Ass'n for Disabled Amer. v. Integra Resort Man.

Decision Date02 August 2005
Docket NumberNo. 603CV1294ORL31JGG.,No. 602CV917ORL31JGG.,No. 603CV264ORL31JGG.,602CV917ORL31JGG.,603CV264ORL31JGG.,603CV1294ORL31JGG.
Citation385 F.Supp.2d 1272
PartiesASSOCIATION FOR DISABLED AMERICANS, INC.; Daniel Ruiz; Jorge Luis Rodriguez, Plaintiffs, v. INTEGRA RESORT MANAGEMENT, INC.; Enclave Resort Hotel, L.L.C., d/b/a The Enclave, Defendants. Access For America, Inc.; Doug Wilder, Plaintiffs, v. The Enclave at Orlando Condominium Association, Inc., Defendant. Disability Advocates And Counseling Group, Inc., Jorge Luis Rodriguez, and Steven Brother, Plaintiffs, v. The Enclave at Orlando Condominium Association, Inc., Defendant.
CourtU.S. District Court — Middle District of Florida

Lori I. Barkus, Charouhis & Associates, LLP, Miami, FL, James Vincent Johnstone, Law Offices of James Johnstone, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, William Nicholas Charouhis, William N. Charouhis & Associates, P.A., Miami, FL, for Plaintiffs.

James Everett Shepherd, V, Teresa N. Phillips, Pohl & Short, P.A., Winter Park, FL, for Defendants.


GLAZEBROOK, United States Magistrate Judge.

Following the settlement of these consolidated ADA Title III premises liability cases, Plaintiffs demanded $147,366.30 in attorneys fees, litigation expenses, and costs. Docket No. 61 at 21. Defendants opposed the amount sought as excessive, but conceded that $20,686.30 was reasonable. Docket No. 69. On February 26, 2004, the undersigned entered a cursory order finding Plaintiffs' demand for $147,366.30 "entirely unreasonable," but finding Defendants' response thorough and well-reasoned. Docket No. 71 at 2. The Court entered a judgment in favor of Plaintiffs for attorney's fees, expenses, and costs, but only to the extent conceded by the defendants. Docket No. 71.

Plaintiffs then appealed the award as insufficient. Docket No. 73. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit remanded the case for the undersigned to articulate the basis for the award so as to permit meaningful review. Association for Disabled Americans, Inc. v. Integra Resort Management, Inc., 387 F.3d 1241 (11th Cir.2004). The Court of Appeals returned the record and issued the decision as a mandate on March 3, 2005, Docket Nos. 96, 98, and the case is now ripe for decision. This Court's order of February 26, 2004 [Docket No. 71] and judgment on attorney's fees of February 27, 2004 [Docket No. 72] are VACATED, and this memorandum of decision is substituted in their place.


First, this memorandum of decision articulates the basis for the original decision, and shows the hourly rate calculations used. 387 F.3d at 1243. This substituted decision sets forth the amount of reasonable attorneys' fees, litigation expenses, expert fees, and costs incurred in this matter that defendants agreed to pay to plaintiff's counsel pursuant to the consent decree. Docket No. 59 at 45; Docket No. 60 at 2.

Second, this order and memorandum of decision raises sua sponte an important issue which the undersigned failed to address in its original decision — an issue which no party has briefed or even raised. The Court must assure itself that a genuine case or controversy exists — in other words, that plaintiffs have standing to seek injunctive relief for a real and immediate threat of injury — and that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction to enter a judgment for attorney's fees, expenses, expert fees, and costs.


Article III, § 2 of the United States Constitution limits federal jurisdiction to actual cases or controversies. A federal court therefore has an obligation to assure itself that a litigant who seeks an injunction has Article III standing at the outset of the litigation. See Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc., 528 U.S. 167, 179 — 80, 120 S.Ct. 693, 145 L.Ed.2d 610 (2000) (initial standing simply assumed but not decided). The standing doctrine ensures that the "scarce resources of the federal courts are devoted to those disputes in which the parties have a concrete stake." 528 U.S. at 191, 120 S.Ct. 693. A party has standing to seek injunctive relief only if the threat of injury is both real and immediate, and not abstract, conjectural, or hypothetical.1 City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 101 — 02, 103 S.Ct. 1660, 75 L.Ed.2d 675 (1983); accord, Shotz v. Cates, 256 F.3d 1077, 1082 (11th Cir.2001).

To satisfy Article III's standing requirements, a plaintiff must show 1.) it has suffered an "injury in fact" that is a.) concrete and particularized and b.) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; 2.) the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant; and 3.) it is likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-561, 112 S.Ct. 2130, 119 L.Ed.2d 351 (1992); accord, Shotz v. Cates, 256 F.3d 1077, 1081 (11th Cir.2001) (these requirements are the "irreducible minimum" required to proceed in federal court). An association has standing to bring suit on behalf of its members when its members would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right, the interests at stake are germane to the organization's purpose, and neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested requires the participation of individual members in the lawsuit. Hunt v. Washington State Apple Advertising Comm'n, 432 U.S. 333, 343, 97 S.Ct. 2434, 53 L.Ed.2d 383 (1977); Friends of the Earth, 528 U.S. at 181, 120 S.Ct. 693.

A plaintiff may have standing, for example, to enjoin toxic discharges into a nearby river that he would use for recreation if it were not polluted. Friends of the Earth, 528 U.S. at 184, 120 S.Ct. 693 (seeking to enjoin toxic discharges that directly affect plaintiffs' recreational, aesthetic, and economic interests). In contrast, litigants may not base Article III standing on mere "general averments" and "conclusory allegations," Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 888, 110 S.Ct. 3177, 111 L.Ed.2d 695 (1990), or on speculative "some day" intentions to visit endangered species halfway around the world, Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 564, 112 S.Ct. 2130, 119 L.Ed.2d 351 (1992). See Friends of the Earth, 528 U.S. at 184, 120 S.Ct. 693.

