Posts Tagged ‘ADA filing mills’

Arizona Gov. Ducey signs bill curtailing ADA shakedowns

“Arizona Governor Doug Ducey just signed into law an amendment to the Arizonans with Disabilities Act (AzDA) designed to make it more difficult to bring lawsuits against businesses based on claims that they are not accessible to individuals with disabilities. The amendment requires potential plaintiffs to give business owners notice of alleged access violations and allows businesses 30-90 days to correct the issues before a lawsuit can be filed. It also excludes websites from the AzDA’s requirements and authorizes courts to impose sanctions on plaintiffs and their attorneys if the court finds that a lawsuit was brought for the primary purpose of obtaining a payment from the defendant business.” [Caroline Larsen, Ogletree Deakins; Maria Polletta, Arizona Republic; ICSC]

A similar bill is needed at the national level.

April 19 roundup

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), key vote on tort reform in upper house, plans Texas visit to raise funds from trial lawyers [Palmetto Business Daily]
  • “Indeed, most major law schools have fewer conservatives or libertarians on their faculty than can be found on the U.S. Supreme Court.” [Jonathan Adler, Martin Center]
  • Anti-craft-beer bill, Marilyn Mosby followup, legislature rescinds earlier Article V calls, Baltimore minimum wage in my latest Maryland roundup;
  • Man given $190 ticket for having pet snake in park off-leash. Off leash? [John Hult, Sioux Falls Argus-Leader]
  • As victim’s wife looks on, identity thief and 20-time illegal border crosser testifies that he fathered two of victim’s children [Brad Heath on Twitter citing Judge Bea ‘s opinion in U.S. v. Plascencia-Orozco, Ninth Circuit]
  • Central California: “State and federal legislation take new aim at predatory ADA lawsuits” [Garth Stapley, Modesto Bee]

USA Today investigates ADA drive-by lawsuits

“[Florida resident Patricia] Kennedy is among a group of people with disabilities who in the last five years has filed more than 6,000 federal lawsuits against business owners whose premises violate the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. More than half of the lawsuits were filed by just 12 plaintiffs, including Kennedy.” Florida has been a hot spot for ADA filing mills for at least as long as I’ve been publishing this website, with independently owned businesses a typical target. [Melanie Payne, Fort Myers News-Press/USA Today]

“‘Somebody’s got to stop this’: New wave of ADA lawsuits hit Colorado, Southwest U.S. hard”

ADA filing mills have hit Colorado, with mom-and-pop businesses the prime targets, according to an investigation by The Denver Channel:

Now, people who call themselves disability advocates have filed a new wave of lawsuits across the Denver metro demanding settlements and claiming businesses are inaccessible to people with disabilities. …One case in Bailey, Colorado forced a man to shut down his restaurant indefinitely.

In this latest round of litigation, a woman from Arvada has filed nearly 70 cases in less than two months. There’s evidence to show the complaints are connected to a lawsuit-filing machine across the Southwest United States….

After Denver7 approached [plaintiff Melissa] Umphenour, her attorney asked the court to seal some of her new cases. The attorney did not want them to be subject to public inspection….

H.R. 620, a bill introduced in Congress with cosponsors from both political parties, would provide that persons seeking to file accessibility lawsuits of this sort “would have to write a demand letter to a business first. They could file a lawsuit only if the business fails to respond in writing within 60 days. If the business responds, it would have 120 days to fix to compliance issues or, at the very least, show substantial progress.”

February 2 roundup

  • “Louisiana Police Chief: Resisting Arrest is Now a Hate Crime Under State Law” [C.J. Ciamarella, earlier on so-called Blue Lives Matter laws here, here, etc.]
  • Agency interpretive letters are the wrong way to enact new federal law [Ilya Shapiro and David McDonald on Cato amicus in school bathroom case, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G.]
  • “Thousands of business threatened by ADA lawsuits” [Justin Boggs, Scripps/NBC26]
  • “Reforming The Administrative State — And Reining It In” Hoover Institution panel with Adam White, Oren Cass, and Kevin Kosar, moderated by Yuval Levin [video, related Adam White paper, “Reforming Administrative Law to Reflect Administrative Reality”].
  • New Hampshire: “Wal-Mart told to pay pharmacist $16 million for gender bias” [Reuters]
  • Congress seldom has acted as if it believed strongly in D.C. home rule and it’s unlikely to start now [Ryan McDermott, Washington Times, thanks for quotes]

