United States District Court, S.D. Florida
JUDGMENT ON PARTIAL FINDINGS
N. Scola, Jr. United States District Judge.
Plaintiff brings this action under Title III of the Americans
with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §§
12181-12189 (the “ADA”), alleging that he
encountered architectural barriers at the Defendants'
shopping center and restaurant that prevented him from full
and equal enjoyment of the premises. The Plaintiff seeks
injunctive relief, as well as attorneys' fees and costs.
Douglas Longhini alleges that he has a physical impairment
that requires him to use a wheelchair to ambulate. Defendant
West Palm Plaza, Inc. (“West Palm Plaza”) owns a
shopping center located at 2301-2399 West 52nd Street,
Hialeah, FL. Defendant Manhattan Big Apple, Inc., doing
business as Manhattan Pizza Place (“Manhattan
Pizza”), leases a restaurant in West Palm Plaza's
shopping center. West Palm Plaza has asserted a cross-claim
against Manhattan Pizza, asserting that, pursuant to its
lease agreement, Manhattan Pizza is obligated to indemnify
West Palm Plaza for any liability in this matter. The
Plaintiff has reached a settlement agreement with Manhattan
Pizza but West Palm Plaza continues to pursue its cross-claim
against Manhattan Pizza.
parties do not dispute that the shopping center is a place of
public accommodation under the ADA. Nor do they dispute
whether the Plaintiff is a qualified individual under the
ADA. The issue remaining to be determined is: whether the
Plaintiff was denied the full and equal enjoyment of West
Palm Plaza's goods, services, facilities, privileges,
advantages, or accommodations because of his disability.
November 27, 2017, the Court held a non-jury trial. Prior to
the trial, the parties submitted a Joint Pretrial Stipulation
(ECF No. 59), as well as their proposed findings of fact and
conclusions of law (ECF Nos. 61, 62.) The Court has carefully
reviewed these submissions.
close of the Plaintiff's case, West Palm Plaza moved for
judgment, which the Court construed as a motion under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 52(c) for a judgment on partial
Court has considered the credible testimony and evidence
presented by the Plaintiff. The Court has further considered
the applicable law. The Court, as announced on the record,
finds that the Plaintiff failed to carry his burden of
establishing that Defendant West Palm Plaza violated the
Plaintiff's rights under the ADA. As a result, the Court
finds in favor of the Defendant West Palm Plaza on Count One,
the only count, of the Complaint. Following the announcement
of the Court's ruling, West Palm Plaza and Manhattan
Pizza informed the Court that they had resolved West Palm
Rule 52(c), “if a party has been fully heard on an
issue during a nonjury trial and the court finds against the
party on that issue, the court may enter judgment against the
party on a claim or defense that, under the controlling law,
can be maintained or defeated only with a favorable finding
on that issue.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(c). A judgment on
partial findings must be supported by separately stated
findings of fact and conclusions of law. Id.
Rule 52(c) motion may be granted if . . . based on the
evidence before it, the court finds, after resolving the
credibility issues and weighing the evidence, for the
defendant.” Denson v. United States, 574 F.3d
1318, 1334 n. 48 (11th Cir. 2009). “In addressing a
Rule 52(c) motion, the court does not view the evidence in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, as it would
in passing on a Rule 56 motion for summary judgment or a Rule
50(a) motion for judgment as a matter of law; instead, it
exercises its role as factfinder.” United States v.
$242, 484.00, 389 F.3d 1149, 1172 (11th Cir. 2004).
“[T]he court must weigh the evidence and may consider
the witnesses' credibility.” Caro-Galvan v.
Curtis Richardson, Inc., 993 F.2d 1500, 1504 (11th Cir.
1993) (citing Chris Berg, Inc. v. Acme Mining Co.,
893 F.2d 1235, 1238 n. 2 (11th Cir.1990).)
Summary of the Testimony
Risset Ferro (West Palm Plaza's Corporate
works at 8155 N.W. 155 Street in Miami Lakes and has worked
for West Palm Plaza, Inc. for the past 25 years. She is
presently the vice president.
have been renovations to the Plaza such as roof and painting.
She does not recall any buildings, including a car wash,
having been built on the premises. She does not recall
whether the ...