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Cottrell v. United Parcel Service

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

April 11, 2017

MARYANN COTTRELL, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED PARCEL SERVICE, et al., Defendants.

          Maryann Cottrell Pro Se Plaintiff.

          JACKSON LEWIS, P.C. By: Joseph C. DeBlasio, Esq. Benjamin L. Rouder, Esq. Counsel for Defendants.

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         Pro se Plaintiff Maryann Cottrell is self-proclaimed advocate for the disabled. Plaintiff alleges that on a single day in 2014, she attempted to park in a handicapped parking spot at the Vineland SPCA but was prevented from doing so because a delivery truck operated by Defendant United Parcel Service (“UPS”) was blocking her access. Both the Complaint and Proposed Amended Complaint assert two claims; one under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (“ADA”), and one under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. 10:6-1 et seq. (“NJLAD).[1]

         Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend. For the reasons set forth below, the Court holds that Plaintiff has failed to state an ADA claim and amendment of the claim would be futile. The Court will decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining NJLAD claim. Accordingly, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss will be granted as to the ADA claim, and denied as moot as to the NJLAD claim. Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend will be denied as to the ADA claim, and denied as moot as to the NJLAD claim.

         I.

         Both the Complaint and the Proposed Amended Complaint allege the following. On March 25, 2014 Plaintiff “encountered a denial of access to Cumberland County SPCA.” (Compl. ¶ 23; Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 23) A “UPS truck . . . was parked blocking access to the two remaining designated handicap parking spaces in [the] parking lot.” (Compl. ¶ 24; Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 24) Plaintiff allegedly is disabled (Compl. ¶ 13-14; Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 13-18), and “was at the Vineland SPCA to get a cat spayed.” (Compl. ¶ 27; Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 27)

         II.

         When considering a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a court must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 351 (3d Cir. 2005). It is well settled that a pleading is sufficient if it contains “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

         Under the liberal federal pleading rules, it is not necessary to plead evidence, and it is not necessary to plead all the facts that serve as a basis for the claim. Bogosian v. Gulf Oil Corp., 562 F.2d 434, 446 (3d Cir. 1977). However, “the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure . . . do require that the pleadings give defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Baldwin Cnty. Welcome Ctr. v. Brown, 466 U.S. 147, 149-50 n.3 (1984) (quotation and citation omitted).

         A district court, in weighing a motion to dismiss, asks “‘not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claim.'” Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 563 n.8 (2007) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhoades, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009)(“Our decision in Twombly expounded the pleading standard for ‘all civil actions' . . . .”); Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009)(“Iqbal . . . provides the final nail in the coffin for the ‘no set of facts' standard that applied to federal complaints before Twombly.”).

         In the context of a Motion to Amend, the Court applies the same analysis in determining whether amendment would be futile. Shane v. Fauver, 213 F.3d 113, 115 (3d Cir. 2000)(“In assessing ‘futility, ' the District Court applies the same standard of legal sufficiency as applies under Rule 12(b)(6).”).

         III.

         Both motions raise the same issue: whether Defendant UPS can be liable under the ADA based on the ...


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