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ADA Compliance, How to not get sued........
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Harry Nutczak
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Location: The Northwoods

PostPosted: Sun Dec 26 10 5:30 am    Post subject: ADA Compliance, How to not get sued........ Reply with quote

Since times are little tight, some people are taking advantage of an easy way to win the "Scumbag Lottery" by filing frivolous lawsuits against small business by using the ADA laws (Americans With Disabilities Act) to pocket some easy money for themselves.

I am not talking about major violations, I am referring to minor crap that is easy for them to win in court because if the offended person would have simply asked the owner for something to be changed, it would have cost nearly nothing to the business owner to make those adjustments.
But instead, they file lawsuits, Multiple lawsuits, one for each visit for the inconveniences they were "Forced" to suffer while patronizing the targeted business.

Here are things involved in some easily lost cases;
Restroom mirror too high,
Round Door handles
Tall service counters
unsecured floor mats
payphone placement
requiring a key to get into the restroom
Etc Etc Etc.

And each time they visit your establishment, they can count it as an incident of non-compliance. So if they never mention a problem to you, and visit your place 30 times in a year, they can sue for several thousands of dollars per each and every visit.

Here is a link to some obvious items (pictures and explanations) so keep an eye out, and beware of being sued by people because of the ADA laws.
http://www.accessissues.com/guaranteedlawsuits.html

I started researching this because I installed some new paper-towel dispensers in my restrooms, and the mounting instructions specifically stated that the bottom of the dispenser "MUST BE EXACTLY 53.5 INCHES ABOVE THE FLOOR" or I will not be in compliance with current ADA laws.

I know for a fact that my mirrors are non-compliant now, and I plan on fixing those today because of this. Really! getting sued over the mirror in the 'Stink-Lodge"? Yes, it is common, especially in California.

You wanna really freak? look at the fines involved, and look at some of the lawsuits that have been won using ADA compliance laws.

SO, do you still want to be a small business owner now?
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daddywoofdawg
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26 10 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I can see at least one of those violations at every business i have been to.My local wal-mart has alot of those.And there are a couple of items that are (are you sh!tting me!Really?)So If I can't reach something I can sue?I'm tall and have arthritis in my back so bending is hard so I can sue for something being on the bottom shelf?reach-in coolers that Pepsi,coke have are a violation?I have no problem with full acess for the handi-XXX but there has to be a limit.
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Last edited by daddywoofdawg on Sun Dec 26 10 2:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Soapm
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26 10 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

daddywoofdawg wrote:
I think I can see at least one of those violations at every business i have been to.My local wal-mart has alot of those.And there are a couple of items that are (are you sh!tting me!Really?)So I I can reach something I can sue?I'm tall and have arthritis in my back so bending is hard so I can sue for something being on the bottom shelf?reach-in coolers that Pepsi,coke have are a violation?


Just make sure you point out the conspiracy that only your brands are put on the bottom shelf and they know of your condition and those are the only brands you can use...
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jess
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26 10 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are also a lot of supposed ADA lawyers & supporters than spend their winter in Fl. We get a lot of them that will contact you about violation complaints ( handicap parking, isle width, etc.) that they will make go away for a contribution to their fund...
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26 10 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jess wrote:

go away for a contribution to their fund...


Yup, you nailed it! They do not care if it is changed to meet the laws, they just want the coin! What is that called? I think extortion fits very well!

Like any measure that people think is good, there are always people who will use it to take advantage of others. Did we need some concessions for people with disabilities? Yes. Did we need to make everything specifically designed for them with no regards to the other 99.99999% of the population?
And why are these judges allowing people to take advantage of these poorly worded ADA laws by finding for the plaintiff in these frivolous cases?

Ya wanna know how many people I have had in my restaurant that were confined to a wheelchair? "0"!
I have not had a single person in a wheelchair use our ADA compliant restroom, then I have people asking why we only have 12 indoor seats, I explain the ADA laws and that only one of our restrooms is considered ADA compliant, and explain that federal law prohibits me from having more than 12 seats available for that very reason.

I can have people standing and eating at tall tables , as many as are legal to occupy my building, I just cannot offer them seating inside?

Well, back to the topic. grab a tape measure, and inspect every single fixture in your business so you do not become a victim of attorneys preying on restaurants under the guise of ADA laws.

Oh, If my building had a plaque on the outside stating it is a landmark, all the ADA requirements are null & void! I could stuff as many people in here as the fire codes allow, and not need any ADA compliant anything.

I occupy the 2nd oldest building on the island, it is a landmark. BUT, if it gets designated as such, no remodeling or exterior appearance changes can happen. So the owner of the building does not want it declared a landmark.

it was one of the few surviving building from the fire of 1913, it was built in the mid to late 1800's. It is allegedly haunted, but I have seen nothing to think so, YET!
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norcalbob
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20 11 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow how timely is this, I haven't been here in awhile and it just so happens we just got a letter and an ADA booklet from some guy here in norcal asking us to bring our place into compliance, judging by the letter(form letter) they haven't been to our place, I think they're sending out feelers, he wants us to note all of the changes and send them to him, the only thing I can see at our place is a handicap parking stall and a couple of door handles, we have a couple regulars that use wheelchairs and they have no problem with our seating and counters, so we'll see where this goes.

