Well, that may be a little overwrought. We’re talking here about a guy with a clipboard and a tape measure – no rubber gloves are involved. Still, it’s hard not to feel violated when a federal judge orders you to allow someone to inspect your property. This is especially true when you know that person’s sole reason to be there is to find violations of the ADA accessibility standards for a plaintiff who never knew they existed. A feeling of violation won’t stop the inspection however. The achievable goal is to make the inspection irrelevant, or at least limit it.
The problem of inspection for ADA and FHA cases almost always comes up in the same way. The plaintiff alleges that he or she encountered one or more barriers to access. If the case survives a motion to dismiss the plaintiff then asks for an inspection of the property to find additional violations that are unknown, but will, if found, be added to the lawsuit. The owner argues that if the plaintiff doesn’t know about a violation then the violation cannot have caused harm and shouldn’t be part of the lawsuit. Putting aside the legal principles involved, the heart of the argument on both sides seems to be an attitude that ADA litigation is a game in which property owners try to avoid the expense of compliance while disabled plaintiffs try to act as super advocates for all those with disabilities instead of seeking a remedy for the discrimination they have personally experienced. Like most legal games this one primarily benefits the lawyers. More