THE LAW- The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.
ADA Lawsuits are brought on because a claimant is stating that you have discriminated against them, and the lawsuit is the vehicle that is being used to bring you into compliance with the ADA Law. In these lawsuits if you are found guilty you will be required to pay the Attorney’s fees for the claimants Attorney. Therefore in many cases the Claimant’s Attorney is in no hurry to settle the cases and instead will drag this lawsuit on for as long as possible to increase their attorney’s fees. Therefore the following defense strategies are recommended.
Many of the items that are usually cited in these lawsuit can be repaired fairly quickly and without spending too much time and money such as: lowering items so that people in wheelchairs can reach them, items such as soap dispensers, bars, toilet seat covers, ticket dispenser, the hook behind bathroom door, the credit card terminal, etc..
Places of public accommodation (your stores) must remove architectural barriers that impede the access for people in wheelchairs but it must be “Readily Achievable”. In other words, if it is something inexpensive and easy to fix, it MUST get fixed to comply with the ADA law. If it is something larger and more expensive like removing a beam, moving a wall, creating a completely new bathroom etc.. then these items may not be READILY ACHIEVABLE due to the cost for your stores to get this done.
Handicap Parking Spaces
A claimant can sue both the tenant & the landlord regarding handicap parking spaces For every 25 parking spaces there should be one handicap space After 100 parking spaces in your lot, the amounts go up
There are only two questions you can ask when a person enters with a “service animal”
Note: You cannot ask for documentation to show that the animal is a service animal
The only two reasons you can ask to remove the dog from your store are:
After the dog is asked to leave you MUST re-invite the owner to return into the store
It is less expensive to fix ADA Compliance items NOW then to pay an Attorney to defend your case, or settle your case, and in addition, possibly have to pay for the claimant’s attorney’s fees as well if the Judge rules in favor of the claimant.
Jeffery Gross, Architect
Jeffery Gross / Associates / Architects PA
Carl Bober, Attorney
Vernis & Bowling of Broward, P.A
** Disclaimer: This flier is being provided for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding any of the topics of this workshop, it is recommended that you seek independent legal counsel regarding your specific concerns.