This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 01/14/2021 at 00:38:02 (UTC).

JOSE ESTRADA VS HOME DEPOT U.S.A.,INC.A DELAWARE CORPORATION

Case Summary

On 05/08/2019 JOSE ESTRADA filed a Civil Right - Other Civil Right lawsuit against HOME DEPOT U S A ,INC A DELAWARE 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 WENDY CHANG. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******4488

  • Filing Date:

    05/08/2019

  • 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

WENDY CHANG

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

ESTRADA JOSE

Defendant

HOME DEPOT U.S.A. INC.A DELAWARE CORPORATION

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

GRACE PHYL

Defendant Attorney

HURLEY GREG

 

Court Documents

Memorandum of Points & Authorities - Memorandum of Points & Authorities

10/30/2020: Memorandum of Points & Authorities - Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Separate Statement - Separate Statement

10/30/2020: Separate Statement - Separate Statement

Notice (name extension) - Notice Proposed Order Granting Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment

10/30/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice Proposed Order Granting Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration Declaration of Chilleen in Support of MSJ

10/30/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration Declaration of Chilleen in Support of MSJ

Objection (name extension) - Objection Defendant's Evidentiary Objections in Opposition to Plaintiff's MSJ

12/29/2020: Objection (name extension) - Objection Defendant's Evidentiary Objections in Opposition to Plaintiff's MSJ

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition Defendant's Opposition to Plaintiff Estrada's Statement of Uncontroverted Facts and Conclusions of Law

12/29/2020: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition Defendant's Opposition to Plaintiff Estrada's Statement of Uncontroverted Facts and Conclusions of Law

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Iberra in Support of Defendant's Opposition to Plaintiff's MSJ

12/29/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Iberra in Support of Defendant's Opposition to Plaintiff's MSJ

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment

12/30/2020: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration and Exhibits

1/5/2021: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration and Exhibits

Reply (name extension) - Reply Defendant Home Depot's Reply iso Motion for Summary Judgment

1/7/2021: Reply (name extension) - Reply Defendant Home Depot's Reply iso Motion for Summary Judgment

Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

1/12/2021: Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

Stipulation and Order (name extension) - Stipulation and Order to Continue Trial and Associated Pretrial Deadlines

7/17/2020: Stipulation and Order (name extension) - Stipulation and Order to Continue Trial and Associated Pretrial Deadlines

Notice (name extension) - Notice Plaintiffs Statement of Uncontroverted Facts and Conclusions of Law

7/23/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice Plaintiffs Statement of Uncontroverted Facts and Conclusions of Law

Motion for Summary Judgment - Motion for Summary Judgment

7/23/2020: Motion for Summary Judgment - Motion for Summary Judgment

Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

7/24/2020: Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information - Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

9/27/2019: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information - Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

5/8/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Summons - Summons on Complaint

5/8/2019: Summons - Summons on Complaint

20 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/11/2022
  • Hearing05/11/2022 at 10:30 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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  • 02/24/2021
  • Hearing02/24/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 02/03/2021
  • Hearing02/03/2021 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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  • 01/13/2021
  • Hearing01/13/2021 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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  • 01/08/2021
  • DocketSeparate Statement; Filed by: HOME DEPOT U.S.A.,INC.a Delaware Corporation (Defendant)

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  • 01/08/2021
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 01/08/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Summary Judgment scheduled for 01/13/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 01/08/2021
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment scheduled for 01/12/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court was rescheduled to 02/03/2021 10:30 AM

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  • 01/07/2021
  • DocketReply Defendant Home Depot's Reply iso Motion for Summary Judgment; Filed by: HOME DEPOT U.S.A.,INC.a Delaware Corporation (Defendant)

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  • 01/05/2021
  • DocketReply Brief in support of Motion for Summary Judgment; Filed by: JOSE ESTRADA (Plaintiff)

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23 More Docket Entries
  • 06/03/2019
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: HOME DEPOT U.S.A.,INC.a Delaware Corporation (Defendant); As to: JOSE ESTRADA (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/21/2019
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: JOSE ESTRADA (Plaintiff); Service Date: 05/13/2019; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 05/09/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 11/04/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 05/09/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 05/11/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 05/09/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Wendy Chang in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 05/08/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: JOSE ESTRADA (Plaintiff); As to: HOME DEPOT U.S.A.,INC.a Delaware Corporation (Defendant)

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  • 05/08/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: JOSE ESTRADA (Plaintiff); As to: HOME DEPOT U.S.A.,INC.a Delaware Corporation (Defendant)

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  • 05/08/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: JOSE ESTRADA (Plaintiff); As to: HOME DEPOT U.S.A.,INC.a Delaware Corporation (Defendant)

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  • 05/08/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 05/08/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC04488    Hearing Date: January 13, 2021    Dept: 26

Estrada v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., et al.

MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

(CCP § 437c)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Home Depot U.S.A., Inc.’s Motion for Summary Judgment, or in the alternative, Summary Adjudication, is DENIED.

ANALYSIS:

Plaintiff Jose Estrada (“Plaintiff”) filed the instant action for violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act (“the Unruh Act”) against Defendant Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. (“Defendant”) on May 8, 2019. Defendant filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment or in the alternative, Summary Adjudication against Plaintiff on October 30, 2020. Plaintiff filed an opposition on December 30, 2020. The opposition was untimely served by overnight express on the same date, in violation of Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, subdivision (b)(2).

Discussion

Plaintiff alleges he is a California resident with physical disabilities. (Compl., ¶1.) He further alleges that when he visited Defendant’s store in Paramount, California in June 2017 “there were no accessible service and sales counters in the returns section of the Store,” nor was there any signage telling persons with disabilities that other counters in the return area existed for persons with disabilities. (Id. at ¶9.) The alleged lack of accessible service and sales counters denied Plaintiff full and equal access to the store. (Id. at ¶11.) Plaintiff further alleges that he originally filed this action in federal court on May 8, 2018 and that Defendant removed the accessibility barrier in the returns section of the store during the pendency of that action. (Id. at ¶12.)

Defendants’ Initial Burden of Proof

A defendant seeking summary judgment must show either (1) that one or more elements of the cause of action cannot be established; or (2) that there is a complete defense to that cause of action. (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (p)(2).) Plaintiff is under no evidentiary burden to produce rebuttal evidence until Defendants meet their initial moving burden. (Binder v. Aetna Life Insurance Company (1999) 75 Cal.App.4th 832, 839-840.)

A violation of the American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) is a violation of section 51, subdivision (f) of California’s Unruh Act. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant violated the ADA by failing to “ensure that the privileges, advantages, accommodations, facilities, goods and services of any place of public accommodation is offered on a full and equal basis by anyone who owns, leases, or operates a place of public accommodation.” (Compl., ¶16 (citing 42 U.S.C., § 12182, subd. (a).)

Accordingly, the elements of a claim for violation of the Unruh Act are that: (1) Plaintiff is a qualified individual with a disability; (2) Defendant owned, leased, or operated a place of public accommodation; (3) the place of public accommodation was in violation of one or more construction-related accessibility standards; (4) the violations denied Plaintiff full and equal access to the place of public accommodation; (5) the violations were personally encountered by Plaintiff on a particular occasion; (6) Plaintiff experienced difficulty, discomfort or embarrassment due to the violations; and (7) the discrimination was intentional unless premised exclusively upon a violation of the ADA. (Cal. Civ. Code § 55.56; Mundy v. Pro-Thro Enterprises (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th Supp. 1; Surrey v. TrueBeginnings (2009) 168 Cal.App.4th 414.)

Defendant moves for summary judgment on the grounds that Plaintiff cannot show (1) the “cluttered” counter theory is viable under the law; (2) he was denied full and equal access; (3) he encountered a barrier that caused him difficulty, discomfort or embarrassment; or (4) intentional discrimination. Defendant alternatively moves for summary adjudication on these bases.

In support of its Motion, Defendant presents the following evidence. On the date of Plaintiff’s June 19, 2017 visit to its store, there was a regular returns counter and lower returns counter. (Motion, Separate Statement, Fact No. 1; Ibarra Decl., ¶2 and Exh. A; Chilleen Decl., Exh. B.) The lower returns counter was 36 inches width and 34 inches high. (Motion, Separate Statement, Fact No. 1; Ibarra Decl., ¶2 and Exh. A; Chilleen Decl., Exh. B.) Plaintiff did not have to place his merchandise on the counter to return it. (Motion, Separate Statement, Fact No. 2; Chilleen Decl., Exh. E, p. 15:25-17:20.) Plaintiff was able to effectuate his merchandise return. (Motion, Separate Statement, Fact Nos. 3-4; Chilleen Decl., Exh. E, p. 15:25-17:20.) Removing the computer terminal and any other items on the lowered counter on the date of Plaintiff’s visit would have taken less than five minutes. (Motion, Separate Statement, Fact No. 5; Ibarra Decl., ¶2.)

