August 2016 |
Revised February 2017
ADA "Serial Litigation" Threatens Commercial Property Owners,
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.
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
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
Contacting us before you are a party to one of these
lawsuits may save you thousands of dollars in fees and costs.