Americans with Disabilities
Facility Litigation Defense
A property owner or tenant receives an unpleasant surprise in the way of being served with a lawsuit filed in federal court alleging that their property fails to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This federal law, which was originally well intended when enacted in 1990, has been a large source of abuse. Typically a man in a wheelchair appears on the businesses’ premises with absolutely no intent to transact any business with the owner. Instead, the person stealthily views the premises and notes alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act to arm his lawyer to file a lawsuit against the business and/or land owner. The law is inherently unfair because a plaintiff can immediately commence litigation against the property owner without being required to first make a demand to make the necessary alternations. The plaintiff cannot actually collect any money from the property owner and is only entitled to injunctive relief. The incentive to file these cases is that the lawyer representing the plaintiff can collect attorney’s fees from the property owner if he prevails or if he obtains a settlement agreement which is approved by the court.
Mark has vast experience in defending property owners against these claims. A property owner must determine if the property must be altered as demanded in the Complaint. Much of that determination will be based on whether the changed demanded are readily achievable and whether the structure was existing at the time of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.