This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 09/25/2020 at 03:04:12 (UTC).

CHRISTOPHER MARTINEZ VS IOTA GROUP, INC., ET AL.

Case Summary

On 05/06/2020 CHRISTOPHER MARTINEZ filed a Civil Right - Other Civil Right lawsuit against IOTA GROUP, INC . This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is JAMES E. BLANCARTE. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******3872

  • Filing Date:

    05/06/2020

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Civil Right - Other Civil Right

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

MARTINEZ CHRISTOPHER

Defendants

IOTA GROUP INC.

CHONG BRIAN

ALMG HOSPITALITY LLC

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

MEHRBAN MORSE

Defendant Attorney

JANG KEVIN

 

Court Documents

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

9/23/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to ALMG Hospitality, LLC's Demurrer

7/16/2020: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to ALMG Hospitality, LLC's Demurrer

Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

7/10/2020: Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order RE: DEFENDANT ALMG HOSPITALITY, LLCS DEMURRER)

7/8/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order RE: DEFENDANT ALMG HOSPITALITY, LLCS DEMURRER)

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order RE: DEFENDANT ALMG HOSPITALITY, LLCS DEMURRER) of 07/08/2020

7/8/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order RE: DEFENDANT ALMG HOSPITALITY, LLCS DEMURRER) of 07/08/2020

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

6/22/2020: Demurrer - without Motion to Strike - Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

5/6/2020: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

5/6/2020: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

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

5/6/2020: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

Summons - Summons on Complaint

5/6/2020: Summons - Summons on Complaint

Complaint - Complaint

5/6/2020: Complaint - Complaint

Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

5/6/2020: Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/10/2023
  • Hearing05/10/2023 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service

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  • 11/03/2021
  • Hearing11/03/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 09/23/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

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  • 09/23/2020
  • DocketHearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike scheduled for 09/23/2020 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 09/23/2020; Result Type to Held

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  • 07/16/2020
  • DocketOpposition to ALMG Hospitality, LLC's Demurrer; Filed by: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/10/2020
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff); As to: ALMG Hospitality, LLC (Defendant); Service Date: 05/24/2020; Service Cost: 100.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 07/08/2020
  • DocketHearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike scheduled for 09/23/2020 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 07/08/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Court Order RE: DEFENDANT ALMG HOSPITALITY, LLC?S DEMURRER)

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  • 07/08/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Court Order RE: DEFENDANT ALMG HOSPITALITY, LLC?S DEMURRER) of 07/08/2020; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 06/22/2020
  • DocketDemurrer - without Motion to Strike; Filed by: ALMG Hospitality, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 05/06/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff); As to: Iota Group, Inc. (Defendant); ALMG Hospitality, LLC (Defendant); Brian Chong (Defendant)

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  • 05/06/2020
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 25 Spring Street Courthouse

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  • 05/06/2020
  • DocketRequest to Waive Court Fees; Filed by: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/06/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff); As to: Iota Group, Inc. (Defendant); ALMG Hospitality, LLC (Defendant); Brian Chong (Defendant)

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  • 05/06/2020
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff); As to: Iota Group, Inc. (Defendant); ALMG Hospitality, LLC (Defendant); Brian Chong (Defendant)

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  • 05/06/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 05/06/2020
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 05/06/2020
  • DocketOrder on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Signed and Filed by: Clerk; As to: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/06/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 11/03/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 05/06/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 05/10/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 20STLC03872    Hearing Date: September 23, 2020    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE:   Wed., September 23, 2020 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Martinez v. Iota Group, Inc., et al. COMPL. FILED: 05-06-20

CASE NUMBER: 20STLC03872 DISC. C/O: 10-04-21

NOTICE:   OK DISC. MOT. C/O:    10-29-21

TRIAL DATE: 11-03-21

PROCEEDINGS    DEFENDANT ALMG HOSPITALITY, LLC’S DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF’S COMPLAINT

MOVING PARTY:   Defendant ALMG Hospitality, LLC

RESP. PARTY: Plaintiff Christopher Martinez  

DEMURRER

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant ALMG Hospitality, LLC’s Demurrer to Plaintiff’s Complaint is OVERRULED.  

