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Sanzaro v. Ardiente Homeowners Association LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 21, 2014

DEBORAH SANZARO and MICHAEL SANZARO, Plaintiffs,
v.
ARDIENTE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION LLC, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

PHILIP M. PRO, District Judge.

Presently before the Court is Defendants Leach Johnson Song & Gruchow and John Leach's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint as to Plaintiff Michael Sanzaro (Doc. #69), filed on August 5, 2013. On the same day, Defendants Ardiente Homeowners Association LLC, Scott Harris, Corona Ardiente LLC, James Marsh, Linda Kemper, Margo Hughen, Ryan Smith, Laury Phelps, RMI Management LLC, and Kevin Wallace filed a Joinder (Doc. #70) in the Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff Michael Sanzaro filed an Opposition (Doc. #71) on August 14, 2013. Defendants did not file a Reply.

Also before the Court is Plaintiff Michael Sanzaro's Motion that Defendant's Counsel Committed "Fraud Upon This Court" in Their Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Michael Sanzaro (Doc. #73), filed on August 14, 2013. Defendants Leach Johnson Song & Gruchow and John Leach filed an Opposition (Doc. #76), to which Defendants Ardiente Homeowners Association LLC, Scott Harris, Corona Ardiente LLC, James Marsh, Linda Kemper, Margo Hughen, Ryan Smith, Laury Phelps, RMI Management LLC, and Kevin Wallace filed a Joinder (Doc. #77), on September 3, 2013. Plaintiff Michael Sanzaro filed a Reply (Doc. #79) on September 9, 2013.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Michael Sanzaro ("Mr. Sanzaro") and his wife, Deborah Sanzaro ("Mrs. Sanzaro"), are residents of North Las Vegas and have been members of Defendant Ardiente Homeowners Association LLC ("the HOA") since November 2007. (Compl. (Doc. #78) at 2.) Defendant Leach Johnson Song & Gruchow, a law firm in Las Vegas of which Defendant John Leach is a partner, represents the HOA. (Id. at 7; Answer (Doc. #67) at 2.) The issue in this case is whether Mrs. Sanzaro should be allowed to have her Chihuahua dog ("Angel") accompany her as a service animal in the HOA clubhouse. (Compl. at 4, 10.) Plaintiffs' claims arise out of three incidents as alleged in the Complaint.

First, Plaintiffs allege that on March 11, 2009, Mrs. Sanzaro, accompanied by Angel, entered the HOA clubhouse when Defendant Laury Phelps ("Phelps"), the Community Manager of the HOA at the time, approached Mrs. Sanzaro and requested proof that Angel was a service animal. (Id.) Plaintiffs allege Mrs. Sanzaro stated she was a disabled person and showed Phelps a "registered service dog' patch on the dog leash." (Id.) Mrs. Sanzaro stated Angel was trained to retrieve items and assist with reducing Mrs. Sanzaro's pain. (Id.) Plaintiffs allege that Phelps insisted Mrs. Sanzaro and Angel leave the clubhouse unless Mrs. Sanzaro could provide paperwork, and that Phelps ultimately called security to escort Mrs. Sanzaro out of the clubhouse. (Id.) Plaintiffs further allege Defendants John Leach and Leach Johnson Song & Gruchow advised the HOA to violate the ADA and FHA by requesting documentation of Angel's training. (Id. at 51.)

Second, Plaintiffs allege that on July 26, 2010, Mrs. Sanzaro, accompanied by Angel and Mr. Sanzaro, entered the HOA clubhouse to purchase a device for the HOA gates. (Id. at 13.) Plaintiffs allege that Phelps told both Mr. and Mrs. Sanzaro to leave the clubhouse, to which Mr. Sanzaro replied that Mrs. Sanzaro is disabled and Angel is her trained service animal, and he showed Phelps the "registered service dog" patch on Angel's leash. (Id. at 13-14.) Plaintiffs further allege that Phelps then called the police and threatened to press charges against Plaintiffs, at which point Plaintiffs left the clubhouse. (Id. at 14.)

