United States District Court, S.D. Florida
OPEN ACCESS FOR ALL, INC. and ANDRES GOMEZ, Plaintiffs,
TOWN OF JUNO BEACH, FLORIDA, Defendant.
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
L. ROSENBERG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court upon Defendant Town of
Juno Beach's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Amended
Complaint and Supporting Memorandum of Law [D.E. 17]. The
Court has carefully reviewed the Motion, Plaintiff's
Response [D.E. 20], Defendant's Reply [D.E. 22], and the
record, and is otherwise fully advised in the premises. For
the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss is denied.
Open Access For All, Inc. (“Open Access”) is a
non-profit corporation that advocates for full and equal
participation of its members in all aspects of society.
Amend. Compl. ¶¶ 16, 18, D.E. 10. Its members
include individuals substantially limited in the major life
activity of sight. Id. ¶ 17. Plaintiff Andres
Gomez is legally blind and “substantially limited in
the major life activity of seeing.” Id. ¶
24. To comprehend information on the internet, Mr. Gomez must
use screen reader software that requires document information
to be saved in an accessible format. Id. ¶ 26.
Defendant Town of Juno Beach, Florida, a local government
entity, offers a website, www.juno-beach.fl.us
(“website”), where people can obtain information
regarding Defendant's government and living in and
visiting Defendant. Id. ¶¶ 28, 32.
allege the following: Mr. Gomez either “is considering
moving” or “has concrete plans to move”
from Miami. Id. ¶¶ 33, 46. He has traveled
throughout Florida, has researched viable living options, and
has visited Defendant. Id. ¶¶ 33, 34. Mr.
Gomez has found Defendant “to be delightful,
encompassing all the amenities which would make it a good
environment for him and his family.” Id.
¶ 34. Defendant is a “viable option” for his
home. Id. ¶¶ 33, 46. Defendant's
website contains electronic documents that provide
information on: (1) living in and visiting Defendant, such as
electrical utility and plumbing fee sheets; (2)
Defendant's policies and positions, such as tax receipt
rules and regulations; and (3) council meeting agendas and
decisions. Id. ¶¶ 36-39. Mr. Gomez needs
the information within these electronic documents to assess
his ability to move to Defendant. Id. ¶ 46.
advocate of public policy for the disabled, Mr. Gomez is
allegedly interested in accessing Defendant's policies
regarding the disabled. Id. ¶ 35. Mr. Gomez
needs access to Defendant's past actions and policies
before advocating for changes in current policy. Id.
¶ 53. Plaintiffs “have been left excluded from
political advocacy with [Defendant's] government”
because of Defendant's failure to provide electronic
documents in an accessible format. Id. ¶ 49.
Gomez allegedly attempted to view Defendant's electronic
documents in January 2019. Id. ¶ 41.
“Because Defendant's electronic documents are not
in an accessible format for the blind and visually impaired
and are not provided in accessible HTML or PDF format,
Plaintiffs [were] prevented from becoming informed about
[Defendant's] governmental functioning, policies,
programs, services and activities that Defendant offers to
the disabled and infirm . . . .” Id. ¶
42. Mr. Gomez contacted Defendant and requested that the
electronic documents be made accessible. Id. ¶
44. The documents remain inaccessible. Id.
¶¶ 45, 48-49, 51-52.
further allege that the inability to access Defendant's
documents “has resulted in a virtual barrier which has
impaired, obstructed, hindered, and impeded Plaintiffs'
ability to become an involved citizen in advocating for the
disabled” and to “learn about the programs,
services, and activities available to disabled
residents.” Id. ¶ 50. Plaintiffs
“have suffered injuries and shame, humiliation,
isolation, [and] segregation” and have
“experienced emotional suffering, pain and
anguish.” Id. ¶ 54.
filed the instant lawsuit, claiming that Defendant is in
violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act
of 1990 (“ADA”) and Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act because the electronic documents on
Defendant's website are inaccessible to the visually
impaired. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief
and damages. D.E. 10. Defendant moves to dismiss the Amended
Complaint under Rule 12(b)(1) and (b)(6) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure. D.E. 17.
question of Article III standing implicates subject matter
jurisdiction and, thus, standing must be addressed as a
threshold matter prior to addressing the merits of any
underlying claims. Palm Beach Golf Ctr.-Boca, Inc. v.
John G. Sarris, D.D.S., P.A., 781 F.3d 1245, 1250 (11th
Cir. 2015). Article III of the Constitution grants federal
courts judicial power to decide only actual
“Cases” and “Controversies.” U.S.
Const. art. III, § 2. Standing is a “core
component” of this limitation that “determin[es]
the power of the court to entertain the suit.”
Hollywood Mobile Estates Ltd. v. Seminole Tribe of
Fla., 641 F.3d 1259, 1264-65 (11th Cir. 2011) (quotation
marks omitted). “[A] dismissal for lack of standing has
the same effect as a dismissal for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1).” Stalley
ex rel. U.S. v. Orlando Reg'l Healthcare Sys., Inc.,
524 F.3d 1229, 1232 (11th Cir. 2008) (quotation marks
may grant a party's motion to dismiss if a pleading fails
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss
should be granted only when the pleading fails to contain
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The
pleading must contain more than labels, conclusions, a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action,
and naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement.
Id. The factual allegations must be enough to raise
a right to relief above the speculative level.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. When ruling on a motion to
dismiss, a court accepts as true the facts alleged in the
complaint and draws all reasonable inferences in the
plaintiff's favor. West v. Warden, 869 F.3d
1289, 1296 (11th Cir. 2017).