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Mosley v. Midas Worthington, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

January 9, 2020

DAIMEON MOSLEY
v.
MIDAS WORTHINGTON, LLC

          RULING AND ORDER

          JOHN W. deGRAVELLES UNITED JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rules 12(B)(1) and 12(B)(6) (“Motion”) filed by Defendant, Midas Worthington, LLC (“Defendant”). (Doc. 4.) Plaintiff, Daimeon Mosely (“Plaintiff” or “Mosely”) has filed a Memorandum in Support of Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (“Opposition”). (Doc. 12.) Oral argument is not necessary. The Court has carefully considered the law, facts in the record, and arguments and submissions of the parties and is prepared to rule. For the following reasons, Defendant's motion is denied.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         For the purpose of ruling on the Motion, the Court takes the following facts alleged in the Complaint as true.[1] (Complaint, Doc. 1.)

         This action arises out of Defendant's alleged violations of 42 U.S.C. §12181 et seq, Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”). (See Doc. 1.) Plaintiff is an Arizona resident with “numerous disabilities, including permanent paralysis, degenerative discs and scoliosis” which require his use of a mobility device and cause him to suffer from “sudden onsets of severe pain” and seizures. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 7.) Plaintiff acts as a “tester” “by inspecting facilities for accessibility to advance the purpose of the ADA and the civil rights of disabled individuals. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 12.) Defendant is the owner and operator of Hampton Inn in Gonzales, Louisiana (“Hotel”). (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 5.)

         On August 5, 2018, Plaintiff, visited Defendant's Hotel in Gonzales, Louisiana. (Doc. 1 ¶ 20.) On this visit, Plaintiff contends that he encountered architectural barriers at the Hotel's passenger drop-off area, restroom, and lounge area, all of which denied him full and equal access and enjoyment of the services, goods, and amenities at the Hotel.

         Plaintiff travels to the Baton Rouge area multiple times per year and plans to return to the Baton Rouge area in April or May. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 8.) If Defendant modifies the Hotel and its policies and practices to accommodate individuals with physical disabilities, Plaintiff would return to the Hotel in April or May as a customer. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 11.) Plaintiff is deterred from returning to the Hotel as a customer due to the barriers and discriminatory effects of Defendant's policies and procedures at the Hotel. (Id.) Plaintiff also returns to each facility after receiving notice of remediation of discriminatory conditions to verify compliance with the ADA. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 13.)

         On February 2, 2019, Plaintiff brought this suit against Defendant, the owner and operator of the Hotel. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 5.) Plaintiff contends as a public accommodation covered by Title III of the ADA, Defendant discriminated against and continues to discriminate against Plaintiff and other individuals with disabilities by its failure to remove architectural barriers at the Hotel. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 18.) The architectural barriers identified in the Complaint include barriers at the Passenger Drop Off, the Restroom, and the Lounge Area. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 20.)

         Plaintiff is seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, stating he intends to return to the Hotel if Defendant modifies and remediates the barriers and discriminatory effects. (See Doc. 1.) Plaintiff requests for a declaratory judgment under 28 U.S.C. §2201. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶14-16.) Additionally, Plaintiff requests that this Court order Defendant to make the Hotel accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities to the full extent required by Title III of the ADA and evaluate and modify its polices, practices, and procedures towards persons with disabilities, as well as enter an order enjoining Defendant from allowing the alleged architectural barriers to recur once they are remediated. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 17-27.) On April 17, 2019, Defendant subsequently filed this Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) and Rule 12(b)(6) for lack of standing. (Doc. 4.)

         APPLICABLE STANDARDS

         a. Rule 12(b)(1)

         Concerning the standard for Rule 12(b)(1) motions, the Fifth Circuit explained:

Motions filed under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow a party to challenge the subject matter jurisdiction of the district court to hear a case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). Lack of subject matter jurisdiction may be found in any one of three instances: (1) the complaint alone; (2) the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts evidenced in the record; or (3) the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts plus the court's resolution of disputed facts. Barrera-Montenegro v. United States, 74 F.3d 657, 659 (5th Cir. 1996).
The burden of proof for a Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss is on the party asserting jurisdiction. McDaniel v. United States, 899 F.Supp. 305, 307 (E.D. Tex. 1995). Accordingly, the plaintiff constantly bears the burden of proof that jurisdiction does in fact exist. Menchaca v. Chrysler Credit Corp., 613 F.2d 507, 511 (5th Cir. 1980).
When a Rule 12(b)(1) motion is filed in conjunction with other Rule 12 motions, the court should consider the Rule 12(b)(1) jurisdictional attack before addressing any attack on the merits. Hitt v. City of Pasadena, 561 F.2d 606, 608 (5th Cir. 1977) (per curiam).... In examining a Rule 12(b)(1) motion, the district court is empowered to consider matters of fact which may be in dispute. Williamson v. Tucker, 645 F.2d 404, 413 (5th Cir. 1981). Ultimately, a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction should be granted only if it appears certain that the plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle plaintiff to relief. Home Builders Ass'n of Miss., Inc. v. City of Madison, Miss., 143 F.3d 1006, 1010 (5th Cir. 1998).

Ramming v. United States, 281 F.3d 158, 161 (5th Cir. 2001).

         b. Rule 12 (b)(6)

         In Johnson v. City of Shelby, Miss., 135 S.Ct. 346 (2014), the Supreme Court explained “Federal pleading rules call for a ‘short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); they do not countenance dismissal of a complaint for imperfect statement of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted.” 135 S.Ct. at 346-47 (citation omitted).

         Interpreting Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Fifth Circuit has explained: The complaint (1) on its face (2) must contain enough factual matter (taken as true) (3) to raise a reasonable hope or expectation (4) that discovery will reveal relevant evidence of each element of a claim. “Asking for [such] plausible grounds to infer [the element of a claim] does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage; it simply calls for enough fact to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal [that the elements of the claim existed].”L ...


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