ADA & Disability Access
Since 2008, there has been a steady increase in ADA disability lawsuits. Reports indicate that nearly half the country’s disability-access lawsuits are filed in California. Business owners in California, therefore, are confronted not only with the increasing costs to keep their properties in compliance with disability-access laws but also with litigious visitors and their attorneys actively looking for violations. A business attorney with experience advising businesses on ADA disability laws can assist with compliance issues and lawsuits. Contact us today.ADA Attorney Will Defend California Businesses Against Boilerplate Disability Access Cases Filed by High Frequency Litigants and Attorneys
With approximately 20% of the population in the country suffering from a disability, it would be a poor financial decision for businesses to place barriers on accessibility. More important than the financial reasons, it is vital to our community that people with disabilities are given fair and equal treatment. The business community has long shown that it recognizes the importance of providing people with disabilities access to businesses.
But despite best efforts by businesses and even certain legislation in California, the business community has been burdened with a staggering number of disability-access litigation. Lawsuits can be filed in state or District Courts of California. Due to various benefits to plaintiffs and their attorneys, they generally file in District Court. The lawsuits commonly allege violations under the American With Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq.), California Unruh Civil Rights Act (California Civil Code §§ 51, et seq.) and California Disabled Persons Act (Civil Code §§ 54 through 55.2). Common examples of violations including the following:
- The property did not maintain the minimum number of handicap parking spaces;
- The handicap spaces lacked the appropriate signage and striping;
- Parking access aisles do not exist or are too narrow;
- Ramps along accessible routes do not comply with the slope requirements; and
- A toilet stall has no grab bar or the grab bar is not properly placed in the stall.
Often, over zealous plaintiffs’ attorneys file lawsuits motivated by financial gain rather than the goal of promoting compliance with accessibility standards. In fact, certain law offices file over 1000 lawsuits on behalf of a single plaintiff alleging almost identical violations each time. For example, Jason Yoon, So Cal Equal Access, Ross Cornell, Phyl Grace, Center for Disability Access, Pamela Tsao, Ascension Law Group PC, and Manning Law Firm are law firms and attorneys known for filing a high volume of ADA and disability cases against businesses in Orange County, Los Angeles County, and throughout the State of California. If your business has been sued by any one of these law firms or attorneys or someone else alleging violation of the ADA, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, or Disabled Persons Act, contact experienced business attorney Yashdeep “Jesse” Singh.Businesses may be Subject to Penalties and Attorney’s Fees for Violation of State and Federal Disability Access Laws
A lawsuit asserting claims involving violation of federal and state disability-access laws may name a business owner who is a tenant in a shopping center in Santa Ana, California and a landlord who owns a large commercial complex in Downey, California. Both the landlord and tenant may be found liable in the lawsuit and be forced to pay the plaintiff damages, penalties, and attorney’s fees. The landlord could seek reimbursement from its tenant for its out-of-pocket expenses and other costs if the lease agreement includes a provision that the tenant must “indemnify” the landlord or cover the fees and other expenses from any such lawsuits. However, the lease agreement would not limit the landlord’s liability as to any recovery of a plaintiff in an access lawsuit.
Federal and state disability access laws authorize various forms of relief for violations. For example, under the ADA, the plaintiff can seek relief to enjoin (or require) the business to remedy any alleged violations and can recover attorney’s fees. Under the Unruh Civil Rights Act, the plaintiff can seek statutory damages of $4,000 per violation and punitive damages as well as attorney’s fees.
Business owners must be diligent to challenge disability-access lawsuits, which could also deter future copycat lawsuits. There are measures to reduce the penalties and damages. There are also affirmative defenses to challenge the cases. To discuss your legal options in an ADA disability case, contact business law firm Yash Law Group.