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Jones v. Savannah Federal Credit Union

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division

July 10, 2018

VASHAUN JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
SAVANNAH FEDERAL CREDIT UNION, Defendant.

          ORDER

          WILLIAM T. MOORE, JR.UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         Before the Court are Defendant's First Motion Dismiss (Doc. 11), Second Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 17), and Motion for Judicial Notice (Doc. 23). After careful consideration, Defendant's First Motion to Dismiss is DISMISSED AS MOOT. Defendant's Second Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Judicial Notice are GRANTED. As a result, Plaintiff's complaint is DISMISSED. The Clerk is DIRECTED to close this case.

         BACKGROUND

         This case arises out of Plaintiff Vashaun Jones's attempted use of Defendant Savannah Federal Credit Union's website. (Doc. 1.) According to the complaint, Plaintiff is permanently blind and uses screen reading software to access the internet. (Id. ¶ 2.) At some point, Plaintiff attempted to access Defendant's website, but was unable to fully utilize the website because it was improperly designed. (Id.) Plaintiff cites three specific flaws in Defendant's website design: (1) linked images with missing alternative text; (2) redundant or empty links that make navigation of the website difficult; and (3) empty or missing form labels. (Id. ¶ 18.) Plaintiff contends that these barriers prevented him from adequately researching Defendant's services and location. (Id. ¶¶ 19, 20.)

         On November 20, 2017, Plaintiff filed suit alleging negligence and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §12181 et seq. (Id. ¶¶ 22, 29.) Plaintiff requested damages, attorneys' fees, costs, and injunctive relief. (Id. at 17-8.) On January 12, 2018, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss seeking dismissal of Plaintiff's ADA and state law negligence claims. (Doc. 11.) In response, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint. (Doc. 16.) In the amended complaint, Plaintiff abandons his negligence claim and request for damages. (Id.) Plaintiff, however, reasserts his ADA claim, and request for injunctive relief, attorneys' fees, and costs. (Id.)

         On February 8, 2018, Defendant filed a Second Motion to Dismiss.[1] (Doc. 17.) In this motion, Defendant argues that Plaintiff's complaint should be dismissed because Plaintiff has no standing to file suit. (Id. at 3-7.) In Defendant's view, Plaintiff has not properly alleged that he has suffered an actual injury in this case. (Id.) Defendant also contends that even if Plaintiff does have standing, Plaintiff's claim fails because Defendant's website is not a public accommodation subject to the ADA. (Id. at 7-11.) Alternatively, Defendant reasons that even if its website is subject to the ADA, Plaintiff has not alleged that Defendant's website actually violates the ADA. (Id. at 12-15.)

         In response, Plaintiff argues that he has standing to file suit in this case because he was injured when he was unable to browse Defendant's website for information about services and location. (Doc. 20 at 3-10.) Plaintiff further argues that the website is governed by the ADA and that he has sufficiently alleged enough facts to raise a plausible claim that Defendant's website violates the ADA. (Id. at 10-20.)

         After the briefing was completed on Defendant's Second Motion to Dismiss, Defendant filed a Motion for Judicial Notice. (Doc. 23.) In that motion, Defendant requests that the Court take notice of a complaint Plaintiff filed in a similar case in the Northern District of Georgia. (Id.) Defendant asserts that Plaintiff's admission in that complaint bolsters its argument that Plaintiff does not have standing to bring this suit. (Id.) Because Defendant contends that its Motion for Judicial Notice is relevant to its argument that Plaintiff does not have standing in this case, the Court will first consider Defendant's Motion for Judicial Notice. The Court will then consider the merits of Defendant's Second Motion to Dismiss.

         ANALYSIS

         I. MOTION FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

         In Defendant's Motion for Judicial Notice, Defendant requests that the Court take judicial notice of a complaint Plaintiff filed in the Northern District of Georgia. (Doc. 23.) In that complaint, Plaintiff provided that "he lives and works in the city of Ellenwood, Georgia, which is in Clayton County, Georgia." See Jones v. Delta Cmty. Credit Union, No. 1-18-cv-01072-MLB (N.D.Ga. Mar. 12, 2018). Defendant argues that this admission is relevant to whether or not Plaintiff has standing to file this suit. (Doc. 23.)

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 201 (b), a district court may take judicial notice of public records that are "not subject to reasonable dispute." See also Universal Express, Inc. v. U.S. Sec, and Exch. Comm'n, 177 Fed.Appx. 52, 53 (11th Cir. 2006) ("Public records are among the permissible facts that a district court may consider."). In this case, the Court has reviewed the public record that contains Plaintiff's admission. (See Doc. 23, Ex. A.) At this time, Plaintiff has neither challenged Defendant's request for judicial notice nor provided any cause to doubt the validity of his admission. As a result, the Court finds that it is appropriate to take judicial notice of Plaintiff's admission. See also Home v. Potter, 392 Fed.Appx. 800, 802 (11th Cir. 2010) (finding that a district court properly took notice of the plaintiff's filings in a previous case). Accordingly, Defendant's motion is GRANTED.

         II. SECOND MOTION TO DISMISS

         In its Second Motion to Dismiss, Defendant makes several arguments that Plaintiff's complaint should be dismissed. (Doc. 17.) Although several of Defendant's arguments relate to whether or not Plaintiff has properly stated a claim for relief under the ADA, this Court must first consider Defendant's contention that Plaintiff does not have standing to bring this suit. Only after finding that Plaintiff has standing to bring this suit would the Court be permitted to consider the merits of Defendant's other ...


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