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.

Defense strategies

  • Fix then Fight
  • Get out of the lawsuit quickly
  • Immediate compliance of the items in the lawsuit
  • Minimize repair time
  • Re-inspect your store to ensure compliance
  • Moot the case – Show that you have fixed all the items
  • Get the case dismissed
  • Do not mediate without the claimant being present
  • Place a handicap sign at your front door that says: We are happy to provide assistance… this is just a first line of defense for your store

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.

  • In bathrooms there should be a clear space 30 inches by 48 inches for wheelchair access
  • 48 inches is the maximum height limit for a person in a wheelchair to be able to access something (all the items in the bathroom should be at this level)
  • 34 inches for the credit card terminal at your checkout
  • 36 inches for the grab bar inside the bathroom stall
  • Door maneuvering space should be at least 18 inches
  • Bathroom signage should be no higher than 48 inches
  • Use levers for door knobs instead of round knobs

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

Service animals
There are only two questions you can ask when a person enters with a “service animal”

  1. Is this animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

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:

  1. The dog is out of control
  2. The dog is not house trained/broken

After the dog is asked to leave you MUST re-invite the owner to return into the store

IMPORTANT TAKE-AWAY
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.

Web Resources:
Www.ada.gov
Www.access-board.gov
Www.floridabuilding.org

Presenters:

Jeffery Gross, Architect
Jeffery Gross / Associates / Architects PA
Tel: 954-987-3909
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Carl Bober, Attorney
Vernis & Bowling of Broward, P.A
Tel: 954-927-5330
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

** 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.

Published in The Checkout

For Immediate Release: March 22, 2016
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850) 701-3015

Florida Retail Federation’s Josie Legido Correa to take reigns as Executive Director, and serve as lead advocate for the needs of Florida’s $45 billion grocery industry

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Grocers Association (FGA), a division of the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) and the state’s lead advocate for its $45 billion grocery industry, announced that Josie Legido Correa will take over as Executive Director, replacing longtime grocery veteran Tom Jackson who will remain as a consultant to FRF. Correa’s official date leading the organization is effective March 21.

“Josie has extensive experience meeting the diverse needs of FRF’s members and serving as a successful advocate for Florida’s retailers, including grocers, and announcing her as new Executive Director is a natural fit,” said FRF President/CEO Randy Miller. “I want to thank Tom Jackson for his incredible leadership and dedication to launching FGA last year and positioning it as the premier organization and voice for the Sunshine State’s grocery industry. I look forward to Josie expanding on the foundation that Tom has built and ensuring FGA becomes the powerful and impactful voice the industry needs.”

Josie has served as FRF’s South Florida Regional Director since 2013, and has significantly grown the organization’s membership in that area by showcasing the benefits of FRF membership, hosting networking and educational events and working with local and state officials on behalf of FRF members regarding issues impacting their business. In preparation for her new role as FGA Executive Director, Correa has been working with local and statewide grocers under the guidance of Jackson, who spent 35 years leading a state’s grocery industry, to better understand their needs and those issues important to them.

“This is a great opportunity to grow an organization which serves such an important and diverse sector of Florida’s economy, and I am thankful for the opportunity,” said Correa. “Tom’s insight has been invaluable to me and he has left FGA in an incredible position for me to take to the next level. I’m excited about what the future holds for Florida’s grocers and I look forward to advocating for them at the local, state and national level.”

Florida has not had a statewide grocers association for 20 years. FGA was launched last year to provide a voice and identity to the state’s $45 billion grocery industry. Correa will look to continue expanding FGA’s membership while also serving the needs of the more than 2,300 grocery stores and their industry partners statewide.

For more information about the Florida Grocers Association, please visit flgrocers.org.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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Published in Media Relations