I had forgotten that this classic song was from Loggins & Messina until I looked it up after getting an old demand letter packaged by a new firm. I have blogged before about Legal Justice Advocates, a front for a group of attorneys who sent hundreds of demand letters making unsustainable claims about website accessibility under the Fair Housing Act.¹ Their business was taken over by the Portell Law Group² when the original members of LJA dropped out of sight and one of them, Ilya Torchinsky, lost his license to practice. Now another member of the group, Jerome Ramsaran, has incorporated a new supposed disability rights group, Pursuit of Respect, Inc., which is pursuing the old business of making demands on website owners in different real estate related businesses. I know this because I was recently provided a demand letter sent by a lawyer in Chicago who also practices in Florida, the original home of Legal Justice Advocates. J. Kevin Benjamin is the lawyer sending demands on behalf of Pursuit of Respect, Inc. Unlike the claims from Legal Justice Advocates and the Portell Law Group Benjamin’s claims include ADA allegations, and unlike the LJA and Portell Claims the letters from Benjamin give the recipient fourteen days to correct the supposed website violations before there is a threat of a money demand. Of course the demands do not include any details about the supposed problems, and fourteen days is an impossible period for website remediation under the best circumstances. I expect the soft touch is intended to get an equally soft response that lets Benjamin solicit some kind of payment, and once the fourteen days are up there will probably be a stronger money demand. More
Legal Justice Advocates
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA - drive-by litigation, ADA - Hotels, ADA - serial litigation, ADA - Standing, ADA Class Actions, ADA Internet Web, ADA Mootness, ADA Policies, ADA Web Access, FHA, FHA design/build litigation Tags: ADA consent decree, ADA defense, ADA Testers, ADA Website Litigation, Beshay Foods, Braille gift cards, Coca Cola Freestyle, COVID-19, FHA Defense, First Fix then Fight, Jack-in-the-box, Johnson v Starbucks, Legal Justice Advocates, Portell Law Group, Seyfarth Shaw
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.
Owners liability for leased premises – you can’t rely on your tenant.
This is an update to my original post about Legal Justice Advocates, New Kids. My thanks to Stephen McWilliam of Florida State Mortgage Group, Inc. for helping me keep up to date.
First, it appears that an entity called Equal Access Action Network, Inc. filed a number of small claims cases in Miami against various companies on August 30 of last year; that is, a few months before Legal Justice Advocates began its demand letter scheme. They were filed by Yvette Harrell as an attorney for Legal Justice Associates. Like Victims Awareness, Inc. the Equal Access Action Network, Inc. is a recently created Delaware corporation. It was incorporated by a service that conceals the identity of the real incorporators and has no website that I can find but does seem to have a Twitter account, though one without much in the way of tweets. EAAN has filed some lawsuits but it isn’t clear how effectively they are being pursued. Cases against Ace Hardware and Pet Supermarket were dismissed for EAAN’s failure to meet court deadlines. A case against Steinmart filed in federal court was dismissed with prejudice, which usually signals a settlement of some kind. EAAN seems to associated with Anneth Lezcano, a serial filer of ADA lawsuits, and Jack Kang, who is in the same business. Each of them has also filed lawsuits without EAAN using other lawyers associated with Legal Justice Advocates. It is a fairly far ranging enterprise, though the total number of lawsuits filed is rather small in comparison to other serial filers.
Second, a complaint has been filed with the Florida State Bar against Jerome Ramsaran, an attorney who who sent a number of demand letters on behalf of Legal Justice Advocates. It was subsequently dismissed.
Finally, the sending of demand letters continues, with an increasing number sent to businesses in states other than Florida and Texas it appears. I still have not found any lawsuits filed on behalf of Victims Awareness, Inc. in the federal courts.
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA - serial litigation, ADA Internet, ADA Internet Web, ADA Web Access, FHA, FHA Advertising, FHA Class Actions, Internet Accessibility, Uncategorized Tags: ADA defense, FHA Defense, Legal Justice Advocates, website accessibility, Yvette Harrell
There’s a new kid on the block in the world of serial accessibility demands.** It’s not a boy band, its “Legal Justice Advocates.” They’ve been sending demand letters to apartment owners, mortgage lenders and real estate agents claiming to represent an outfit called “Victims Awareness, Inc.” which, they claim, is a “national not-for-profit” with disabled members “throughout the nation.” Victims Awareness, Inc., they claim, uses experienced testers (who are not claimed to be disabled) to check on the accessibility of websites. The firm then sends a demand requiring remediation of unspecified defects and money for the lawyers. After seeing a few of these and getting calls from lawyers who saw more I thought it would be worthwhile to take a longer look at the firm and its supposed client. More