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Hillesheim v. Holiday Stationstores, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 17, 2018

Zach Hillesheim Plaintiff- Appellant
Holiday Stationstores, Inc. Defendant-Appellee

          Submitted: June 12, 2018

          Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - Minneapolis

          Before WOLLMAN, ARNOLD, and STRAS, Circuit Judges.


         Zach Hillesheim alleges that Holiday Stationstores discriminated against him by failing to have an accessible parking lot at one of its stores. Hillesheim's complaint identifies three alleged problems with the parking lot, each giving rise to a separate claim. For two of the three claims, Hillesheim suffered no injury, so we vacate the district court's decision and instruct the court on remand to return them to state court. We remand the third claim, even though Hillesheim has standing to assert it, to allow the district court to consider whether to send it back to state court with the others.


         Hillesheim is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair for mobility. When Hillesheim visited a Holiday store in Mankato, Minnesota, he observed that the store's two handicap-accessible parking spaces were not marked with vertical sign posts. One of the spaces also lacked an adjacent access aisle, which provides extra room for individuals with disabilities to move in and out of their vehicles. Also present was a garbage can near the top of the curb ramp leading into the store. Hillesheim claims that he could not have safely navigated the ramp in his wheelchair, so instead of risking injury, he decided not to enter the store. These three alleged defects are at the heart of this lawsuit.

         Holiday inspected the parking lot and fixed the alleged defects. It removed the handicap-accessible space lacking an access aisle because it determined that the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") only required it to have one space, not two, given the size of the parking lot. It also placed an ADA-compliant vertical sign above the remaining space and removed the garbage can from the curb ramp out of an "abundance of care."

         Before Holiday made these changes, however, Hillesheim filed a lawsuit in state court, alleging violations of the ADA and the Minnesota Human Rights Act ("MHRA"). Holiday removed the case to federal court. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1367, 1441(a). After the close of discovery, Holiday filed a motion for summary judgment in which it asked the district court to dismiss the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Hillesheim conceded that Holiday's remedial measures, completed after Holiday removed the case to federal court, had mooted his ADA claims. He did not budge on his MHRA claims, however, arguing that he had standing to assert them because the lack of access to the store had injured him. But he nonetheless urged the district court to return the MHRA claims to state court because no federal claims remained.

         The district court granted Holiday's motion for summary judgment. In addition to dismissing Hillesheim's ADA claims, the court dismissed Hillesheim's MHRA claims with prejudice rather than remanding them to state court. On appeal, Hillesheim challenges the court's treatment of his MHRA claims.


         We review de novo the district court's determination that Hillesheim lacked Article III standing. Park v. Forest Serv. of the U.S., 205 F.3d 1034, 1036 (8th Cir. 2000). To pursue state-law claims in federal court, a party must prove that it has standing under Article III's case-or-controversy requirement. U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1; Hughes v. City of Cedar Rapids, 840 F.3d 987, 993 (8th Cir. 2016).

         To meet the "irreducible constitutional minimum" for Article III standing: (1) a plaintiff must have suffered an "injury in fact," (2) that is "fairly traceable to the challenged conduct," and (3) is "likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision." Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540, 1547 (2016) (citation omitted). The parties dispute only the existence of the first requirement: whether Hillesheim suffered an injury-in-fact that is sufficiently concrete and particularized, not conjectural or hypothetical. See id. at 1547-48.

         At summary judgment, Hillesheim had to do more than just rely on the allegations from his complaint, because "[a] party invoking federal jurisdiction must support each of the standing requirements with the same kind and degree of evidence at the successive stages of litigation as any other matter." Constitution Party of S.D.v. Nelson, 639 F.3d 417, 420 (8th Cir. 2011). Hillesheim accordingly had to offer evidence in response to Holiday's summary-judgment motion establishing that each ...

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