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Print Page Disabilities Omnibus Case Severed
by Ron Davis

Actions taken by a disabled customer have proven costly for a Florida shopping center owner as well as the other owner. As a likely result, the center’s owner and certain tenants could face a costly backlash.

The shopping center includes Suncrest Plaza, Cerrato’s Italian Market Food, and Joa Thai Kitchen.

The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Florida Americans with Disabilities both played major roles in what has become an important outcome for both owners and tenants.

Suncrest Plaza is the lessor and operator of the shopping center. As a result, Suncrest Plaza responds when contacted by a tenant who has major complaints. And a response was necessary when a tenant did in fact have a complaint.

The complainant provided this information for consideration:
 1.  Parking violations (for which Suncrest Plaza is affirmed to be liable.)
 2.  Violations at Cerrato’s Italian Market (for which Suncrest Plaza and Cerrato’s Italion Market are alleged to be liable.)
 3.  Violations at Joa Thai Kitchen (for which Suncrest Plaza and Jao Thai Kitchen are both alleged to be liable.)

Concluded the judge presiding over this problem:

“I recommend that this court exercise its discretion and sever the complaint, because keeping the claim in one lawsuit does not serve the purposes and because of the potential for prejudice, expense, or delay.”

The judge added, “This unusual lawsuit currently involves three parallel sets of law violations. All three sets in turn involve separate facts, and the defendant may raise separate arguments.

“They may require the plaintiff to file an amended complaint that asserts only the claim pursued jointly against Suncrest Plaza and Cerrato’s Italian Market.

“Plaintiff must file separate actions for the remainder of the claim and pay a filing fee for each new case, and for those reasons,” the judge concluded, “the court must therefore sever the case into separate lawsuits, especially if the plaintiff continues to assert the claims alleging in the current complaint. That will require a separate action to be filed.”

(United States District Court M.D. Florida, Orlando Division, Filed 4/07/2017)

Decision: June 2017
Published: July 2017

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