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ADA Lawsuits

August 2016 | Revised February 2017

ADA "Serial Litigation" Threatens Commercial Property Owners, Tenants

UPDATE: On February 17, 2017, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge dismissed over 1,000 ADA lawsuits. An East Valley Tribune article describes Jim Valletta's efforts to recover more than $5,100 in legal fees for one of his clients.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

In the last year, a newly formed “non‐profit” corporation, Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities Foundation, Inc., has filed lawsuits against property owners alleging an assortment of violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Some of the lawsuits specifically focus on ADA violations in bathrooms, such as improper urinal heights and improper placement of mirrors, soap dispensers and assistance bars. Other allegations include:

  • service counters being too high, and therefore discriminatory against wheelchair-bound individuals;

  • location of handicapped parking spaces; and

  • the location and dimensions of signage required under the ADA.

Nearly 1,000 of these lawsuits are pending in Maricopa County alone, many on behalf of plaintiffs Fabian Zazueta, David Ritzenthaler or Santiago Abreu. We have been involved in defending several of these cases, and we expect many more to be filed this year.

Our experience is that very few retail, commercial, office or industrial parking lots in Arizona fully comply with the ADA, especially if they are older properties.

Some properties might be exempt under the ADA’s “safe harbor” provision. However, if no exemptions apply, litigating these cases can be quite costly, and it is often more economical to resolve the matter short of responding to the litigation.

If you would like additional information regarding ways to comply with the ADA or for a referral to a consultant to perform an onsite inspection, please contact Jim Valletta (602-264-7101 or email) or your Warner Angle real estate attorney.

Contacting us before you are a party to one of these lawsuits may save you thousands of dollars in fees and costs.

 
          

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