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Vandeusen v. Bordentown Investors

January 29, 2009

LINDA VANDEUSEN, AND ADVOCATES FOR DISABLED AMERICANS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
BORDENTOWN INVESTORS, LLC, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hillman, District Judge

OPINION

Before the Court is defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim. For the reasons stated below, defendant's motion is denied without prejudice and plaintiff shall file an amended complaint within twenty (20) days.

I. JURISDICTION

Plaintiff Linda Vandeusen has alleged that she was discriminated against in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and, therefore, this Court exercises subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question jurisdiction).

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Vandeusen alleges that she is disabled due to "dystonia musculorum deformans" a rare neuromuscular disease that impairs her ability to walk and use her legs. She states that she is disabled under the ADA and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("LAD") and uses a wheelchair and service dog.

Plaintiff Advocates for Disabled Americans ("AFDA")is a non-profit civil rights organization incorporated in New Jersey with offices in Camden County, New Jersey. Its stated purpose is to enforce the rights of the disabled.

Plaintiff Vandeusen alleges that defendant discriminated against her by failing to provide proper accommodations at its strip mall in Bordentown, New Jersey ("Bordentown Mall"). She alleges that in October 2007, she visited defendant's strip mall and suffered harm while attempting to patronize the stores located at the mall due to physical barriers and unsafe conditions. Particularly, she alleges that:

1. Parking spaces designated as accessible are not in fact accessible;

2. Parking spaces designated as accessible do not have clear and level access aisles;

3. There is no accessible route to and from all public areas, spaces, elements and amenities at the defendant's facilities; and

4. There is no accessible route from all parking spaces designated as accessible to the facilities.

Plaintiff states that she intends to visit the strip mall again in the near future but will be unable to do so because of her disability due to the physical barriers to access and unsafe conditions in violation of the ADA and LAD. Plaintiffs seek equitable relief directing defendant to alter the strip mall to comply with the law, or alternatively, to close the strip mall until it complies with the ADA and LAD.

Defendants seek to dismiss the AFDA's claims on the ground that it has no standing and seeks to dismiss plaintiff Vandeusen's request for injunctive relief because she has not met the necessary ...


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