Court Finds Standing Requirement for ADA Title III Claim Requires Plaintiff To Have “Concrete and Realistic” Plan to Return to the Hotel
A recent Middle District of Florida decision granted the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s claims for relief under Title III of the ADA based on Plaintiff’s lack of standing to bring such claims. In Kennedy v. Cape Siesta Motel (MD FL Oct 4, 2018) the Plaintiff claims she encountered architectural barriers upon her visit to a motel in Brevard County, Florida. The Plaintiff lives about 175 miles from the motel but has a second home about 79 miles from the motel which she visits two to three times a month. On those occasions she would drive through Brevard County. Plaintiff alleged she “plans to return to Brevard County frequently within the next few months” and those plans include returning to the property “in the near future to avail herself of the goods and services made available.” The Defendant moved to dismiss arguing Plaintiff has no standing to bring her ADA claims because she lives 175 miles from the property, visited at most on only three occasions, and lacks definite plans to return. The Court granted Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss and evaluated the four factors used to determine standing as follows:
1. Proximity to the subject property: Plaintiff has one home 175 miles from the property and another 79 miles from the property. That distance negates the likelihood of future injury. The occasional travel through the county does not alter this conclusion because there is no indication that her travel through this large county brings her near the hotel or that she would be spending the night there to break up the trip. Plaintiff argued that the “proximity” test is inappropriate and should not be applied in the context of a hotel but the Court explicitly rejected that argument.
2. Past patronage: The Court found this factor was met by Plaintiff since she made up to three prior visits.
3. Definite plan to return: Plaintiff failed to demonstrate a definite plan to return. She states generically that she plans to return to the property “in the near future to avail herself of the goods and services made available” but the Court held that these are just “generic statements” of a “some day plan.” Plaintiff’s general plan to return to Brevard County often does not change the analysis. It is a large county and there was no “concrete and realistic plan that Plaintiff will return to the property.”
4. Frequency of travel near the business: Plaintiff did not meet this factor even though she has a second home and travels through the county in which the property is located when going from her primary home to her second home. There was no indication that she would travel near the property when driving through the county.
This case provides a helpful analysis and application of law for Defendants seeking to challenge Title III claims based on standing and it is not necessarily limited to cases involving hotel properties.