Happy Valentine’s Day. The last few weeks have brought the usual assortment of cases, some of more interest than others. I’ll lead with a personal jurisdiction case that has the potential to be important for website accessibility lawsuits.
Accessibility Litigation Trends
This is an update to my original post about Legal Justice Advocates, New Kids. My thanks to Stephen McWilliam of Florida State Mortgage Group, Inc. for helping me keep up to date.
First, it appears that an entity called Equal Access Action Network, Inc. filed a number of small claims cases in Miami against various companies on August 30 of last year; that is, a few months before Legal Justice Advocates began its demand letter scheme. They were filed by Yvette Harrell as an attorney for Legal Justice Associates. Like Victims Awareness, Inc. the Equal Access Action Network, Inc. is a recently created Delaware corporation. It was incorporated by a service that conceals the identity of the real incorporators and has no website that I can find but does seem to have a Twitter account, though one without much in the way of tweets. EAAN has filed some lawsuits but it isn’t clear how effectively they are being pursued. Cases against Ace Hardware and Pet Supermarket were dismissed for EAAN’s failure to meet court deadlines. A case against Steinmart filed in federal court was dismissed with prejudice, which usually signals a settlement of some kind. EAAN seems to associated with Anneth Lezcano, a serial filer of ADA lawsuits, and Jack Kang, who is in the same business. Each of them has also filed lawsuits without EAAN using other lawyers associated with Legal Justice Advocates. It is a fairly far ranging enterprise, though the total number of lawsuits filed is rather small in comparison to other serial filers.
Second, a complaint has been filed with the Florida State Bar against Jerome Ramsaran, the attorney who seems to have taken over from Harrell after the Florida Bar began investigating her. I do not know the status of that complaint.
Finally, the sending of demand letters continues, with an increasing number sent to businesses in states other than Florida and Texas it appears. I still have not found any lawsuits filed on behalf of Victims Awareness, Inc. in the federal courts.
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, FHA, FHA definition of handicap, FHA Emotional Support Animals, FHA Guidance, FHA Regulation Tags: assistance animals, Emotional Support Animals, FHA, FHA Defense, Guidance on Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act Relating to Assistance Animals, HUD, Internet fraud
On January 28, 2020 HUD issued its “Guidance on Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act Relating to Assistance Animals.”† Over the course of 19 poorly written and poorly organized pages HUD provides one crumb of help for housing providers faced with bogus requests for emotional support animals. The bulk of the “Guidance” is a confused repetition of various earlier HUD positions that defy common sense and the law.
For landlords the most important part of this Guidance is HUD’s acknowledgement that letters purchased on the internet are not reliable evidence of a disability or a disability related need for an emotional support animal. We’ve known this for years, but it’s nice that the bureaucrats have finally recognized it as well. However, this means almost nothing as I’ll discuss below. More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA, FHA, Internet Accessibility, Uncategorized Tags: ABA, ADA defense, American Bar Association, Country Music Songwriting, FHA Defense, Society of Exchange Counselors, UTCLE
Just a quick note about some upcoming CLE opportunities, not all of them accessibility oriented. If you are wondering about the photo at left, it’s for something a little different. I’ll be presenting a one-hour webinar “Write Your Brief Like a Country Song: The Universal Rules of Effective Communication” for the University of Texas CLE program on January 24. You can find all the details at this link: “Write your Brief Like a Country Song.” On February 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET I’ll be collaborating with William Goren (www.williamgoren.com) to present “The Internet and ADA Compliance” for the American Bar Association. You can find registration details at this link: “The Internet and ADA Compliance.” Last but not least, this Sunday morning, January 19, I’ll be presenting a three hour overview of the ADA and FHA accessibility rules and regulations to the Society of Exchange Counselors in Fort Worth. For more about the Society you can check out their website at “Society of Exchange Counselors“
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA, ADA - drive-by litigation, ADA - Hotels, ADA - serial litigation, ADA - Standing, ADA Internet, ADA Internet Web, ADA Litigation Procedure, FHA, FHA design/build litigation, FHA Reasonable Accommodation, Internet Accessibility, Title II Tags: ADA defense, ADA Mootness, ADA Website Litigation, Bike share programs, Dana Bowman, Eric Calhoun, FHA Defense, Peter Strojnik, unruh act
Christmas is over with lumps of coal and sugar plums distributed in ways that often seem unrelated to who has been naughty or nice. Regular readers will see just how little has changed in the course of 2019 despite some important defense victories in the Sixth and Eight Circuits. With most ADA litigation centered in New York, California and Florida the serial litigation business will almost certainly continue to thrive in 2020.