago v. Int’l Coll. of Surgeons, 522 U.S. 156, 173 (1997) 6 (emphasis added) (quoting Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, 484 U.S. 343, 350 (1988)). 7 California law sets forth a heightened pleading standard for a limited group of lawsuits 8 brought under the Unruh Act. See Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §§ 425.55(a)(2) & (3). The stricter pleading 9 standard requires certain plaintiffs bringing construction-access claims like the one in the instant 10 case to file a verified complaint alleging specific facts concerning the plaintiff’s claim, including the 11 specific barriers encountered or how the plaintiff was deterred and each date on which the plaintiff 12 encountered each barrier or was deterred. See Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.50(a). A “high-frequency 13 litigant fee” is also imposed on certain plaintiffs and law firms bringing these claims. See Cal. Gov’t 14 Code § 70616.5. A “high-frequency litigant” is “a plaintiff who has filed 10 or more complaints 15 alleging a construction-related accessibility violation within the 12-month period immediately 16 preceding the filing of the current complaint alleging a construction-related accessibility violation” 17 and “an attorney who has represented as attorney of record 10 or more high-frequency litigant 18 plaintiffs in actions that were resolved within the 12-month period immediately preceding the filing 19 of the current complaint alleging a construction-related accessibility violation.” Cal. Civ. Proc. Code 20 §§ 425.55(b)(1) & (2). High frequency litigants are also required to state: (1) whether the complaint 21 is filed by, or on behalf of, a high-frequency litigant; (2) in the case of a high-frequency litigant who 22 is a plaintiff, the number of complaints alleging construction-related accessibility claim filed by the 23 high-frequency litigant during the 12 months prior to filing the instant complaint; (3) the reason the 24 individual was in the geographic area of the defendant’s business; and (4) the reason why the 25 individual desired to access the defendant’s business.” See id. § 425.50(a)(4)(A). 26 27 In light of the foregoing, the Court orders Benford to show cause in writing why the Court should exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the Unruh Act claim, the California Disabled Persons 28 2 1 Act claim, the California Health and Safety Code claim, and the negligence claim. See 28 U.S.C. § 2 1367(c). In responding to this Order to Show Cause: 3 1. Benford shall identify the amount of statutory damages Plaintiff seeks to recover. 4 2. Benford and Benford’s counsel shall also support their responses to the Order to Show Cause 5 with declarations, signed under penalty of perjury, providing all facts necessary for the Court 6 to determine if they satisfy the definition of a “high-frequency litigant” as provided by 7 California Code of Civil Procedure sections 425.55(b)(1) & (2). This includes, but is not 8 limited to: 9 10 11 a. the number of construction-related accessibility claims filed by Plaintiff in the twelve months preceding the filing of the present claim; and b. the number of construction-related accessibility claims in which Plaintiff’s counsel 12 has represented high-frequency litigant plaintiffs in the twelve months preceding the 13 filing of the present claim. 14 Benford shall file a Response to this Order to Show Cause by no later than fourteen days 15 from the date of this order. The failure to timely or adequately respond to this Order to Show Cause 16 may, without further warning, result in the Court declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over 17 the Unruh Act claim, the California Disabled Persons Act claim, the California Health and Safety 18 Code claim, and the negligence claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c). 19 20 IT IS SO ORDERED. 21 22 23 Dated: July 8, 2024 ___________________________________ 24 MAAME EWUSI-MENSAH FRIMPONG 25 United States District Judge 26 27 28 3

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