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R. Christopher Harshman, Esq. (248214)


christopher@ds4law.com
David M. Shaby II & Associates, APC
11949 Jefferson Boulevard, Suite 104
Culver City, California 90230
Telephone: (310) 827-7171
Facsimile: (310) 822-8529
Attorneys for Plaintiff The Shaby Limited Partnership

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United States District Court

Central District of California

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The Shaby Limited Partnership,


Plaintiff,

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Case no. 2:16-cv-6200


COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF

vs.
Matthew Verdiglione;
Ross Cornell;
Law Offices of Ross Cornell, APC;
and Does 1-10, inclusive,
Defendants.
Plaintiff The Shaby Limited Partnership (Plaintiff) hereby alleges as follows:
Introduction
Defendant Matthew Verdiglione and his attorney, Ross Cornell (who operates

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through his Law Offices of Ross Cornell professional corporation; together, the

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Defendants) fit the California legislatures definition of high frequency litigants.

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Recently, following the script theyve used on average about once a week for years,

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the Defendants opened up their federal lawsuit boilerplate, changed the defendant name

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to list the Plaintiff in this action, and filed suit. Immediately upon being served with that

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suit, Plaintiff requested a conference of counsel regarding an intended motion to dismiss

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pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) (and slightly later, for Rule 11 sanctions). Just before

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that conference, attorney Cornell dismissed the suit without prejudice, following up with

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a warning that in six months, the Defendants would be back to sue again.
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COMPLAINT

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Jurisdiction and Venue


1.

This action is brought, and this Court has subject matter jurisdiction,

pursuant to 28 U. S.C. 1331 and 2201. This Court has federal question jurisdiction in

this matter in that plaintiffs seek a declaration of rights and other legal relations pursuant

to the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq (the ADA).

2.

Venue lies within this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1391(b)(1)-(2) and

(c), in that each defendant resides within this judicial district and residents of the State of

California, the events giving rise to this claim occurred in this judicial district, and each

defendant regularly and systematically conducts business in this district; therefore, each

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defendant is subject to personal jurisdiction in this district.

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The Parties
3.

Plaintiff The Shaby Limited Partnership is a California limited partnership

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with its principal place of business in Culver City, Los Angeles County, California.

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Plaintiff owns and manages several office buildings along Jefferson Boulevard, in Culver

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City, California, including the building located at 12069 Jefferson Boulevard, Culver

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City, CA 90230.

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4.

Defendant Matthew Verdiglione (Verdiglione) is, upon information and

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belief, an individual residing in Orange County, California. Upon information and belief,

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and per Verdigliones own allegations made in more than thirty (30) suits brought before

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this Court in the past six months alone, Verdiglione regularly and systematically

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conducts business in this district.

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5.

Defendant Ross Cornell (Cornell) is, upon information and belief, an

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individual residing in the City of Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California. Upon

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information and belief, Mr. Cornell has been the attorney of record in four hundred forty-

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seven (447) cases before this Court, including 37 cases where he represented Defendant

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Verdiglione.

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6.

Defendant Law Offices of Ross Cornell, APC (Cornell Law Offices) is,

upon information and belief, a California professional corporation (entity no. C2502645).
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COMPLAINT

The Cornell Law Offices address on file with the California Secretary of State is 111 W.

Ocean Blvd., Suite 400, Long Beach CA 90802, and the agent for service of process for

the Cornell Law Offices is listed as Ross Cornell, 100 W. 5th Street, 3C, Long Beach CA

90802.

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Defendant Does 1 through 10, inclusive, are sued herein under fictitious

names. Their true names and capacities are unknown to Plaintiff. When their true names

and capacities are ascertained, plaintiff will amend this complaint by inserting their true

names and capacities herein.

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On information and belief, at all times material herein each of the

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defendants was the agent and employee of some or all of the other defendants, and in

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doing the things herein alleged, was acting within the course and scope of such agency

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and employment.

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General Allegations

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The Americans With Disabilities Act

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9.

The ADA provides1 for the full and equal enjoyment of the goods,

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services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public

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accommodation, while defining2 public accommodation as:

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(A) an inn, hotel, motel, or other place of lodging, except for an


establishment located within a building that contains not more than five
rooms for rent or hire and that is actually occupied by the proprietor of such
establishment as the residence of such proprietor;
(B) a restaurant, bar, or other establishment serving food or drink;
(C) a motion picture house, theater, concert hall, stadium, or other place of
exhibition or entertainment;
(D) an auditorium, convention center, lecture hall, or other place of public
gathering;
(E) a bakery, grocery store, clothing store, hardware store, shopping center,
or other sales or rental establishment;
(F) a laundromat, dry-cleaner, bank, barber shop, beauty shop, travel service,
shoe repair service, funeral parlor, gas station, office of an accountant or

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42 U.S.C. 12182(a) (emphasis added)


42 U.S.C. 12181(7)
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COMPLAINT

lawyer, pharmacy, insurance office, professional office of a health care


provider, hospital, or other service establishment;
(G) a terminal, depot, or other station used for specified public
transportation;
(H) a museum, library, gallery, or other place of public display or collection;
(I) a park, zoo, amusement park, or other place of recreation;
(J) a nursery, elementary, secondary, undergraduate, or postgraduate private
school, or other place of education;
(K) a day care center, senior citizen center, homeless shelter, food bank,
adoption agency, or other social service center establishment; and
(L) a gymnasium, health spa, bowling alley, golf course, or other place of
exercise or recreation.

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The Disability Rights Section of the United States Department of Justice,

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Civil Rights Division, has summarized: Commercial facilities, such as office buildings,

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factories, warehouses, or other facilities that do not provide goods or services directly to

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the public are only subject to the ADA's requirements for new construction and

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alterations.3

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Verdiglione is a High Frequency Litigant

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The legislature of the State of California has identified a problem with high

frequency litigants, noting (Cal. Code Civ. Proc. 425.55(a)(2)):

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[A] very small number of plaintiffs have filed a disproportionately large


number of the construction-related accessibility claims in the state, from 70
to 300 lawsuits each year. Moreover, these lawsuits are frequently filed
against small businesses on the basis of boilerplate complaints, apparently
seeking quick cash settlements rather than correction of the accessibility
violation. This practice unfairly taints the reputation of other innocent
disabled consumers who are merely trying to go about their daily lives
accessing public accommodations as they are entitled to have full and equal
access under the state's Unruh Civil Rights Act (Section 51 of the Civil
Code) and the federal Americans with Disability Act of 1990 (Public Law
101-336).

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12.

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The legislature went on to define the term high frequency litigant as

follows (Id., 425.55(b)(1)-(2)):


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ADA Update: A Primer For Small Business, available at


https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/smallbusiness/smallbusprimer2010.htm
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COMPLAINT

For the purposes of this article, "high-frequency litigant" means a person


[] who utilizes court resources in actions arising from alleged constructionrelated access violations at such a high level that it is appropriate that
additional safeguards apply so as to ensure that the claims are warranted. A
"high-frequency litigant" means one or more of the following: (1) A plaintiff
who has filed 10 or more complaints alleging a construction-related
accessibility violation within the 12-month period immediately preceding the
filing of the current complaint alleging a construction-related accessibility
violation. (2) An attorney who has represented as attorney of record 10 or
more high-frequency litigant plaintiffs in actions that were resolved within
the 12-month period immediately preceding the filing of the current
complaint alleging a construction-related accessibility violation []

13.

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In 2016 alone, Defendant Verdiglione has been the plaintiff in thirty-eight

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(38) lawsuits brought in the United States District Court for the Central District of

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California alleging violations of the ADA4, including:

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Case No.

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8:16-cv-00202-AG-KES

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8:16-cv-00224-CJC-JCG

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8:16-cv-00275-JVS-DFM

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8:16-cv-00302-JVS-SS

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8:16-cv-00325-AB-RAO

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8:16-cv-00333-MWF-SS

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8:16-cv-00358-JLS-JCG

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8:16-cv-00379-CJC-KES

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8:16-cv-00829-JVS-DFM

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8:16-cv-00838-CJC-DFM

Name
Matthew Verdiglione v. Hormuth
Properties Inc et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Keng Tong
Taing et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Samona
Investments, LLC
Matthew Verdiglione v. Honey Bear
Estates Inc et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Raquel
Amezcua
Matthew Verdiglione v. Greenwald
Partners, L.P.
Matthew Verdiglione v. Heesy
Corporation
Matthew Verdiglione v. SK Beach
Plaza, LLC
Verdiglione v. Cedar Grove Partners,
LLC
Matthew Verdiglione v. Erudite
Investments, LLC et al

Filing Date
February 5, 2016
February 9, 2016
February 17, 2016
February 19, 2016
February 24, 2016
February 25, 2016
February 29, 2016
March 1, 2016
May 3, 2016
May 4, 2016

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Together with corresponding claims under Californias Unruh Act, which provides that [a] violation
of the right of any individual under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101336) shall also constitute a violation of this section. Cal. Civ. Code 51(f).
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COMPLAINT

Case No.

