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Kral v. Temperato

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

November 13, 2014

MARLA KRAL, Plaintiff,
JAMES D. TEMPERATO, et al., Defendants.



This matter is before the Court on Defendants James D. Temperato and Adrian J. Temperato's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (Doc. 30), and Defendant JDT Enterprise, Inc.'s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (Doc. 45). For the reasons stated below, both motions will be denied.


Plaintiff Marla Kral ("Plaintiff") is an individual with a disability related to complications from a broken neck. On March 14, 2010, Plaintiff went to the Dairy Queen restaurant in Hillsboro, Missouri, parked in a disabled parking spot, and went into the restaurant. As she was coming out of the restaurant, Plaintiff stepped off of the sidewalk onto an allegedly faulty curb ramp, tripped, fell, and sustained injuries.

In her Amended Complaint, Plaintiff brings three counts against the owners and/or operators of the Dairy Queen restaurant: Defendants James D. Temperato, Adrian J. Temperato, and JDT Enterprises, Inc. (collectively, "Defendants"). In Count I, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants discriminated against her in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. (the "ADA"), by failing to provide ADA-compliant parking facilities and curb ramps. Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief and attorney fees. In Count II, Plaintiff asserts a common-law negligence claim and seeks damages. In Count III, Plaintiff seeks punitive damages.

In their motions to dismiss, Defendants assert that Plaintiff lacks standing to bring an ADA claim because her disability is unrelated to the alleged ADA violations at issue. Defendants also argue that if the Court dismisses the ADA claim, it should not exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims.


A. Legal Standard

A motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) may be either a "facial" challenge or a "factual" challenge. Titus v. Sullivan, 4 F.3d 590, 593 (8th Cir. 1993); Gaylor v. GS Brentwood, No. 4:11-CV-506 CAS, 2011 WL 5079588, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Oct. 25, 2011). If the movant brings a facial challenge, "all of the factual allegations concerning jurisdiction are presumed to be true, " and the motion should be granted "if the plaintiff fails to allege an element necessary for subject matter jurisdiction" Titus, 4 F.3d at 593. On the other hand, if the movant brings a factual challenge, "the court may receive competent evidence such as affidavits, deposition testimony, and the like in order to determine the factual dispute." Id. Where the movant raises a factual attack, "no presumptive truthfulness attaches to the plaintiff's allegations, and the existence of disputed material facts will not preclude the trial court from evaluating for itself the merits of jurisdictional claims.'" Osborn v. United States, 918 F.2d 724, 730 (8th Cir. 1990) (quoting Mortensen v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 549 F.2 884, 891 (3d Cir. 1977)); see also Iowa League of Cities v. Envtl. Prot. Agency, 711 F.3d 844, 870 (8th Cir. 2013) (noting that where the defendant brings a factual challenge to subject matter jurisdiction, the plaintiff "must establish standing without the benefit of any inferences in [her] favor") (quotation marks omitted). The party seeking to litigate in federal court "ha[s] the burden of establishing jurisdiction, including standing, by a preponderance of the evidence." Iowa League of Cities, 711 F.3d at 844 (quotation marks omitted).

Here, Defendants raise a factual challenge to the Court's subject matter jurisdiction, so the Court must consider the affidavits and deposition testimony in the record, weigh the evidence, and determine whether Plaintiff has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that jurisdiction exists.

B. Plaintiff Has Standing to Bring Her ADA Claims

Title III of the ADA "proscribes discrimination in places of public accommodation against persons with disabilities." Steger v. Franco, Inc., 228 F.3d 889, 892 (8th Cir. 2000) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a)). Such discrimination includes "a failure to remove architectural barriers... in existing facilities... where such removal is readily achievable." 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(iv). "The ADA grants a private right of action for injunctive relief to, inter alia, any person who is being subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability.'" Steger, 228 F.3d at 892 (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 12188(a)(1)). The ADA defines a "disability" as "(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of [an] individual...." 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1)(A).

Under Article III, section 2, of the United States Constitution, federal jurisdiction is limited to actual cases and controversies. See Steger, 228 F.3d at 892. The question of the plaintiff's standing to sue under Article III "is the threshold question in every federal case, determining the power of the court to entertain the suit.'" Id. (quoting Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 498 (1975)). "To show Article III standing, a plaintiff has the burden of proving: (1) that he or she suffered an injury-in-fact, ' (2) a causal relationship between the injury and the challenged conduct, and (3) that the injury will likely be redressed by a favorable decision." Id. (citing Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61 (1992)).

Defendants argue that Plaintiff has failed to satisfy the "injury-in-fact" requirement for two reasons: (1) her disability is unrelated to the ADA violations for which she seeks relief, and (2) she has failed to show a threat of ...

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