This evidence demonstrates that there was a lower counter in the returns area for disabled individuals to access. Under section 904.4.1 of the 2010 ADA Standards a counter must be no more than 36 inches above the floor. Defendant argues there is no requirement under the law that the counter space be “clear,” that is, free of clutter and cites to numerous federal cases addressing the issue. (See Kong v. Mana Investment Company, LLC (9th Cir. June 17, 2020) No. 19-55577; Johnson v. Starbucks Corp. (N.D. Cal. 2019) 2019 WL 1427435, *2-3.)

While the lower counter did have a computer terminal and other items on it, Defendant contends that those items could be moved in less than five minutes. (Motion, Separate Statement, Fact No. 5; Ibarra Decl., ¶2.) It points to case law that has found where accessibility barriers have been corrected, there is no violation of the law. In Skaff v. Meredien North America Beverly Hills, LLC (9th Cir. 2007) 506 F.3d 832, 839-840, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the failure of a hotel to provide the plaintiff with a roll-in shower as requested was not a violation of the law because the failure was corrected by the next day. (Skaff v. Meredien North America Beverly Hills, LLC (9th Cir. 2007) 506 F.3d 832.) “The ancient maxims of de minimis non curat lex and lex non curat de minimis teach that the law cares not about trifles. (Citations omitted.) The mere delay during correction of the problem is too trifling to support constitutional standing.” (Id. at 839-840.) Similarly, here, Defendant has provided evidence that any obstruction on the counter could have easily been corrected.

Next, Defendant argues that Plaintiff was not caused difficulty, discomfort or embarrassment due to any alleged violation. It presents evidence that Defendant was able to complete his transaction without difficulty. Plaintiff testified that he handed the cashier his receipt at the returns counter and the cashier handed him cash back. (Motion, Separate Statement, Fact Nos. 3-4; Chilleen Decl., Exh. E, pp. 15:25-17:20.)

Finally, Defendant contends Plaintiff cannot prove intentional discrimination as required to make a claim under the Unruh Act. (Munson v. Del Taco, Inc. (2009) 46 Cal.4th 661, 668-670 [holding that the intentional discrimination requirement of the Unruh Act does not apply if the accessibility violation is also a violation of the ADA].) Defendant relies on the existence of the lower returns counter to show it never intentionally discriminated against persons with physical disabilities.

Defendant’s evidence carries its initial burden of proof that Plaintiff cannot prove all the elements of an Unruh violation. The burden now shifts to Plaintiff to demonstrate the existence of triable issues of material fact.

Plaintiff’s Burden to Demonstrate the Existence of a Triable Issue of Material Fact

In opposition, Plaintiff presents the declaration of a private investigator, Evens Louis, who went to the store in question on July 6, 2017. (Opp., Separate Statement, Fact No. 1; Louis Decl. attached to Motion filed 7/23/20, ¶¶1-3.) Louis declares that he measured the returns counter at the store and it was 42 inches high. (Opp., Separate Statement, Fact No. 1; Louis Decl. attached to Motion filed 7/23/20, ¶¶1-3.) While this does not address Defendant’s contention that there were two return counters at the store, Plaintiff’s own declaration does dispute that there were two return counters. Plaintiff declares that he looked around and did not see a lower counter and had to use the counter that was too tall for him. (Opp., Separate Statement, Fact No. 1; Estrada Decl. attached to Motion filed 7/23/20, ¶¶5-7.) This creates a triable issue of material fact regarding whether there were in fact two return counters at the store on the date of Plaintiff’s visit.

Plaintiff also states in his declaration that he was not able to complete the transaction by himself and needed his son to sign for him because he could not reach the counter. (Opp., Separate Statement, Fact No. 1; Estrada Decl. attached to Motion filed 7/23/20, ¶¶8-9.) He declares that requiring his son’s assistance caused him difficulty, discomfort and embarrassment. ((Opp., Separate Statement, Fact No. 1; Estrada Decl. attached to Motion filed 7/23/20, ¶9.) This evidence also creates a triable issue of material fact as to whether the purported violation of the ADA and Unruh Act caused Plaintiff to suffer difficulty, discomfort and embarrassment.

The foregoing evidence is sufficient to demonstrate the existence of triable issues of material fact as to Plaintiff’s ability to prove the allegations in the Complaint.

Conclusion

Defendant Home Depot U.S.A., Inc.’s Motion for Summary Judgment, or in the alternative, Summary Adjudication, is DENIED.

Plaintiff to give notice.