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Kennedy v. Omega Gas & Oil, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

August 29, 2017

PATRICIA KENNEDY, Plaintiff,
v.
OMEGA GAS & OIL, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          ROBIN L. ROSENBERG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS CAUSE is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment at docket entry 38. Defendant has filed a “Response in Opposition and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment.” DE 45. The Court struck Defendant's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment as untimely because it was filed well after the deadline for dispositive motions. DE 49. The Court has considered Defendant's filing, however, as a response to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff has filed a Reply. DE 48. The Court has carefully considered these filings, the record, and is otherwise fully advised in the premises. Because there are genuine disputes of material fact in the record, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         As a result of a spinal injury caused by an automobile accident, Plaintiff Patricia Kennedy is mobility impaired, uses a wheelchair, and is disabled within the meaning of the American with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12181, et seq. (“ADA”). DE 39 at ¶ 1. Plaintiff considers herself to be a “tester”-she visits various places of public accommodation to assess compliance with the ADA. Id. at ¶ 3.

         On January 14, 2017, Plaintiff visited a Chevron service station owned and operated by Defendant Omega Gas & Oil, LLC. Id. at ¶¶ 4, 5. The property is located at 1974 South Congress Avenue, West Palm Beach, Florida. Id. On January 27, 2017, she filed this suit, alleging that she was denied access to the Chevron service station because of her disability and seeking injunctive relief pursuant to the ADA. See DE 1.

         The Complaint alleges Defendant is operating the Chevron service station in a discriminatory manner and identifies various ADA violations, including: an obstructed handicap parking space; an unsecured floor mat at the entranceway; restroom amenities mounted outside of acceptable reach ranges; proper grab bars; an improperly mounted flush control; non-compliant door hardware; encroachments on required clear floor space in the restroom; a non-compliant pedestal sink; and non-compliant faucets. See DE 1.

         Plaintiff has moved for summary judgment, arguing that she is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Defendant's Response in Opposition contests Plaintiff's standing-specifically, whether she has concrete and specific plans to revisit the Chevron service station. Defendant also asserts that the case is moot in light of intervening alterations to the property.

         II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate if “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The existence of a factual dispute is not by itself sufficient grounds to defeat a motion for summary judgment; rather, “the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). A dispute is genuine if “a reasonable trier of fact could return judgment for the non-moving party.” Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Fla. v. United States, 516 F.3d 1235, 1243 (11th Cir. 2008) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48). A fact is material if “it would affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.” Id. (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48).

         In deciding a summary judgment motion, the Court views the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. See Davis v. Williams, 451 F.3d 759, 763 (11th Cir. 2006). The Court does not weigh conflicting evidence. See Skop v. City of Atlanta, 485 F.3d 1130, 1140 (11th Cir. 2007). Thus, upon discovering a genuine dispute of material fact, the Court must deny summary judgment. See id.

         The moving party bears the initial burden of showing the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact. See Shiver v. Chertoff, 549 F.3d 1342, 1343 (11th Cir. 2008). Once the moving party satisfies this burden, “the nonmoving party ‘must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.'” Ray v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 327 F. App'x 819, 825 (11th Cir. 2009) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)). Instead, “[t]he non-moving party must make a sufficient showing on each essential element of the case for which he has the burden of proof.” Id. (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986)). Accordingly, the non-moving party must produce evidence, going beyond the pleadings, to show that a reasonable jury could find in favor of that party. See Shiver, 549 F.3d at 1343.

         III. ANALYSIS

         Plaintiff argues she is entitled to summary judgment. Defendant responds that Plaintiff lacks Article III standing to pursue her claims and that her claims are moot. The Court analyzes (a) Defendant's arguments on standing and (b) whether there are any disputes of material fact that preclude entry of summary judgment below, however, the Court first addresses Defendant's arguments on mootness. Defendant's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment (premised upon the doctrine of mootness) was stricken as untimely by the Court. As a result, Defendant cannot be granted any affirmative relief and this Court construes Plaintiff's Cross-Motion and Response as simply a response to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and, as such, a partial denial of Plaintiff's facts in support of her Motion for Summary Judgment.[2] Thus, Plaintiff's contention that the property is non-compliant with the ADA is supported by evidence in the record-DE 39-2-and Defendant's contention that portions of the property have been brought into compliance is construed as a denial that the property is non-compliant with the ADA-a contention supported by evidence in the record. DE 44 at 4-8. The Court has conflicting record evidence as to whether the property complies with the ADA. For this reason, and for reasons discussed below, this means that Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment must be denied due to disputes of material fact.

         a. Whether Plaintiff has Article III standing to ...


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