Like most of you I’ve been working from home for the last couple of months, meaning primarily that my dogs are getting a lot of exercise. There has been no sign of any slowdown in the ADA and FHA litigation business, so there is plenty to cover in this Quick Hits edition.
Dunbar v. Empire Szechuan Noodle H. Inc., 2020 WL 2132339 (S.D.N.Y. May 5, 2020) perfectly illustrates the overriding responsibility of a property owner for the accessibility of a leased premises. The tenant defendant, Empire Szechuan, was evicted for non-payment of rent and went out of business. The Court had no trouble finding claims against it were moot since there was no possibility of effective injunctive relief. The property owner, New Gold Equities, did not fare so well. The court rejected its argument that claims were moot because the new tenant was contractually obligated to comply with the ADA because that compliance was in the future and therefore far from certain. The Court also noted that the ADA lease provision didn’t add much because the new tenant and owner were already obligated to comply with the ADA. A property owner who relies on their tenant may find themselves with continuing liability regardless of any lease provision.