Accessibility Lawsuits Under ADA

CBS aired a segment on December 4, 2016, on 60 Minutes exploring a rash of lawsuits regarding handicap accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA").  read about the segment here  

The focus of the segment was what is known as "drive-by" lawsuits of "Google Earth" lawsuits in which lawyers in California literally drive by businesses or search for them on Google Earth to see if there might be a visible ADA violation such as the lack of a pool lift at a motel or the wrong sort of ramp and parking space at any business.  Some states allow a person with a disability to sue a business even if they have never entered the store or restaurant, etc.  Others require that the person with a disability actually be a customer, but that is remedied by a one-time stop in order to save a receipt. 

While we have not seen any true "drive-by" or "Google Earth" lawsuits in Central Illinois, we have and are defending suits where it is clear the plaintiffs were recruited, with names being plucked from vendor lists for equipment specifically made for persons with disabilities.

Many business owners believe if the building in which they are located was built before 1992, the year the ADA was enacted, they are "grandfathered" in and no modification is necessary.  This isn't true and the modifications are exceedingly technical.

If you have questions regarding whether your business is compliant with the ADA, would like a consult about the ADA, or are facing potential litigation regarding ADA and access, please contact Lorilea Buerkett or Rick Grenzebach.

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