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Shyvers v. WH Virginia Station Shopping Center, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

January 5, 2018

WH VIRGINIA STATION SHOPPING CENTER, LLC, a Georgia Limited Liability Company, and EXCALIBUR INVESTMENTS, LLC, a Georgia Limited Liability Company, Defendants.



         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Excalibur Investments, LLC's (“Defendant”) Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, or, in the Alternative, Motion for a More Definite Statement [12] (the “Motion to Dismiss”).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Vernon Shyvers is an individual residing in Lauderhill, Florida. He is a paraplegic and uses a wheelchair to ambulate. ([7] ¶ 5). Defendants own the Virginia Station Shopping Center located at 1640 Virginia Ave., College Park, Georgia (the “Shopping Center”). ([7] ¶ 2, 8). Plaintiff alleges that he frequently visits East Point, Georgia with family and friends, including his sister, and “has visited the Defendant's shopping center numerous times in the past, and intends to visit the subject facility in the near future.” ([7] ¶ 6). Plaintiff does not describe any of his alleged visits to the Shopping Center. Plaintiff states that he “desires to visit [the] shopping center not only to avail himself of the goods and services available at the property but to assure himself that this property is compliant with the [Americans with Disabilities Act].” ([7] ¶ 9).

         Plaintiff alleges that the Shopping Center is a place of public accommodation as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12181 et seq. (the “ADA”). He outlines twenty-one alleged violations which he “personally encountered or observed” regarding “general sites and building elements, ” accessible routs, and the Bole Ethiopian Restaurant. ([7] ¶ 11).

         On March 29, 2017, Plaintiff filed his complaint for injunctive relief [1]. On May 22, 2017, Plaintiff filed his fourteen-page Amended Complaint [7] seeking injunctive relief, attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and costs, for purported violations of the ADA.

         On July 6, 2017, Defendant filed its Motion to Dismiss [12]. Defendant moves to dismiss on the grounds that Plaintiff lacks standing because there is no likelihood of future injury to Plaintiff. Defendant alternatively moves to dismiss the Amended Complaint for lack of specificity under Rule 12(b)(6), and under Rule 12(e) for Plaintiff to provide a more definite statement because, Defendant argues, the allegations in the Amended Complaint are so vague and ambiguous that Defendant cannot frame a responsive pleading.


         A. Article III Standing Under the ADA

         “Standing is a doctrine that stems directly from Article III's ‘case or controversy' requirement, and thus it implicates [a court's] subject matter jurisdiction.” Bochese v. Town of Ponce Inlet, 405 F.3d 964, 974 (11th Cir. 2005) (internal quotations omitted). “In the absence of standing, a court is not free to opine in an advisory capacity about the merits of a plaintiff's claims.” Id.

         “In Lujan, the Supreme Court held that a party seeking to invoke the subject matter jurisdiction of a federal court must satisfy three constitutional prerequisites of standing.” DiMaio v. Democratic Nat. Comm., 520 F.3d 1299, 1301-02 (11th Cir. 2008) (citing Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992)). First, a plaintiff must show that he has suffered an “injury-in-fact.” Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560. Second, the plaintiff must demonstrate a causal connection between the asserted injury-in-fact and the challenged action of the defendant. Id. Third, the plaintiff must show that “the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision.” Id. at 561 (citations and internal quotations omitted). “These requirements are the irreducible minimum required by the Constitution for a plaintiff to proceed in federal court.” Shotz v. Cates, 256 F.3d 1077, 1081 (11th Cir. 2001) (quotations omitted).

         A litigant seeking injunctive relive faces an additional inquiry. “Because injunctions regulate future conduct, a party has standing to seek injunctive relief only if the party alleges . . . a real and immediate-as opposed to a merely conjectural or hypothetical-threat of future injury.” Shotz, 256 F.3d at 1081 (citing Wooden v. Board of Regents of University System of Georgia, 247 F.3d 1262, 1284 (11th Cir. 2001)).

         “In ADA cases, courts have held that a plaintiff lacks standing to seek injunctive relief unless he alleges facts giving rise to an inference that he will suffer future discrimination by the defendant.” Shotz, 256 F.3d at 1081. “In the ADA context, our standing inquiry has focused on the frequency of the plaintiff's visits to the defendant's business and the definitiveness of the plaintiff's plan to return.” Silva v. Baptist Health S. Florida, Inc., 856 F.3d 824, 832 (11th Cir. 2017). “Absent an allegation that he intends to return to the public accommodation, an ADA plaintiff fails to demonstrate this ‘irreducible minimum' and thus lacks standing to sue for injunctive relief.” Access Now, Inc. v. S. Florida Stadium Corp., 161 F.Supp.2d 1357, 1364 (S.D. Fla. 2001). On a defendant's motion to dismiss a court must evaluate standing based on the facts alleged ...

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