The intervention of the Arizona Attorney General in more than a thousand cases filed under Arizona’s ADA equivalent has been big news for some time in the ADA litigation world. (see our blog, Arizona Attorney General Intervenes to stop abusive ADA litigation) Now, according to the latest news stories (click here), the Attorney General will seek to have the entire group of cases dismissed on standing grounds. The result is still uncertain, but reports that the plaintiff never visited most of the locations sued seem to point toward a decision favorable to the State.** More
“First Fix, Then Fight” has been this blog’s slogan and trademark from the beginning. This isn’t based on a philosophical opposition to litigation, which is sometimes unavoidable, but on a hard headed assessment of the economics of ADA litigation and the difficulty in winning in the early stages of a case. Last week’s decision in Burrell v. Akinola, 2016 WL 3523781 (N.D. Tex. June 27, 2016) demonstrates why first fix, then fight has to be the foundation for ADA defense.
In Akinola the plaintiff sued the defendant for various violations of the ADA. The allegations of violations were not very specific, and the allegations related to the plaintiff’s standing were also somewhat general. Of course a dismissal based on pleading standards or standing is very hard to obtain, and perhaps with this in mind the defendant chose to attack whether there was any allegation of discrimination at all; that is, had Burrell alleged a violation of the statute. More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA, ADA Policies, Apartments, Condominiums, Public Facilities, Restaurants, Retail, Shopping Centers Tags: accessible parking, ada litigation, parking lots, Public accommodation
What’s wrong with this picture? You can be excused if you don’t immediately think, “no accessible parking,” but that might be the first thing that would come to mind for the defendant in Langer v. G.W. Properties, L.P., , 2016 WL 3419299, (S.D. Cal. June 21, 2016). Langer serves as a reminder that a business not usually covered by the ADA can become a “public accommodation” based on temporary use, and that this may lead to requirements for permanent changes. Commercial enterprises and apartment complexes should pay attention, as should any owner of raw land that allows it to be used for parking from time to time.
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA - drive-by litigation, ADA - serial litigation Tags: "drive-by" ADA lawsuits, ada litigation, ADA serial litigation, ADA standing, cheap standing ADA
ADA serial litigation is possible only because of a judicially created doctrine of cheap standing. What do I mean by cheap standing? Standing that can be obtained at minimal expense and inconvenience. Serial litigation is economically feasible only because a plaintiff can obtain standing merely by seeing a non-compliant parking space and then leverage that standing to include still unknown ADA violations inside a business. Cheap standing makes it possible for a few law firms and their pet plaintiffs to file dozens or hundreds of lawsuits in a short period of time with such small expense that they can still make a substantial profit on the modest settlements that are usually demanded. Cheap standing is the foundation on which serial ADA litigation rests. More
This last week a federal district court in Ohio kicked out most of an ADA plaintiff’s claims that were based on the defendant’s lack of an ADA policy. Mark Timoneri v. Speedway, LLC, 2016 WL 2756868 (N.D. Ohio May 12, 2016). Just a few weeks earlier the federal district court for the Western District of Pennsylvania confirmed an earlier magistrate judge’s recommendation to confirm a class under the same facts. Heinzl v. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., 2016 WL 1761963 (W.D. Pa. Apr. 29, 2016) adopting the recommendation in Heinzl v. Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores, Inc, 2016 WL 2347367 (W.D. Pa. Jan. 27, 2016). The cases illustrate how different judges can reach very different results on similar facts as well as a fundamental disagreement on whether Title III of the ADA requires ADA compliance policies. More