Accessibility Cases under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
DEFENDING PROPERTY OWNERS AND SMALL BUSINESSES FROM ACCESSIBILITY CLAIMS
Under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, no individual may be discriminated against on the basis of disability with regards to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases or operates a place of public accommodation. Public accommodations include most places of lodging, recreation, transportation, education, and dining, along with stores, care providers, and places of public displays, among other things. Under Title III of the ADA “new construction” must be fully compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines. Title III also has application to facilities that were constructed prior to its implementation. Generally, if removing barriers is readily achievable (i.e. easily accomplished without much difficulty or expense) they are expected to be in compliance with the ADA.
"Drive-By Litigation" Against Small Businesses
Unfortunately, one of the consequences of this important civil rights law is that there is now a cadre of professional plaintiffs and their attorneys, who go around filing lawsuits against multiple places of public accommodation. Under the ADA, a successful plaintiff may be entitled to an award of their attorney’s fees in bringing such an action, even if there are only minor or technical violations. In South Florida, some Plaintiffs have filed hundreds of lawsuits. These suits are often referred to as “drive-by litigation” because the Plaintiff drives by the place of business, looks around, and then files suit. In many of these cases, a recovery of attorney's fees is the real motivation. One federal judge has described it as a "cottage industry." Our goal is to minimize the expense to you in defending these cases and your exposure in costs for bringing the property into compliance and the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees.
According to a recent Sun Sentinel article, South Florida leads the nation in ADA claims.
The Minerley Fein Difference
At Minerley Fein, P.A., we review your case, inspect your premises, and advise you on how to remedy any violations at your place of business. We then develop the best strategy to defend the litigation and resolve the case in the most-inexpensive way possible. We will work with you and structure an appropriate fee arrangement for your particular situation.