This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/07/2021 at 22:09:45 (UTC).

BRIAN WHITAKER VS FOOTLAND, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

Case Summary

On 09/04/2020 BRIAN WHITAKER filed a Civil Right - Other Civil Right lawsuit against FOOTLAND, INC , A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is SERENA R. MURILLO. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******7536

  • Filing Date:

    09/04/2020

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Civil Right - Other Civil Right

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

SERENA R. MURILLO

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

WHITAKER BRIAN

Defendant

FOOTLAND INC. A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

HANDY RUSSELL

Defendant Attorney

WILSON DENNIS PATRICK

 

Court Documents

Memorandum of Points & Authorities - Memorandum of Points & Authorities

9/3/2021: Memorandum of Points & Authorities - Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Separate Statement - Separate Statement

9/3/2021: Separate Statement - Separate Statement

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration & Exhibits 1-8

9/3/2021: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration & Exhibits 1-8

Motion for Summary Judgment - Motion for Summary Judgment

9/3/2021: Motion for Summary Judgment - Motion for Summary Judgment

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

2/3/2021: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Answer - Answer

2/19/2021: Answer - Answer

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Demurrer

1/19/2021: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Demurrer

Reply (name extension) - Reply to Opposition

1/25/2021: Reply (name extension) - Reply to Opposition

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

2/1/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

Demurrer - without Motion to Strike - Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

10/14/2020: Demurrer - without Motion to Strike - Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

Request for Judicial Notice - Request for Judicial Notice

10/14/2020: Request for Judicial Notice - Request for Judicial Notice

Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

9/18/2020: Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

Complaint - Complaint

9/4/2020: Complaint - Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

9/4/2020: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Clerk's Notice of Full Payment of Fees Required - Clerk's Notice of Full Payment of Fees Required

9/4/2020: Clerk's Notice of Full Payment of Fees Required - Clerk's Notice of Full Payment of Fees Required

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

9/4/2020: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

9/4/2020: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

7 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 09/08/2023
  • Hearing09/08/2023 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service

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  • 03/04/2022
  • Hearing03/04/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 12/14/2021
  • Hearing12/14/2021 at 10:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment

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  • 09/07/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Summary Judgment scheduled for 12/14/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 09/07/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Summary Judgment scheduled for 11/22/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 09/07/2021
  • DocketPursuant to the request of moving party, Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment scheduled for 11/22/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 Not Held - Rescheduled by Party was rescheduled to 12/14/2021 10:30 AM

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  • 09/03/2021
  • DocketMotion for Summary Judgment; Filed by: BRIAN WHITAKER (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/03/2021
  • DocketDeclaration & Exhibits 1-8; Filed by: BRIAN WHITAKER (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/03/2021
  • DocketMemorandum of Points & Authorities; Filed by: BRIAN WHITAKER (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/03/2021
  • DocketSeparate Statement; Filed by: BRIAN WHITAKER (Plaintiff)

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13 More Docket Entries
  • 09/04/2020
  • DocketClerk's Notice of Full Payment of Fees Required; Filed by: Clerk; As to: RUSSELL HANDY (Attorney)

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  • 09/04/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 03/04/2022 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 09/04/2020
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Serena R. Murillo in Department 26 Spring Street Courthouse

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  • 09/04/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Summons on Complaint: As To Parties changed from Footland, Inc., a California Corporation (Defendant) to Footland, Inc., a California Corporation (Defendant); Status changed from Issued and Filed to Rejected

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  • 09/04/2020
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 09/04/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 09/04/2020
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: BRIAN WHITAKER (Plaintiff); As to: Footland, Inc., a California Corporation (Defendant)

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  • 09/04/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: BRIAN WHITAKER (Plaintiff); As to: Footland, Inc., a California Corporation (Defendant)

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  • 09/04/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: BRIAN WHITAKER (Plaintiff); As to: Footland, Inc., a California Corporation (Defendant)

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  • 09/04/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 09/08/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 20STLC07536    Hearing Date: February 01, 2021    Dept: 26

Whitaker v. Footland, Inc., et al.

DEMURRER

(CCP §§ 430.31, et seq.)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Footland, Inc.’s Demurrer to the Complaint is OVERRULED. DEFENDANT TO FILE AND SERVE ITS ANSWER WITHIN 20 DAYS’ SERVICE OF THIS ORDER.

ANALYSIS:

Plaintiff Brian Whitaker (“Plaintiff”) filed the instant action for discrimination on the basis of disability against Defendant Footland, Inc. (“Defendant”) on September 4, 2020. The Complaint alleges a single cause of action for Violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act. On October 14, 2020, Defendant filed the instant Demurrer to the Complaint. Plaintiff filed the opposition on January 19, 2021and Defendant replied on January 25, 2020.

Discussion

The Court finds that the Demurrer is accompanied by a meet and confer declaration as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 430.41. (Demurrer, Wilson Decl., Exh. A.) Defendant demurs to the Complaint on the grounds that the cause of action for Violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act must be dismissed on grounds of issue preclusion following a federal court ruling on the same claim. (Demurrer, p. 2:8-13.)

