United States District Court, D. Minnesota
PADRAIGIN BROWNE, BROWNE LAW LLC, FOR PLAINTIFF.
P. SHEU, BEST & FLANAGAN LLP, FOR DEFENDANTS.
PATRICK J. SCHILTZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Scott Smith (who uses a wheelchair) brought this action under
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12181 et seq., alleging
that he encountered architectural barriers while visiting
Bierstube Bowl & Grill (“Bierstube”), a
bowling alley and restaurant operated by defendants. In his
original complaint, Smith alleged that Bierstube's
parking lot violated the ADA in the following ways: (1) it
lacked a sufficient number of accessible parking spaces; (2)
none of the accessible spaces were marked with signs; (3) one
of the accessible spaces lacked an accessible route to the
sidewalk surrounding the building; and (4) one of the
accessible spaces lacked an adjacent access aisle. Compl.
¶¶ 14-16, 23.
moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the alleged
problems had been remedied and that Smith's claims were
therefore moot. ECF Nos. 31, 34. In response, Smith filed an
amended complaint alleging additional problems with the
parking lot. ECF No. 61. Bierstube withdrew its motion to
dismiss, and the parties engaged in discovery.
matter is before the Court on the parties' cross-motions
for summary judgment and motions to exclude expert testimony.
For the reasons that follow, the Court grants Bierstube's
summary-judgment motion in part and dismisses this case
without prejudice for lack of jurisdiction.
lives in Burnsville, Minnesota, a large suburb of the Twin
Cities. Smith Dep. 13. Bierstube is located in Red Wing,
Minnesota, a small town that is about 50 miles from
Burnsville. Smith Dep. 39. Smith says that he travels through
Red Wing several times per year, including when he visits his
brother in Stockton, Minnesota. Smith Decl. ¶ 2.
Stockton is about 110 miles from Burnsville and about 60
miles from Red Wing.
25, 2017, Smith was driven to Red Wing and then to nearby
Winona by Peter Hansmeier, a legal assistant employed by
Smith's attorney, Padraigin Browne. Smith Dep. 31;
Hansmeier Dep. 9-10, 33-34. Browne has represented Smith in
roughly 100 lawsuits challenging architectural barriers under
the ADA. Peter Hansmeier is the brother of Paul Hansmeier,
who is Browne's husband, and who represented Smith in
numerous ADA actions until he was disbarred in connection
with his operation of a “porn-trolling”
Hansmeier did not drive Smith to various businesses in Red
Wing and Winona on May 25, 2017, because Smith intended to
patronize those businesses. Smith Dep. 39. Instead, Hansmeier
and Smith were hunting for lawsuits. Hansmeier drove Smith to
various businesses so that Smith could observe whether each
of the businesses was ADA compliant. All told, Smith
initiated 13 lawsuits against businesses in Red Wing and
Winona based on his May 25 drive with Hansmeier. Smith Dep.
41 (referring to “ten other places” that he sued
in addition to the three for which he was being deposed).
the businesses that Smith visited on May 25-and eventually
sued-was Bierstube. Hansmeier drove Smith into the Bierstube
parking lot at around 10:00 am, and Smith observed various
alleged architectural barriers in the parking lot. Smith Dep.
128. Smith did not know if Bierstube was open, and he had not
checked its hours of operation before going there. Smith Dep.
39-40. Again, Smith did not care whether Bierstube or the
other businesses were open, as he had no interest in
patronizing them on that day.
noted, Smith alleged in his initial complaint that there were
an insufficient number of accessible parking spots in the
Bierstube parking lot. But as is clear from the photographs
that Hansmeier and Smith took on May 25, all of the
accessible spots in the Bierstube parking lot were available
at the time of their visit, and all of them were easy to
identify. Smith Decl. ¶ 6 & Ex. A.
Standard of Review
judgment is warranted “if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A dispute over a fact is
“material” only if its resolution might affect
the outcome of the suit under the governing substantive law.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). A dispute over a fact is “genuine” only
if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving ...