California ADA claims, cont’d

by Walter Olson on April 3, 2014

The NBC affiliate in the Bay Area investigates “what some say is legalized extortion” (watch out for annoying can’t-mute, can’t-freeze auto-play ad). The report “reviewed more than 10,000 federal ADA lawsuits filed since 2005 in the five states with the highest disabled populations. More lawsuits have been filed in California than Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas and New York combined.” Among violations charged: “a mirror that was hung 1.5 inches too high, a disabled access emblem that was ‘not the correct size,’ and one that was ‘not at the correct height on a restroom door.’ …’Given the way the building codes change as often as they do, it’s virtually impossible [to be in full compliance]‘ certified access specialist Christina Stevens said.”

{ 3 comments }

1 Jazzizhep 04.03.14 at 8:06 am

Incorrect color of blue on sign
Incorrect shape of sign
Wrong color barriers in parking lot
Incorrect mirror height

We have fallen through a Kafkaesque rabbit hole.

2 Chris Hoey 04.04.14 at 1:53 pm

Someone should use “De minimis non curat lex” to kill 99% of these claims.

3 Mike G 04.04.14 at 5:35 pm

Chris,

Having represented a handful of small business owners in cases alleging ADA violations and violations of California’s disability access laws, unfortunately that is not a defense. In fact, under California’s parallel statute, an argument that the violation is “de minimis” is expressly excluded. Further, because of the statutorily set damages, and attorneys’ fee shifting provisions, attempting to defend such suits comes with a massive risk. There are a handful of individuals who are fairly well known in Northern California who are professional plaintiffs. One in particular (who has been a plaintiff in well over 300 filed cases, usually against small, family owned restaurants) is confined to a wheelchair and goes into as many businesses as he can per day with his camera, tape measure, and check list of what to measure.

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