We’ve written before about the perils of private ADA settlements. The yin and yang of ADA defense. Perilous settlements and temporary victories, and Starbucks and the ADA – more perilous settlements and temporary victories. explain how an ADA settlement can cost plenty and do nothing. The problem is simple. If you settle one case, but have not brought your business into ADA compliance, you are at risk for another case, and another, and another. That risk came home to roost for the defendant in Gniewkowski v. Party City Holdco, Inc., Case No. 2:16-cv-1686 (W.D. Penn.). In a decision issued on January 27 Judge Schwab, who has perhaps more experience in web access cases than any other federal judge thanks to the prolific filings of the Carlson Lynch firm, denied a motion for summary judgment based on the settlement of a web access case from Florida. Party City Holdco appears to be on its way to paying twice to settle the same website accessibility claim. More
About Richard Hunt
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The National Psychologist’s January/February 2017 edition includes Richard’s article “What is a disability, anyway?” The article explains for mental health professionals why caution is needed in diagnosing a “disability” when the term has a legal, rather than a medical, meaning. You can read the full text of the article at The National Psychologist online edition. Those who are interested in the ways in which sloppy and even unprofessional diagnosis are feeding a boom in fake emotional support animal requests should check our earlier blog Just Say “No” to bogus ESA requests and email for a copy of our webinar on dealing with fake requests for emotional support animals.
“Regardless, Plaintiff may not claim a violation of Title III based on an internet website’s accessibility. Neither Busch Gardens’ nor SeaWorld’s online website is a physical or public accommodation under the ADA. Access Now, Inc. v. Sw. Airlines, Co., 227 F. Supp. 2d 1312, 1321 (S.D. Fla. 2002). “[T]he internet is a unique medium—known to its users as ‘cyberspace’—located in no particular geographical location but available to anyone, anywhere in the world, with access to the internet.” See id. (internal quotation marks omitted). Hence, Plaintiff is unable to demonstrate that either Busch Gardens’ or SeaWorld’s online website prevents his access to “a specific, physical, concrete space such as a particular airline ticket counter or travel agency.” See id. As a result, Plaintiff may not plead a claim based on accessibility of an online website under Title III of the ADA. See id.” More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA FHA Litigation General, FHA, FHA Emotional Support Animals Tags: CityVision, dialing for dollars, Fair Housing Advocates, Gary Lacefield, Gratus Partners, Patrick Coleman
CityVision Services, a Texas based company in the business of filing HUD complaints, recently chose to withdraw a complaint rather than face investigation of its operations by HUD’s Region VII office. The details remain confidential (they involve one of our clients) but the broad picture of how this happened can help other victims of CityVision complaints deal with them.
In this particular case CityVision filed two complaints; one on behalf of an individual claiming disability discrimination and one on its own behalf. Like all the complaints CityVision files on its own behalf it contained a short and completely misleading statement of its history and operations. It claimed, for example, to have been established 23 years ago to file complaints on behalf of victims of discrimination, when in fact the present incarnation of CityVision was created in 2015 in order to file complaints on its own behalf. More
A December 30 opinion from the Eastern District of New York should remind businesses that the obligation to comply with the ADA does not depend on the moral quality of the plaintiff. While judges do not like plaintiffs and lawyers who merely exploit the ADA for profit, they also understand that the law is the law.
In Adams v. 724 Franklin Ave. Corp., 2016 WL 7495804 (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 30, 2016) the defendant’s counsel, aware of past cases in which the district court had shown a certain hostility to serial litigants, decided that instead of defending the ADA lawsuit against his client he would offer a small settlement and then dare the plaintiff to take a default judgment. The court characterized his correspondence with plaintiff’s counsel in these words: More