8:16-cv-00921-DOC-DFM

8:16-cv-00938-AG-JEM

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8:16-cv-00962-AG-AGR

8:16-cv-00979-JLS-AGR

8:16-cv-01001-JLS-DFM

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8:16-cv-01034-JLS-DFM

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8:16-cv-01035-AG-KES

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8:16-cv-01043-CJC-KES

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8:16-cv-01074-AG-JCG

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8:16-cv-01080-JLS-DFM

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8:16-cv-01183-DOC-PLA

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8:16-cv-01184-JVS-AS

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8:16-cv-01192-DOC-JEM

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8:16-cv-01196-AG-RAO

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8:16-cv-01250-AG-DFM

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8:16-cv-01269-DOC-KES

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8:16-cv-01283-CJC-DFM

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8:16-cv-01312-AG-JCG

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8:16-cv-01352-DOC-KES

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8:16-cv-01366-JVS-JCG
8:16-cv-01374-JVS-SK

Name
Matthew Verdiglione v. Thomas Ira
Ross et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. John Park et
al
Matthew Verdiglione v. George E
Atkinson III et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Julie K. Tran
et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Slater I, LLC
et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Pine Alley,
LLC et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Blanche J.
Mayer et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. 1125 West
Covina Parkway, LLC et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Melvin S.
Goya et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. IBC Riverside,
LLC et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Timna H
Katz et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. LCF, LLC et
al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Queen Street,
LLC et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Jonathan
Congdon et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. The Goodyear
Tire and Rubber Company et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. 1201 South
Magnolia, LLC et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Fred R. Sacher
et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Richard H.
Kim et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Samir
Sargious et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Gene H.
Robertson et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Property
Reserve, Inc. et al
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COMPLAINT

Filing Date
May 20, 2016
May 23, 2016
May 25, 2016
May 26, 2016
May 31, 2016
June 2, 2016
June 2, 2016
June 3, 2016
June 9, 2016
June 10, 2016
June 24, 2016
June 24, 2016
June 27, 2016
June 28, 2016
July 6, 2016
July 8, 2016
July 11, 2016
July 14, 2016
July 20, 2016
July 22, 2016
July 25, 2016

Case No.

8:16-cv-01401-CJC-AFM

8:16-cv-01412-DOC-JCG

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8:16-cv-01423-JCG

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8:16-cv-01425-JLS-DFM

8:16-cv-01488-DOC-JCG

8:16-cv-01497-AG-JCG

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8:16-cv-01511

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Filing Date
July 28, 2016
July 29, 2016
August 2, 2016
August 3, 2016
August 11, 2016
August 12, 2016
August 16, 2016

Defendant Verdiglione files an ADA lawsuit in federal court, on average,

approximately every five days (the median number of days between his lawsuits: 3 days).

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Name
Matthew Verdiglione v. Ronald B.
Siegel et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Gore Bros. Inc.
et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. 2516
Overland, LLC et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. The Shaby
Limited Partnership et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Shapell Socal
Rental Properties, LLC et al
Matthew Verdiglione v. Westminster
Boulevard Investors, LLC et al
Verdiglione v. Straman et al

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Each of these lawsuits is brought through his attorney Defendant Cornell

and Defendant Cornell Law Offices.

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The complaint filed in each of these lawsuits is essentially identical to the

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complaint in all the others listed above, with only the names of the defendants, the

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location of the property, and the (conclusory) allegations concerning the alleged ADA

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(and California Unruh Act) violations being modified.

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Between July 25, 2014 and October 22, 2015, Defendant Verdiglione,

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through attorney Defendant Cornell, filed at least sixty-four (64) state court actions5,

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before the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles. (These suits were filed an

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average of approximately 7 days apart, with 2 days being the median between suits.)

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E.g., Los Angeles Superior Court case numbers BC598424, BC570531, BC584024, BC587160,
VC064918, VC064840, YC070335, YC070297, YC070297, VC064881, VC064880, VC064880,
VC064991, EC064177, VC064623, SC123845, VC064674, EC064223, VC064894, EC063385,
VC064754, TC028062, VC064186, VC064160, VC064159, VC064265, VC064345, VC064344,
YC070272, VC064322, VC064298, VC064297, VC064200, VC064189, VC064189, KC067153,
KC067176, YC070220, VC064201, VC064360, VC064354, YC070224, YC070224, VC064404,
NC060058, NC060057, TC028284, NC060227, NC059820, NC060182, NC060182, NC059880,
NC059888, TC028238, NC059979, NC059977, TC028252, NC060246, NC059662, NC059662,
NC059654, NC059717, NC059800, and NC059683.
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COMPLAINT

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Upon information and belief, of the more than one hundred (100) lawsuits

filed by Defendant Verdiglione through attorney Defendant Cornell, none resulted in

judgment in favor of Verdiglione, and a tiny fraction resulted in an early evaluation

conference being held.

