We've all heard of ADA abuse. Some with disabilities file a mind-numbing number of lawsuits (in certain instances exceeding 500 or more). These are frequent filers. We've handled a number of these cases and brought each to a successful conclusion. These frequent filers are:
Chris Langer, Misael Romero, Luis Villegas , James Rutherford, Richard Q. Le, James Zarian, Shirley Lindsay, Nehemiah Kong, Alfred Bernard, Brian Whitaker, Evaristo Cortes, Juan Briseno, Young Hee Park, Samuel Zarian, United African-Asian Abilities Club, Fidel Rodriguez, Robert Elguezabel, Jose Estrada, Jeanette Jaime, Gary Scherer, Stephen Turner, Benito Bautista, Cecil Eugene Shaw, John Weekley, Rafael Arroyo Jr., Andres Gomez, Matthew Verdiglione, Jesus Aparicio, Alfonso Garcia, John Ho, Abacus Heras, Moises Reynoso, Dwain Lammey, and many more.
The law firms and attorneys who represent these frequent filers are:
Center for Disability Access - Ray Ballister Jr., Russel Handy, Phyl Grace, Dennis Price, Advanced Disability Advocates - Kevin Hong, So. Cal. Equal Access Group - Jason Yoon, John Y. Kim, Ross Cornell, Joseph R. Manning, Michael J. Manning, Craig G. Cote, Ascension Law Group - Pamela Tsao, Jong Yun Kim, Richard E. Politiski and many more.
In our view the preferred way to resolve an ADA lawsuit is to take immediate steps to correct deficiencies where they may exist, and seek a court order for an exemption where correcting deficiencies is not readily achievable. If, for instance, you as a landlord or business operator do not have the means to fully bring the site into compliance because it might cost you your business, you may seek a court order to grant you additional time to make the alterations. This can be achieved provided in the interim you are able to arrange for alternate and equivalent ways of serving disabled patrons.
Those interested in learning more about the architectural guidelines can visit https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/buildings-and-sites/about-the-ada-standards/background/adaag.
Beware of attorneys who claim to be able to settle your case for a fixed fee. While you may be able to quickly settle an existing lawsuit for a few thousand, if you do not correct the underlying barriers you may find yourself facing additional lawsuits by the same group of plaintiffs.
Also, beware of attorneys who claim to “understand how to minimize attorney’s fees and costs in defending against ADA lawsuits...” These are the same attorneys who will stoke the flames, antagonize the opposing attorney, and ultimately cost both sides excessive amounts of attorney’s fees for self-serving reasons (we have the evidence to show you). The focus must be on resolving architectural barriers permanently. Only then can subsequent lawsuits be avoided.
The truth is, most deficiencies can be corrected at minimal cost. A compromise may be had with costly alterations - with the court’s approval - provided such compromise is backed by a CA Access Specialist's report.
Q: What should I do now that I’ve been sued?
A: Let’s start with what you should NOT do, and that is a quick settlement thinking that the problem is over. What you should do instead is hire a competent Access Specialist from the State of California List of Access Specialists. You should, in addition, hire a competent attorney who can challenge the plaintiff's claims and resolve the case cost effectively.
Q: What is the difference between a lawsuit filed in District Court versus a Superior Court of California?
A: Claims made under the Americans with Disabilities Act are generally brought in Federal Court and are overseen by Federal Judges. Cases brought in State Court generally involve California law and not Federal Law. The current trend seems to be for plaintiffs to file cases in Federal Court, as frequent filers are not penalized for their litigious ways. In State Court, frequent filers would be obligated to pay an additional filing free of $1,000 per case for every case beyond the first 10 cases brought within a 12-month period.