Issue preclusion is a defense and must be affirmatively raised by the defendant. (Fireside Bank Cases (2010) 187 Cal.App.4th 1120, 1127.) It can be resolved at the pleadings stage if the defense is “ascertainable from materials subject to judicial notice.” (Ibid.) To demonstrate issue preclusion, “it must appear that the first matter presented some issue that is necessary to the later claim or defense, and that the issue was actually litigated and necessarily decided.” (Ibid.) Here, Defendant asks the Court to take judicial notice of certain facts as evidenced by documents filed in Plaintiff’s federal case against Defendant. (Demurrer, RJN, pp. 2-3.) The Court declines to take judicial notice of the facts set forth in Defendant’s notice. Cal. Evidence Code sections 451 and 452 only allow for judicial notice of facts “of generalized knowledge that are so universally known that they cannot reasonably be the subject of dispute” and “that are not reasonably subject to dispute and are capable of immediate and accurate determination by resort to sources of reasonably indisputable accuracy.” (Cal. Evid. Code, § 451, subd. (f); § 452, subd. (h).) The facts in the Notice do not fall in either category.

Instead, the Court takes judicial notice of the source documents themselves, under Cal. Evidence Code section 451, subdivision (a) and 452, subdivision (a). Those documents are in Brian Whitaker v. Footland, Inc., Federal Case No. 2:20-cv-01011-DMG (AFMx), as follows: (1) Complaint for Damages and Injunctive Relief for Violations of American with Disabilities Act; Unruh Civil Rights Act filed 1/31/20; (2) Order Declining to Exercise Supplemental Jurisdiction Over Plaintiff’s State Law Claim dated 3/2/20; and (3) Order Re Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment dated 8/24/20.

These documents show that Plaintiff federal court action alleged that he is a quadriplegic and uses a wheelchair for mobility. (Demurrer, RJN, Exh. A, ¶1.) Plaintiff alleged he visited Defendant’s store at 102 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, California in January 2020. (Id. at ¶¶2-3, 8.) At the time of his visit, Plaintiff alleged the store failed to provide handicap accessible sales counters or accessible paths of travel in conformance with ADA standards. (Id. at ¶¶8-13.) Plaintiff alleged he encountered these accessibility barriers and as a result was denied full and fair access to Defendant’s store. (Id. at ¶¶14-15.) Plaintiff also alleged he experienced difficult and discomfort due to these accessibility barriers. (Id. at ¶16.)

As a result of the federal court’s order declining to exercise its supplemental jurisdiction to hear a state law claim concurrent with a federal claim, Plaintiff’s Unruh Act claim was dismissed from the federal case without prejudice. (Demurrer, RJN, Exh. B, p. 9.) The federal court made no ruling on the merits of Plaintiff’s Unruh Act claim. (Ibid.) With respect to Plaintiff ADA claim, which sought only injunctive relief, the federal court determined Plaintiff’s claim was moot. (Demurrer, RJN, Exh. C, pp. 2-3.) Specifically, the federal court ruled that Plaintiff lacked standing for injunctive relief following the closure of Defendant’s store. (Ibid.)

Based on the following allegations and judicially noticeable documents, the Court will consider whether Plaintiff’s Unruh Act claim in this action is barred by issue preclusion. The facts alleged in Plaintiff’s federal court action are essentially the same facts alleged in Plaintiff’s Complaint in this action for violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act. (Compl., ¶¶1-16.) Therefore, the first action (in federal court) presented an issue that is necessary to the instant Complaint: whether Defendant’s store’s failure to comply with ADA standards violated the Unruh Act. As to the second and third elements of issue preclusion, however, Defendant has not shown that the issue was actually litigated and necessarily decided in federal court. None of the facts Defendant asks the Court to judicially notice reference the federal court’s ruling on the merits of Plaintiff’s claim. (See RJN, Fact No. 2.) The federal court’s ruling on the Unruh Act claim was based on the propriety of litigating that claim in federal court, not on the merits. (Demurrer, RJN, Exh. B, pp. 5-8.) Similarly, the federal court’s ruling on Plaintiff’s ADA claim did not reach the merits of whether Defendant’s store’s failure to comply with ADA standards. (Demurrer, RJN, Exh. C.) Instead, the order granting Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment was addressed solely to whether Plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief was available under the ADA following the store’s closing. (Id. at p. 3.) This does not inform Plaintiff’s contention that there were no accessible sales counters or paths of travel in the store.

Therefore, Defendant has not demonstrated the Plaintiff’s Complaint is barred by the doctrine of issue preclusion following the rulings in the federal court action.

Conclusion

Defendant Footland, Inc.’s Demurrer to the Complaint is OVERRULED. DEFENDANT TO FILE AND SERVE ITS ANSWER WITHIN 20 DAYS’ SERVICE OF THIS ORDER.

Plaintiff to give notice.

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