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United States District Court for the District of Arizona
January 6, 2021, Decided; January 6, 2021, Filed
No. CV-20-01532-PHX-DJH; No. CV-20-00343-PHX-DJH; No. CV-20-01434-PHX-DJH
Pending before the Court in this consolidated action1 are three Motions in which Defendants argue that pro se Plaintiff Peter Strojnik lacks standing to bring his claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA").2 Additionally, all Defendants have filed Motions to Declare Plaintiff a Vexatious Litigant ("Vexatious Litigant Motions") (Doc. 17; Crescent, Doc. 51; Xenia, Doc. 22).3 The parties have fully briefed the Court on both matters. [*3] For the reasons that follow, the Court will dismiss this case. The Court will also grant Defendants' Motions to Declare Plaintiff a Vexatious Litigant.
I. The Americans with Disabilities Act
Congress enacted the ADA "to provide clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standards addressing discrimination against individuals with disabilities." 42 U.S.C. § 12101(b)(2). It was designed to protect disabled individuals from facing "subtle" discrimination, such as "difficult-to-navigate restrooms and hard-to-open doors." Chapman v. Pier 1 Imports (U.S.) Inc., 631 F.3d 939, 945 (9th Cir. 2011). This kind of discrimination interferes with a disabled individual's "full and equal enjoyment" of public accommodations. Id. (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a)).
Both the Department of Justice and "any person who is being subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability" may bring a civil action against public accommodations, such as hotels, that violate ADA standards. 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181(7)(A), 12188. Like other civil rights causes of action, a private ADA plaintiff's relief is limited to an injunction and an award for costs. 42 U.S.C. § 2000a-3; Molski v. Evergreen Dynasty Corp. ("Evergreen"), 500 F.3d 1047, 1061-62 (9th Cir. 2007). An ADA plaintiff cannot recover damages. Evergreen, 500 F.3d at 1061-62. If [*4] a plaintiff successfully obtains an injunction to remedy the discrimination, "he does so not for himself alone but also as a 'private attorney general,' vindicating a policy that Congress considered of the highest priority." Newman v. Piggie Park Enters., Inc., 390 U.S. 400, 402, 88 S. Ct. 964, 19 L. Ed. 2d 1263 (1968).
Without damages, an ADA plaintiff's only incentive to try a case on the merits is to vindicate the rights of the marginalized. See Evergreen, 500 F.3d at 1062 ("We recognize that the unavailability of damages reduces or removes the incentive for most disabled persons who are injured by inaccessible places of public accommodation to bring suit under the ADA."). If ADA plaintiffs were forced to bear the full cost of litigation, including paying attorneys, such suits would be economically unviable. Many ADA attorneys, too, cannot survive on ideological motivation alone. To address this problem, Congress allowed the prevailing party in an ADA action to receive an award of attorney's fees. 42 U.S.C. § 2000a-3; see also Newman, 390 U.S. at 402 (noting that "Congress therefore enacted the provision for counsel fees—not simply to penalize litigants who deliberately advance arguments they know to be untenable but, more broadly, to encourage individuals" to bring actions).
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1720 *; 2021 WL 50456
Peter Strojnik, Plaintiff, v. Driftwood Hospitality Management LLC, et al., Defendants.
Subsequent History: Reaffirmed, in part, Motion denied by, Motion for new trial granted by, in part, Motion for new trial denied by, in part, Modified by, in part Strojnik v. Driftwood Hospitality Mgmt. LLC, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112960, 2021 WL 2454049 (D. Ariz., June 15, 2021)
Sanctions disallowed by, Motion granted by, Costs and fees proceeding at Strojnik v. Driftwood Hosp. Mgmt. LLC, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141002, 2021 WL 3190863 (D. Ariz., July 28, 2021)
Motion denied by Strojnik v. Driftwood Hospitality Mgmt. LLC, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 224244 (D. Ariz., Nov. 19, 2021)
Costs and fees proceeding at, Motion granted by, in part Strojnik v. Driftwood Hospitality Mgmt. LLC, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 240587 (D. Ariz., Dec. 16, 2021)
Prior History: Strojnik v. New Crescent Invs. LLC, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36248 (D. Ariz., Mar. 2, 2020)
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