January 4 roundup

Disabled rights roundup

  • Wall Street Journal covers surge in web accessibility suits [Sara Randazzo, WSJ] State and local governments comment on federal proposals for public sector web accessibility;
  • “Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III lawsuits are up 63 percent over 2015, according to law firm Seyfarth Shaw.” [Insurance Journal]
  • “Drive-by” ADA suits in Austin, Tex.: “Lawyer sanctioned $175,000 for phony email, offensive comments” [Ryan Autullo, Austin American-Statesman] Arizona mass-filing attorney responds to professional conduct complaint [East Valley Tribune, earlier]
  • “Airlines seek to limit types of therapy animals allowed on planes” [L.A. Times]
  • “Fired for being (twice) intoxicated on the job, a mechanic for the D.C.-area transit authority undergoes treatment, applies for his job back. But his bosses refuse, allegedly because of his alcoholism. An ADA violation? Indeed, says the D.C. Circuit.” [Alexander v. WMATA as summarized on John Ross, Short Circuits]
  • Department of Justice unveils ADA regulation requiring movie theaters to offer captioning and audio description [Federal Register]

60 Minutes on ADA Drive-By Lawsuits

On Sunday Anderson Cooper at CBS “60 Minutes” covered one of our favorite issues: the way lawyers and clients sue retail businesses by the dozens or hundreds over defects in ADA accessibility compliance and then cash in the complaints for quick settlements. Actually entering the business is not always necessary: it can be enough to drive around the parking lot spotting technical violations.

South Florida store owner Mike Zayed says “no disabled customer had ever complained about the ramp, the sign, or the parking space,” which failed to comply with ADA specs. Zayed “doesn’t think the person who sued him was a real customer because the man claimed he encountered barriers inside the store that didn’t exist.” And now we’re beginning to see “Google lawsuits” in which the complainant consults online aerial maps to discover, for example, which motel owners haven’t yet installed the pool lifts that federal law recently made obligatory. The same attorney using the same client sued more than 60 defendants in 60 days over lack of pool lifts. “At last count, that attorney has sued nearly 600 businesses in just the last two years, many for not having pool lifts.” [Dec. 4 segment and script; full show here (segment begins 32:47).

Disabled rights roundup

  • As filing mills, web accessibility concepts go nationwide and appeals court green-lights use of “testers”: “Disability Lawsuits Against Small Businesses Soar” [Angus Loten, Wall Street Journal]
  • More on legal imperilment of universities’ free online course offerings [George Leef and thanks for quote, earlier here, here]
  • Bill filed by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) would provide for “notice and cure” of some ADA violations [East Valley Tribune]
  • Supreme Court’s CRST decision might open door for defendants to recover legal fees in more ADA cases that did not result in merits ruling [William Goren, earlier on CRST]
  • Prenda Law founder loses law license, won’t be filing access suits for a while [Mike Masnick, earlier]
  • Jury backs Austin, Tex. police officer with narcolepsy [Austin American-Statesman, h/t Mark Pulliam]

ADA lawsuits up 63 percent

“Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III lawsuits are up 63 percent over 2015, according to law firm Seyfarth Shaw. ADA Title III prohibits businesses open to the public from discriminating on the basis of disability. The act applies to a variety of businesses and restaurants, including warehouses, movie theaters, schools, office buildings, day care facilities, doctors’ offices and any new construction of same must comply with the ADA construction standards.”…’More lawyers are finding out that this is a very…lucrative practice,’ said [Seyfarth partner Minh] Vu. The number of suits filed in federal court may top more than 7,000; more lawsuits were filed in the first half of this year than in all of 2013, according to the law firm’s research.” [Insurance Journal]

Related: “Sunshine state attorney seeks website changes, and costs and fees, from snow shoe seller” [John Breslin/Florida Record, and thanks for quote]