An ADA plaintiff therefore lacks standing to seek an injunction unless he alleges facts giving rise to an inference that he will suffer future discrimination by the defendant. Shotz v. Cates, 256 F.3d at 1081. In Shotz, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit determined that ADA plaintiffs lacked Article III standing to seek injunctive relief because they had never attempted to return to the offending courthouse, and had not even alleged that they intend to do so in the future. The likelihood of future discrimination therefore remained "conjectural, hypothetical, or contingent" and not "real and immediate." Shotz v. Cates, 256 F.3d at 1082 (ADA Title II public entity case); following Emory v. Peeler, 756 F.2d 1547, 1552 (11th Cir.1985).

Standing is a threshold jurisdictional issue which must be addressed prior to and independent of the merits of a party's claims. Bochese v. Town of Ponce Inlet, 405 F.3d 964, 974 (11th Cir.2005). A court must zealously assure that jurisdiction exists over a case, and should itself raise the question of subject matter jurisdiction at any point in the litigation where a doubt about jurisdiction arises. Smith v. GTE Corp., 236 F.3d 1292, 1299 (11th Cir.2001).


Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination against the disabled in the full and equal enjoyment of public accommodations. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a).2 The general prohibitions are supplemented by various specific requirements. Entities that provide public accommodations 1.) may not impose "eligibility criteria" that tend to screen out disabled individuals, § 12182(b)(2)(A)(i); 2.) must make "reasonable modifications in polices, practices, or procedures, when such modifications are necessary" to provide disabled individuals full and equal enjoyment, § 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii); 3.) must provide auxiliary aids and services to disabled individuals, § 12182(b)(2)(A)(iii); and 4.) must remove architectural and structural barriers, or if barrier removal is not readily achievable, must ensure equal access for the disabled through alternative methods, § 12182(b)(2)(A)(iv)-(v).3 See Spector v. Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd., ___ U.S ___, ___, 125 S.Ct. 2169, 2176, 162 L.Ed.2d 97 (2005).

As noted by the Supreme Court in Spector, 125 S.Ct at 2176, these specific requirements, in turn, are subject to important exceptions and limitations. Policies, practices, and procedures need not be modified, and auxiliary aids need not be provided, if doing so would "fundamentally alter" the services or accommodations being offered. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii)-(iii) The barrier removal and alternative access requirements do not apply when these requirements are not "readily achievable," §§ 12182(b)(2)(A)(iv)-(v). Additionally, structural modifications are not readily achievable within the meaning of § 12181(9) if it would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others. 125 S.Ct. at 2181. Title III requires a public accommodation to make an individualized inquiry as to whether a specific modification for a particular person's disability would be reasonable and necessary for that person, and yet not work a fundamental alteration. PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin, 532 U.S. 661, 688, 121 S.Ct. 1879, 149 L.Ed.2d 904 (2001).


The United States District Courts in Florida have recently adjudicated a flood of ADA premises liability cases, many of which have been brought by Charouhis, Rodriguez, Brother, and various associations for the disabled. The following is a chronology of the relevant decisions, divided into cases that preceded this Court's February...

To continue reading

Request your trial
62 cases
  • Monelus v. Tocodrian, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Florida
    • April 23, 2009
    ...regarding the proposed cost is within the exclusive knowledge of the prevailing party. See Ass'n for Disabled Americans, Inc. v. Integra Resort Mgmt., Inc., 385 F.Supp.2d 1272, 1288 (M.D.Fla.2005); Desisto College, Inc. v. Town of Howey-in-the Hills, 718 F.Supp. 906, 910 n. 1 (M.D.Fla.1989)......
  • Hexion Specialty Chemicals Inc. v. Oak-Bark Corp.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of North Carolina
    • June 26, 2012
    ...Sch. Dist., No. C04-2014, 2005 WL 2807110, at *5 (N.D. Iowa Oct. 26, 2005) (unpublished); Ass'n for Disabled Ams., Inc. v. Integra Resort Mgmt. Inc., 385 F. Supp. 2d 1272,1303-04 (M.D. Fla. 2005). Next, Hexion argues that Oak-Bark cannot recover $2,000 in escrow agent fees. Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n......
  • Fine v. Baer
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Florida
    • April 5, 2017
    ...regarding the proposed cost lies within the exclusive knowledge of the prevailing party. Ass'n for Disabled Ams., Inc. v. Integra Resort Mgmt., Inc., 385 F. Supp. 2d 1272, 1288 (M.D. Fla. 2005). Defendant only raises one objection to the requested costs - that the costs for deposition trans......
  • Jones v. Eagle-North Hills Shopping Centre, L.P.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Oklahoma
    • March 21, 2007
    ...or without the aid of witnesses as to value or hours dedicated to litigation." See Association for Disabled Americans, Inc. v. Integra Resort Management, Inc., 385 F.Supp.2d 1272, 1287 (M.D.Fla.2005). In its objection, Defendant's counsel provides two affidavits — one by Mark Edwards, defen......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
    • United States
    • Full Court Press Travel Law
    • Invalid date
    ...are inaccessible to individuals with disabilities"); Association For Disabled Americans, Inc. v. Integra Resort Management, Inc., 385 F. Supp. 2d 1272 (M.D. Fla. 2005) (attorneys' fees application after settlement of ADA cases); Association For Disables Americans, Inc. v. Kay Largo Bay Beac......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT