United States District Court, S.D. Florida
J. OSULLIVAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
MATTER came before the Court on the Defendant's Motion
for Partial Summary Judgment (DE# 80, 10/27/17).
operative complaint alleges that the plaintiff, a disabled
individual,  injured his leg during a fall sustained in
a handicap restroom at the defendant's facility on July
10, 2015. See Plain[tiff's] Second Amended
Complaint for Damages and Injunctive Relief (DE# 47, 3/30/17)
(hereinafter "SAC"). It asserts two causes of
action against the defendant: common law negligence (Count I)
and violations under the Americans with Disabilities Act of
1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq (hereinafter
"ADA") (Count II).
October 27, 2017, the defendant filed the instant motion and
statement of undisputed facts seeking summary judgment on
both counts. See Defendant's Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment (DE# 80 at 1, 10/27/17) (hereinafter
"Motion"); Defendant's Statement of Undisputed
Material Facts in Support of Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment (DE# 81, 10/27/17) (hereinafter "SOF").
Specifically, the defendant seeks summary judgment on the
negligence count and partial summary judgment on the ADA
count as it pertains to the turning space and storage
receptacles located in the restroom where the plaintiff fell.
See Motion (DE# 80 at 10). The plaintiff filed his
response to the motion and the SOF on November 30, 2017.
See Plaintiff's Response in Opposition to
Defendant's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [DE 80]
(DE# 100, 11/30/17) (hereinafter "Response");
Respondent's Statement of Disputed Facts in Opposition to
Movant's Statement of "Undisputed" Material
Facts and Statement of Additional Material Facts in
Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
(DE# 99, 11/30/17) (hereinafter "RSOF"). The
plaintiff also filed the Affidavit of Luz A. Warford, the
person responsible for inspecting and cleaning the
restroom. See Plaintiff's Notice of
Filing Affidavit of Luz Warford in Support of Plaintiff's
Response in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment (DE 100) (DE# 113, 12/8/17) (hereinafter
"Affidavit of Luz Warford"). The defendant filed
its reply and an response to additional facts on December 11,
2017. See Defendant's Reply in Support of Motion
for Partial Summary Judgment (DE# 115, 12/11/17) (hereinafter
"Reply"); Defendant's Response to
Plaintiff's Statement of Additional Material Facts in
Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment (DE# 116, 12/11/17) ("Reply SOF").
Court heard argument on the instant motion on December 14,
2017. This matter is ripe for adjudication.
10, 2015, the plaintiff, a disabled individual, and his aide,
Laurie Denis, were at the defendant's facility for the
plaintiff's medical procedure. The plaintiff notified the
desk clerk that he needed to use the restroom. The desk clerk
directed the plaintiff and Ms. Denis to the restroom on the
plaintiff and Ms. Denis entered the restroom. The plaintiff
was able to pull into the restroom without interference.
See Deposition of Gary Kahn (DE# 81-1 at 74-75).
However, when the plaintiff entered the restroom, he
"had to come in a certain way." Id. at
89-90. There were two soiled linen bins inside the restroom.
Id. at 89. The plaintiff testified that the two
soiled linen bins "took up room, but they did not
influence the injury." Id., at 90.
plaintiff pulled his motorized wheelchair up to get
in front of the toilet, "alongside it in front of
it" so he could "get to the grab bar."
Deposition of Gary Kahn (DE# 81-1 at 34, 38). The plaintiff
then "back[ed] up a little bit" to give himself
"foot room to get down [from the wheelchair] and grab
[the] bar."Id. at 35, 38. The plaintiff
"[brought his] legs back while . . . standing,
lower[ed his] pants and started to . . . turn at which time
[he] started to lower [himself on]to the toilet, realized
[the toilet] was a little lower than [the plaintiff was] used
to so [the plaintiff] changed [his] mind to get back to the
chair, [and] stood up." Id. He asked Ms. Denis
the bring back the wheelchair or move the wheelchair towards
the plaintiff so the plaintiff could sit down again.
Id. at 36. The plaintiff remained standing, waiting
for the chair, Id. at 37. Ms. Denis had trouble
moving the chair because a trash can had gotten caught
between the two rear wheels of the chair. ] Id. at
37, 39. Ms. Denis told the plaintiff the chair was stuck,
Id. at 43. The plaintiff could not continue standing
up. He lost his grip due to his multiple sclerosis and fell
to the floor, injuring his leg. ]dL at 40-43, 139.
he fell, the plaintiff told Ms. Denis to pull the emergency
cord to ask for help because he could not reach it himself.
Id. at 43-44.
reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the Court is guided
by the standard set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
56(a), which states, in relevant part, as follows:
A party may move for summary judgment, identifying each claim
or defense - or the part of each claim or defense - on which
summary judgment is sought. The court shall grant summary
judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute
as to any material ...