SERVICE

[X] Proof of Service Timely Filed (CRC, rule 3.1300) OK

[X] Correct Address (CCP §§ 1013, 1013a) OK

[X] 16/21 Court Days Lapsed (CCP §§ 12c, 1005(b)) OK

OPPOSITION: Filed on July 16, 2020  [   ] Late [   ] None

REPLY: None filed as of September 21, 2020  [   ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On May 6, 2020, Plaintiff Christopher Martinez (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act against Defendants Iota Group, Inc., ALMG Hospitality, LLC (“ALMG”), and Brian Chong (collectively, “Defendants”).

On June 22, 2020, Defendant ALMG filed the instant Demurrer to Plaintiff’s Complaint (the “Demurrer”). Plaintiff filed an Opposition on July 16, 2020. To date, no reply brief has been filed.

  1. Legal Standard

“The primary function of a pleading is to give the other party notice so that it may prepare its

case [citation], and a defect in a pleading that otherwise properly notifies a party cannot be said to

affect substantial rights.” (Harris v. City of Santa Monica (2013) 56 Cal.4th 203, 240.)

“A demurrer tests the legal sufficiency of the factual allegations in a complaint.” (Ivanoff v. Bank of

America, N.A. (2017) 9 Cal.App.5th 719, 725.) The Court looks to whether “the complaint alleges

facts sufficient to state a cause of action or discloses a complete defense.” (Id.) The Court does not

“read passages from a complaint in isolation; in reviewing a ruling on a demurrer, we read the

complaint ‘as a whole and its parts in their context.’ [Citation.]” (West v. JPMorgan Chase Bank,

N.A. (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 780, 804.) The Court “assume[s] the truth of the properly pleaded

factual allegations, facts that reasonably can be inferred from those expressly pleaded and matters of

which judicial notice has been taken.” (Harris, supra, 56 Cal.4th p. 240.) “The court does not,

however, assume the truth of contentions, deductions or conclusions of law. [Citation.]” (Durell v.

Sharp Healthcare (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 1350, 1358.)

A general demurrer may be brought under Code of Civil Procedure section 430.10, subdivision (e) if insufficient facts are stated to support the cause of action asserted or under section 430.10, subdivision (a), where the court has no jurisdiction of the subject of the cause of action alleged in the pleading. All other grounds listed in Section 430.10, including uncertainty under subdivision (f), are special demurrers. Special demurrers are not allowed in limited jurisdiction courts. (Code Civ. Proc., § 92, subd. (c).)

Leave to amend must be allowed where there is a reasonable possibility of successful amendment. (Goodman v. Kennedy (1976) 18 Cal.3d 335, 348.)  The burden is on the complainant to show the Court that a pleading can be amended successfully. (Id.)

Finally, Code of Civil Procedure section 430.41 requires that “[b]efore filing a demurrer pursuant to this chapter, the demurring party shall meet and confer in person or by telephone with the party who filed the pleading that is subject to demurrer for the purpose of determining whether an agreement can be reached that would resolve the objections to be raised in the demurrer.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a).) The parties are to meet and confer at least five days before the date the responsive pleading is due. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a)(2).) Thereafter, the demurring party shall file and serve a declaration detailing their meet and confer efforts. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a)(3).)

  1. Discussion

Plaintiff alleges Defendants discriminated against him on the basis of disability and thereby violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Unruh Civil Rights Act. (Compl., ¶ 2-6.)

Defendant demurs to Plaintiff’s only cause of action for violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act on the basis that it is uncertain. (Dem., p. 3:4-10.) As noted above, demurrers brought on the basis of uncertainty are special demurrers, and special demurrers are not permitted in limited jurisdiction courts. (Code Civ. Proc., § 92, subd. (c).) Thus, the Court cannot consider Defendant ALMG’s demurrer on the basis of uncertainty.

Defendant ALMG also demurs on the basis that Plaintiff’s cause of action fails to state sufficient facts. (Dem., p. 3:4-10.)