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Upon information and belief, few if any of the above-referenced actions

resulted in the construction-related accessibility violations alleged in the complaint being

remedied in whole or in part, or a favorable result achieved, as the result of Verdiglione,

through Cornell, filing a complaint or sending a demand letter.

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The Properties
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The Shaby Limited Partnership owns several Jefferson Boulevard properties

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in the City of Culver City, in the County of Los Angeles. The addresses are 12077-12079

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Jefferson Boulevard, 12071 Jefferson Boulevard, 12065-12069 Jefferson Boulevard, 12063

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Jefferson Boulevard, 12061 Jefferson Boulevard, 12057-12059 Jefferson Boulevard, and

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12035-12039 Jefferson Boulevard (each a Property, together, the Properties).

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Each of the Properties is an older office building, constructed in the 1960s.

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None of the Properties has undergone new construction or alteration since

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at least as far back as 1989.


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The majority of the Properties are not occupied by tenants in the business of

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providing goods or services directly to the public, but rather tenants such as the main

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office of a security company, the business office of a ceramic tile installer, the business

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office of an insurance underwriter, etc.

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The tenants of the Properties are lessees under a lease agreement which

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contains a Paragraph 29, which reads: PARKING. The Premises have very limited

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parking spaces available. The parking spaces are for the use of Tenant and Tenants

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employees/co-workers only. The parking space(s) are not to be occupied by the

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public, nor shall Tenant permit anyone from the general public to park in any space

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designated for the use of Tenant. (Emphasis in the original.)

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COMPLAINT

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Due to the age and layout of the Properties, the already insufficient space

available for parking, and other factors, there is no readily achievable way to bring the

Properties into compliance with the requirements of the ADA, which was enacted more

than twenty years after the last construction performed on these buildings.

The Shaby Limited Partnership Lawsuit

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On August 3, 2016, the Defendants filed suit against The Shaby Limited

Partnership, case no. 8:16-cv-01425-JSL-DFM (the Shaby Suit), alleging ADA

violations and a corresponding California Unruh Act cause of action with respect to the

12069 Jefferson Boulevard property.

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On or about August 11, 2016, Plaintiff was served with Defendant

Verdigliones suit.

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On Thursday, August 11, 2016, counsel for Plaintiff sent Defendant Cornell

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a letter, via facsimile transmission, requesting a conference of counsel pursuant to the

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Courts Local Rule 7-3, intending to discuss (inter alia) a motion to dismiss for failure to

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state a claim on which relief could be granted pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), and

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for sanctions and to strike pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 11. Counsel subsequently

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corresponded by email, arranging for a telephonic conference of counsel.

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On Tuesday, August 16, 2016, shortly before that scheduled telephone call,

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Defendant Cornell filed a request for dismissal (without prejudice) in the Shaby Suit

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(ECF No. 12), and immediately followed up with an email to counsel for Plaintiff, which

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contained the threat of future litigation ([Plaintiff has] six months to bring the whole

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row of properties into compliance with ADA parking and path of travel requirements):

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COMPLAINT

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The Need for Declaratory Relief


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In view of Defendant Verdigliones frequent filing of ADA lawsuits through

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and with his attorney Defendant Cornell and Defendant Cornell Law Offices (listed at

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11, supra), the filing of the Shaby Suit, and Defendant Cornells six month ultimatum

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following the dismissal (without prejudice) of the Shaby Suit ( 29, supra), there is an

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actual and justiciable controversy between Plaintiff and the Defendants in that

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Defendants are demanding Plaintiff adhere to inapplicable ADA requirements, have in

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fact brought a federal lawsuit to enforce those inapplicable requirements, and have

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threatened to do so again.

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Accordingly, a judicial declaration of the parties' respective rights and

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obligations with respect to the ADA is necessary and appropriate, including appropriate

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declarations concerning, among other things, the following:

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(a)

Whether the ADA applies to each of the Properties; and

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COMPLAINT

(b)

If so, whether the modifications demanded by Verdiglione are readily

achievable, i.e., easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much

difficulty or expense.6

Prayer for Relief

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff The Shaby Partnership respectfully request judgment against

the Defendants as follows:

1.

A declaration that Plaintiffs Properties are not public accommodations

within the meaning of the ADA, and therefore that no modification is required to bring

the Properties into compliance with the ADAs parking and path of travel

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requirements or otherwise; or in the alternative, that the removal of any applicable

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architectural barriers to access found in Plaintiffs Properties is not readily achievable

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within the meaning of the ADA;

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2.

For costs and attorney fees incurred herein; and

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3.

For such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.

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Respectfully submitted,

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David M. Shaby II & Associates


Date: August 18, 2016

By:
R. Christopher Harshman, Esq.
Attorneys for Plaintiff The Shaby Limited
Partnership

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42 U.S.C. 12181(9)
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COMPLAINT