Third, Plaintiffs allege that on January 29, 2011, Mrs. Sanzaro, again accompanied by Angel and Mr. Sanzaro, went to the HOA clubhouse to use the library. (Id. at 17.) Plaintiffs allege the new Community Manager, non-party Mr. Winkel, had been ordered by Defendants[1] to bar access to the clubhouse because Plaintiffs had not provided documents proving Angel was a service animal. (Id.) Plaintiffs allege that Mr. Sanzaro explained Angel's training to retrieve items and insisted that Plaintiffs do not need to provide documentation under federal and state statutes. (Id.) However, Plaintiffs allege that in the end they "did not want to be confrontational" with the new Community Manager and they voluntarily left the clubhouse. (Id.)

Based on these incidents, Plaintiffs brought 102 causes of action for "discrimination against the disabled, breach of contract and other torts, " including claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12182, and the Fair Housing Act ("FHA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-19. (Id. at 1, 9-19, 51.) This Court previously dismissed Plaintiffs' suit, and judgment was entered in favor of Defendants on all claims. (Order (Doc. #33); Clerk's J. (Doc. #34).) On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held the HOA clubhouse is a public place under the ADA and vacated this Court's dismissal of Plaintiffs' claims under the ADA and the FHA. (Mem. (Doc. #55) at 2-4.) At a status hearing on July 22, 2013, the Court confirmed that Plaintiffs' remaining claims on remand are under the ADA and FHA. (Mins. of Proceedings (Doc. #66).) Plaintiffs subsequently refiled the Complaint (Doc. #78) with all 102 claims. However, because the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part, the only claims remaining are the first, second, sixth, seventh, eleventh, twelfth, and seventy-first claims, as these refer to violations of either the ADA or FHA, or both.[2] (See Compl. at 9-19, 51.)

Defendants Leach Johnson Song & Gruchow and John Leach now move to dismiss the Complaint as to Plaintiff Mr. Sanzaro, arguing Mr. Sanzaro fails to allege he suffered any injury and therefore he lacks standing. Mr. Sanzaro opposes the motion, arguing he was injured by Defendants while accompanying Mrs. Sanzaro and Angel. Mr. Sanzaro further argues he has been injured because Plaintiffs were jointly assessed fines and legal fees and are barred from the HOA common areas until the fines are paid. Mr. Sanzaro alternatively requests leave to amend the Complaint to add his name to the claims in the Complaint that mention only Mrs. Sanzaro.

Additionally, Mr. Sanzaro moves the Court to find Defendants committed fraud upon the Court in filing their Motion to Dismiss. He argues that Defendants misinterpreted and misrepresented the Ninth Circuit's order. Defendants respond that they interpreted the law differently from Mr. Sanzaro, and that a disagreement does not rise to fraud upon the Court.

II. MOTION TO DISMISS

In considering a motion to dismiss, "all well-pleaded allegations of material fact are taken as true and construed in a light most favorable to the non-moving party." Wyler Summit P'ship v. Turner Broad. Sys., Inc., 135 F.3d 658, 661 (9th Cir. 1998) (quotation omitted). However, the Court does not necessarily assume the truth of legal conclusions merely because they are cast in the form of factual allegations in the plaintiff's complaint. Doe v. Holy See, 557 F.3d 1066, 1073 (9th Cir. 2009). A plaintiff must make sufficient factual allegations to establish a plausible entitlement to relief. Bell Atl. Corp. v Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007). Such allegations must amount to "more than labels and conclusions, [or] a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Id . at 555. Further, "where the petitioner is pro se, particularly in civil rights cases, " the Court has an obligation "to construe the pleadings liberally and to afford the petitioner the benefit of any doubt." Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010).

When a motion to dismiss is filed for lack of standing and the moving party does not introduce additional evidence, the court is limited to a review of the Complaint. Holy See, 557 F.3d at 1073; Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1).[3] Although Defendants are the moving party, Plaintiffs have the burden of proving standing. Tosco Corp. v. Cmtys. for a Better Env't., 236 F.3d 495, 499 (9th Cir. ...


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