I’m not Maimonides, but I do think we need a Guide for the Perplexed concerning ADA website litigation because it seems that in many cases both courts and litigants have mistakenly treated websites as if they were buildings. Websites are not buildings, and recognition of that fact would do a great deal to eliminate or slow down abusive website lawsuits. If you are a defendant in such a suit or think you might be, this blog is for you and your lawyers. There is no silver bullet, but there are approaches to defense with real promise. More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA - drive-by litigation, ADA - serial litigation, ADA - Standing, ADA Attorney's Fees, ADA FHA General, ADA FHA Litigation General, ADA Internet Web, ADA Litigation Procedure, ADA Mootness, ADA Policies, ADA Web Access, ADA Website Accessibility, FHA Reasonable Accommodation, Hospitals, Internet Accessibility, Statute of Limitations Tags: ADA defense, ADA Policies, ADA standing, FHA Defense, HOA litigation, Johnson v Starbucks, Midwest Disability Initiative, Pacific Trial Group, Scott Ferrell, Strojnik, unruh act, website accessibility
The official worst heat-wave ever is now over in both the U.S. and France, but Sirius is still rising just before dawn and nothing has cooled off in the courts. Here are the latest cases on ADA and FHA issues.
HOAs and the FHA
Lau et al v. Honolulu Park Place, AOAO, 2019 WL 3208644 (D. Haw. July 16, 2019) is a kind of short treatise on how the FHA applies to accommodation claims made by parents or others associated with a disabled person. What is surprising is the degree of ignorance or obtuseness shown by the HOA’s counsel in defending the case. Here’s what the Court says:
“Defendants appear to misunderstand the FHA as well as the injury-in-fact requirements of Article III. . . . Only the most obtuse reading of the Complaint could fail to construe the allegations as an injury to the person. . . . But Defendants’ conclusion is only possible when accepting their misrepresented version of what Plaintiffs seek. In other words, it is a straw man of their own creation.
HOAs should remember that the firm handling their assessment collections or dealing with personal injury suits may not have the specialized knowledge necessary for FHA defense. More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA - serial litigation, ADA Internet, ADA Internet Web, ADA Litigation Procedure, Internet Accessibility Tags: ADA defense, ADA Injury, ADA standing, FHA Defense, website accessibility
The Supreme Court has said that before a plaintiff can file suit in federal court he or she must have suffered a “concrete and particularized” injury. The requirement is constitutional and comes from the case and controversy clause in Article III. For statutory claims like those under the ADA this means an injury of the kind the statute was intended to prevent. The rise of ADA website lawsuits has caused some courts to take a look at just what injury the ADA was intended to prevent. Was the ADA intended to prevent those with disabilities from suffering some dignitary harm based on the mere knowledge that discriminatory conditions exist, or does it require real discrimination in access to goods and services? More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA - drive-by litigation, ADA - serial litigation, ADA - Standing, ADA Attorney's Fees, ADA Internet, ADA Internet Web, ADA Litigation Procedure, ADA Mootness, ADA Point of Sale, ADA Vending Machines, ADA Web Access, FHA, FHA Reasonable Accommodation, Internet, Internet Accessibility Tags: ADA defense, ADA Mootness, ADA standing, FHA Defense, Readily Achievable, WCAG 2.0, website accessibility
We aren’t quite to Halloween, but the candy is certainly crowding the shelves of local stores, whose owners might want to take a look at Ryan v. Kohls, Inc., discussed below. Beyond that we have the usual roundup of default judgment cases, website accessibility standing cases, and of course some ordinary “drive-by” cases involving physical accessibility mixed in with cases that deserve special attention because they could have a broad impact on ADA and FHA litigation. Here they are. More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA - drive-by litigation, ADA - Hotels, ADA - serial litigation, ADA Litigation Procedure Tags: ADA defense, ADA standing, drive-by litigation, Gastelum, Peter Strojnik, serial litigation
“‘What is truth?’ said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.” These words from Francis Bacon’s famous essay on truth often seem to apply in the earliest part of an ADA lawsuit. Truth is important, but takes a back seat to procedure. In Gastelum v. Canyon Hospitality. LLC, CV-17-02792-PHX-GMS, 2018 WL 2388047 (D. Ariz. May 25, 2018) the Court found a way to get to the truth early in the case, before the cost of litigation made it irrelevant.
The plaintiff is a serial filer associated with Phoenix attorney Peter Strojnik, who has a long history of mass ADA filings. According to the Court, Mr. Strojnik and Mr. Gastelum are engaged in a joint enterprise to sue local hotels “without reference to whether Mr. Gastelum actually had any intent to make future visits to those facilities for reasons not related to his pursuit of ADA claims against them.” That enterprise sued more than 125 different Phoenix area hotels in a matter of months. More