This post was inspired by an article forwarded from fellow ADA blogger William Goren, whose blog contains excellent analysis of current cases. The article describes a Florida hotel’s fight against a local serial ADA complainant who, it appears, may be afraid to go to trial on the lawsuit he filed. It isn’t clear how the case will end, but the defendant has William Norkunas on its side. Norkunas is himself a frequent ADA plaintiff and has served as an expert witness in more than a thousand cases. He is clearly an advocate for ADA enforcement, but is quoted as saying that the plaintiff in this particular case is operating a “continuing criminal enterprise that boils down to extortion.” More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA, ADA Attorney's Fees, ADA FHA Litigation General, ADA Policies, Policies and Procedures FHA ADA, Restaurants, Retail, Shopping Centers Tags: ada litigation, ADA Policies, private lawsuits, restaurants, retail
One of the many ADA risks that businesses face is the risk of sliding into non-compliance through maintenance failures. This seems to come up most often in the context of parking, because the markings required for accessible parking are exposed to the weather and to wear from car tires. I recently settled a case of this type, and a reported opinion from California was a reminder of how important maintenance can be.
In Lozano v. C.A. Martinez Family Ltd. P’ship, 2015 WL 5227869, at *4 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 8, 2015), the complaint concerned nothing more complicated than striping accessible parking. The paint had faded and on repeated occasions over months the access aisles were blocked. As soon as the lawsuit was filed the owner repainted, but that was too late for the Court, which found that a policy of re-striping that apparently had not been followed would not let the owner escape an injunction and, of course, paying fees to the plaintiff’s attorney. More
Last week I wrote about the ADA problems created by point of sale displays. The same case, Kalani v. Starbucks Corp., 2015 WL 846651, at *4 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 25, 2015), includes a warning about trash cans and restrooms.
In many older buildings, including those built after the ADA standards went into effect, restroom size is a serious problem. Because of plumbing issues restrooms are difficult to expand or move, and the location of the toilet and sink may be fixed for all practical purposes. When local codes permit it, turning two restrooms into a single unisex restroom may help, but in many cases restaurants and others with ADA restroom problems seek to comply by building the smallest permissible restroom. More
I’ve written twice recently about temporary barriers to access (“You’ve got to walk the walk” and “You’ve got to walk the walk part II). It is an issue that will probably never go away because standard point of sale marketing techniques are very likely to conflict with the ADA. The latest decision is one in the apparently endless of series of battles between Starbucks and Robert Kalani. Kalani v. Starbucks Corp., 2015 WL 846651, at *4 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 25, 2015). More
On March 5, 2015 the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion in one of the longest running ADA lawsuits around. Chapman v. Pier 1 Imports (U.S.) Inc., 2015 WL 925586 (9th Cir. Mar. 5, 2015). Like the Home Depot case I wrote about a few weeks ago the issue in Chapman v. Pier 1 concerned obstructions that blocked access and a policy that was supposed to prevent such obstructions. Unlike Home Depot, Chapman v. Pier 1 includes some clear guidelines for businesses that want to make sure they are “walking the walk.”