The Unruh Civil Rights Act states, in pertinent part, that all persons, no matter their disability, are “entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.” (Civ. Code, § 5 1, subds. (a), (b).) A violation under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990…shall also constitute a violation of this section.” (Civ. Code, § 51, subd. (f).) The Americans with Disabilities Act provides that discrimination by public accommodations includes “a failure to take such steps as may be necessary to ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services, unless the entity can demonstrate that taking such steps would fundamentally alter the nature of the good, service, facility, privilege, advantage, or accommodation being offered or would result in an undue burden.” (42 U.S.C.A. § 12182, subd. (b)(2)(A)(iii).) Similarly, 28 C.F.R. section 36.303, subdivisions (a) and (c)(1), require that public accommodations take necessary steps so that no individual is denied access to a public accommodation due to the absence of auxiliary aids and services, and require that a public accommodation “furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities.” Public accommodations include concert halls or other places of exhibition or entertainment. (42 U.S.C.A. § 12181, subd. (7)(B).)  

Here, Plaintiff alleges the following: that he suffers from partial hearing loss; that he has difficulty hearing and differentiating desirable sounds without an assistive listening device; that Defendants operated a comedy club at 528 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90020 (the “Premises”); that the Premises are a public accommodation; that on April 19, 2019, Plaintiff patronized the Premises and requested an auxiliary aid or service in the form of an assistive listening device, but none was provided to him; that the Premises did not have any signage appraising Plaintiff of the availability of an assistive listening device; that as a result of being denied an assistive listening device, Plaintiff was unable to enjoy a comedy show; that comedy shows are part of the “goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations” provided for the “benefit, entertainment, use, and enjoyment of patrons;” and that Plaintiff was “excluded, denied services, segregated, and otherwise treated differently because of the absence of auxiliary aids or services.” (Compl., ¶¶ 2-5.)

In Opposition, Defendant ALMG argues that the Premises operate a restaurant, not a comedy club. (Oppo., p. 3:19-23.) However, as Defendant ALMG has not submitted any judicially noticeable matter that may permit the Court to conclude otherwise, the Court takes Plaintiff’s allegation as true. (Harris v. City of Santa Monica, supra, 56 Cal.4th at p. 240.)

Defendant ALMG also argues the demurrer should be sustained without leave to amend because Plaintiff failed to give it pre-litigation notice as required by Civil Code section 55.3. (Dem., p. 3:24-25.) However, the pre-litigation notice requirement only applies to construction-related disability claims. A “‘construction-related accessibility claim’ means any claim of a violation of any construction-related accessibility standard as defined by paragraph (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 55.2, with respect to a place of public accommodation” and does not include “any claim of interference caused by something other than the construction-related accessibility condition of the property, including but not limited to, the conduct of any person.” (Civ. Code, § 55.3, subd. (a)(2).) (Italics added.) Plaintiff’s Complaint does not allege any construction-related accessibility claims. Rather, he alleges discrimination on the basis of a hearing disability. Thus, the pre-litigation notice requirement of Civil Code section 55.3 is inapplicable.

Relying on Surrey v. True Beginnings, LLC (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 414, Defendant further argues “a person musttender the purchase price for a business’ products or services to have standing to sue it under the Unruh Civil Rights Act for alleged discriminatory practices directed at the plaintiff” and that Plaintiff made no such tender here. (Dem., p. 7:17-25.) (Emphasis in original.) Surrey is distinguishable as the case involved a business that charged different amounts to its customers for services on the basis of sex and a plaintiff who did not actually tender the purchase price for those services. (Surrey v. True Beginnings, LLC (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 414, 416.) The Court held that a person must tender the purchase price for a business’s services or products to have standing to sue it for discriminatory pricing practices. (Id.) Plaintiff’s Complaint does not allege discriminatory pricing practices. In any case, Plaintiff alleges that on April 19, 2019, it patronized the Premises. (Compl., ¶ 4.) Plaintiff need not provide evidence that it purchased a ticket for the comedy show at the demurrer stage as all factual allegations are taken to be true. (Harris v. City of Santa Monica, supra, 56 Cal.4th at p. 240.) Thus, Defendant ALMG’s argument is unpersuasive.

Because Plaintiff alleges he has a disability, that Defendants’ facility is a place of public accommodation, and that he was denied full and equal treatment on a particular occasion on the basis of his disability, the Court finds he has properly stated a cause of action for violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act. Accordingly, Defendant ALMG’s Demurrer is OVERRULED. 

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant ALMG Hospitality, LLC’s Demurrer to Plaintiff’s Complaint is OVERRULED. 

Moving party is ordered to give notice.