ADA Litigation Sweeps Across Arizona
If you own, manage or lease a commercial building, or know someone who does, the following news will be of interest. In the past year, there has been a wave of litigation sweeping across Arizona (and other states) filed under the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
A single plaintiff, represented by the same attorney, has filed approximately 1,200 lawsuits against Arizona building owners alleging ADA violations. The lawsuits are uniform, alleging ADA violations of handicapped signage in the parking lot, and of handicapped parking spaces. In general, the plaintiff is seeking a monetary settlement in the range of $2,500 to $5,000. It is reported that approximately 300 cases have been settled, and that the plaintiff has been paid approximately $1,200,000 in compensation. It is also reported that the plaintiff intends to file another 8,000 cases in the near future.
The Arizona Attorney General has intervened in the 1,300 cases that are still open, and those cases have been consolidated before a single judge. The judge has entered an order directing the plaintiff to refrain from filing further lawsuits, but that order may be open to question.
If you or someone you know have been sued, or if you are sued in the future, you should not settle with the plaintiff without first consulting with our office. There are a number of reasons the plaintiff may not be entitled to compensation.
Even if you have been sued and have settled with the plaintiff, you must correct the alleged deficiencies. Settlement with one plaintiff does not mean that you will not be sued by another for the exact same violations. In fact, you are a sitting duck.
Now is also the perfect time to conduct a full ADA audit. It is rumored that the plaintiff is recruiting handicapped individuals to canvas the entire state for ADA violations. If your property is in violation, you should fix it immediately. The cost of the fix is probably much less than the cost to defend the lawsuit.
The burden upon the Arizona economy and the court system by this vexatious litigation is enormous. You can protect yourself by correcting any ADA violations now and defending any lawsuit, if you are sued.
Please let us know if you have any questions about this subject, or any others that might be of interest to you.