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Barberi v. Luisi Dollar Discount Mini Market, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Miami Division

June 16, 2017




         I. BACKGROUND

         This case is a one-count Americans with Disabilities Act claim by Renzo Barberi against Luisi Dollar Discount Mini Market d/b/a Castillo Market and the lessor/owner of Castillo Market, Dimar and Brothers, LLC. Barberi is a paraplegic who visited the Market to purchase groceries, but was unable to successfully shop because of certain architectural boundaries allegedly violating various ADA provisions involving: accessible routes, disabled-person parking spaces, passenger loading zones, signage, self-serve merchandise aisles, steps, broken tiles and uneven surfaces, service counters, and service areas. Barberi alleges that removal of these discriminatory barriers is readily achievable and technically feasible. He lives in close proximity to the Market, is frequently in the area, and intends to return within the next six months to shop or to further investigate ADA compliance.

         Barberi alleges 12 total violations of the ADA [1] and seeks declaratory and injunctive relief. Defendants move to dismiss the complaint or, alternatively, move for a more definite statement. [2] Specifically, Defendants maintain that: (1) Barberi lacks standing; (2) the complaint is a form complaint that fails to plead any disability or architectural barriers encountered by Barberi; and (3) the Market is not governed by the ADA because it is not a place of public accommodation. This Court concludes that Barberi's complaint is sufficient, but grants leave to Defendants to reargue standing at summary judgment with the benefit of a more complete record.


         "A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain.. .a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief" Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). "To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). While detailed factual allegations are not required, the allegations must include "enough to raise a right to relief above the speculafive level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. A pleading must offer more than "labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of the cause of action." Id.

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Standing

         Defendants argue that Barberi does not have standing to bring his claim. At the motion to dismiss stage, the courts evaluate standing based on the facts alleged in the complaint. Shotz V. Gates, 256 F.3d 1077, 1081 (11th Cir. 2001). To establish standing, a plaintiff must satisfy three requirements: (1) injury-in-fact; (2) a causal connection between the injury and the challenged conduct; and (3) that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decisioa Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61 (1992).

         Proof of past discrimination in violation of the ADA satisfies the injury-in-fact requirement. Access Now, Inc. v. S. Fla. Stadium Corp., 161 F.Supp.2d 1357, 1364 (S.D. Fla. 2001). But, a plaintiff seeking injunctive relief in relation to future conduct also "must show a sufficient likelihood that he will be affected by the allegedly unlawful conduct in the future." Houston V. MarodSupermarkets, Inc., 733 F.3d 1323, 1328 (11th Cir. 2013). Said differently, in ADA cases, a plaintiff must establish pas/ discrimination ond future discrimination to satisfy injury-in-fact.[3] See Id. at 1329. The threat of future discrimination has to be "real and immediate-as opposed to merely conjectural or hypothetical." Id. (citing Shotz, 256 F.3d at 1081). Here, Defendants argue that Barberi does not adequately allege past discrimination or the threat of future discrimination.

         1. Barberi Sufficiently Alleges Past Discrimination

         Defendants argue that Barberi did not suffer an injury-in-fact because his purpose for entering the Market was to obtain evidence for one of his more than 300 ADA lawsuits filed as a "tester." Barberi responds that his motive for visiting the Market is irrelevant. The Eleventh Circuit has clearly held that a tester's motive for visiting a store does not negate injury-in-fact. Houston, 733 F.3d at 1334. Thus, Barberi's 300 lawsuits have no relation to his standing to bring this individual claim. Here, accepting all facts in the complaint as true, Barberi alleges that he is disabled and was denied full and equal treatment at the Market because he encountered discriminatory barriers. This is sufficient to show past discrimination.

         2. Barberi Sufficiently Alleges Threat of Future Discrimination at the Motion to Dismiss Stage

         Defendants argue that Barberi does not sufficiently allege that he will suffer future discrimination because his potential to return to the Market is speculative, and an injunction based on Barberi's spontaneous desire to visit the Market would be improper. In response, Barberi stands on his ...

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