By Catherine M. Corfee, Esq – Corfee Stone Law Corporation

If you are a business located on Robertson Blvd in Los Angeles, be aware of disabled plaintiffs who are filing ADA access lawsuits in federal court. Three separate disabled plaintiffs hit a pet groomer, a Liquor Store, and a Nail Salon for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The disabled plaintiffs are Kenneth Davis, Guri Gonzalez, and Hee Soon Park. All three ADA plaintiffs are using the same law firm, i.e., So. Cal Equal Access Group (located on South Western Ave., in Los Angeles). They are all alleged wheelchair users. These three lawsuits were filed in the Central District Court of Los Angeles. Their complaints are mostly boilerplate with the exact same claims and alleged injuries except for the name changes and a different description of their particular disabilities. Each one sued over parking signage, i.e., a missing sign stating “Minimum$250” or “Van.”

Piture of Sign States Minimum Fine $250

It is hard to believe that they were literally “barred” from accessing the facility due to that missing sign. Yet, each disabled plaintiff chooses to hail these small businesses into Federal Court for money for themselves and their attorneys. They almost never write a letter or inform the business owner about their alleged “injury” to encourage perfect ADA compliance.

It is hard to believe that a missing sign that states “Min. Fine $250” would prevent a wheelchair user from parking and going into the facility. This appears to be a minor issue to raise in Federal Court. A simple letter to the business owner informing them of the problem and asking for a sign to be posted could likely avoid the lawsuit. That, however, would prevent the disabled person from attempting to settle and obtain money. These abuses are continuing to plague the Federal Courts and businesses who otherwise believe they are in compliance because they have disabled parking. Preventative action could help by retaining an ADA attorney, and a CASp to inspect the property to avoid a lawsuit. There is a California defense that if a small business fixes an alleged barrier inspected by a CASp within 120 days, then there is a presumption of no liability. The inspection, however, must pre-date the Plaintiff’s lawsuit.

For ADA Access pre-lawsuit advice, please contact Ms. Catherine M. Corfee at 916-487-5441.