Bob
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EastTennQcrew
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24 11 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have questions about a the guidlines you need to follow. Yo might try calling the local building inspector to get a copy of the ADA rules.

We do comercial casework, in our area. And I see alot of plans and have alot of info on the specs. Making a call and having the info before yo need it may save some head aches in the future.



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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25 11 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

norcalbob wrote:
Wow how timely is this, I haven't been here in awhile and it just so happens we just got a letter and an ADA booklet from some guy here in norcal asking us to bring our place into compliance, judging by the letter(form letter) they haven't been to our place, I think they're sending out feelers, he wants us to note all of the changes and send them to him, the only thing I can see at our place is a handicap parking stall and a couple of door handles, we have a couple regulars that use wheelchairs and they have no problem with our seating and counters, so we'll see where this goes.

Bob


Hopefully the person who sent you out that letter isn't just doing it as part of the required steps to file suit against you.
CA has been a hotbed of frivolous ADA suits these last few years, I hope you are not being targeted
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norcalbob
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04 11 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:
norcalbob wrote:
Wow how timely is this, I haven't been here in awhile and it just so happens we just got a letter and an ADA booklet from some guy here in norcal asking us to bring our place into compliance, judging by the letter(form letter) they haven't been to our place, I think they're sending out feelers, he wants us to note all of the changes and send them to him, the only thing I can see at our place is a handicap parking stall and a couple of door handles, we have a couple regulars that use wheelchairs and they have no problem with our seating and counters, so we'll see where this goes.

Bob


Hopefully the person who sent you out that letter isn't just doing it as part of the required steps to file suit against you.
CA has been a hotbed of frivolous ADA suits these last few years, I hope you are not being targeted



Harry,

That's exactly what was going on, this individual as we found out makes a living at this, from what we were told he'll get a list of business's from a particular city and just send out a mass mailing and business's that don't respond to his thirty day demand get's sued Evil or Very Mad

So I was just going to ignore this guy because I thought it was just another person try to run a scam(we've had several), but luckily our business neighbor came to eat and I told him and he said it was very real and I better take action, he received the same letter(our inspector thinks everyone on our street got one) so long story short we hired a Certified Access Specialist and had our CASp inspection today, they ARE NOT CHEAP!

I would suggest to everyone here in this state to look into it, with this economy our inspector told us these lawsuits are growing like wildfire, once you are inspected you have certain protections under Senate Bill 1608, I would also suggest looking up SB1608, HTH

Bob
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04 11 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You dodged a bullet there, I was reading about CA and the frivolous cases against many independent places and the judge who finds everyone guilty and imposes huge payment for this crap, That is why I posted this!!

One place got nailed for 27 counts on a mirror being 2" to high, the judge ordered payment of $4K to this woman for each count!
I wonder if there is some kickback happening to the judge who is screwing these business owners.
Imagine getting over $100K tax free because a mirror was not to spec! WTF?
So, does this inspector take responsibility if he missed something? Something doesn't seem right there either.
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crashpilot
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04 11 11:38 pm    Post subject: Re: ADA Compliance, How to not get sued........ Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:
"Scumbag Lottery"

I've never heard that phrase before, but I absolutely agree with you. It is 110% accurate in its description.
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norcalbob
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05 11 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry,
Well you know no one is perfect everyone can miss something but if we were to be sued it's in the contract that he will be available for us, and getting the inspection is no guarantee we still won't get sued, it's unlikely now because if I understand it correctly the max now is $4000 and if you count attorney fee's that's not worth it, plus according SB1608 the suit has to got through an evaluation between the plaintiff the state evaluation board and the defendant before they decide if it should go to court.

You know the funny part about this was watching the landlords face while the inspector was telling all of these horror stories Laughing

Bob
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Idaho_Roper
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05 11 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have to love lawyers and judges, throw in a few poorly written laws and it's the perfect cocktail to the destruction of some unsuspecting peep just trying to get by in the world.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05 11 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So they lowered the max settlement? Per visit, or total compensation?

I am willing to bet it is per instance, so lets say that woman visited 10 times, documented the same non-compliant issue each time, is she now able to get $40K or just $4K?

has that senate bill been ratified or is it still working through the legislature? I don't think the identifier would be an "SB" if it was an actual law already.

Just be careful, if I got a judgement for tens of thousands against me for some BS non-compliant issue, I would probably be up on murder charges next, or at least Ag-Bat with a deadly weapon, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, and a little mayhem thrown in for good measure. My tirade in court on an ADA ruling like that would make Chef Ramsay look like a teddy bear.
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Soapm
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06 11 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Idaho_Roper wrote:
You have to love lawyers and judges, throw in a few poorly written laws and it's the perfect cocktail to the destruction of some unsuspecting peep just trying to get by in the world.


+1... I agree with handicap accessibility but I think it has to be balanced and viewed with the businesses ability to operate. I believe that's why the law originally had the word "reasonable accommodations" in it. However reasonable is a relative term tat varied based on the perspective of the parties involved. Reasonable to the complainant is always different from reasonable to the defendant. Where really do we draw the line?

Someone once tried to make first offenses a warning after which the defendant had time to comply. I'm guessing the lawyers money to lobbyist squelched that pretty fast...
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06 11 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Soapm wrote:
Where really do we draw the line?.


At this point, I am just happy that people who suffer from dwarfism haven't gotten a good lobbyist, otherwise all of our sinks would be required to be 14" above the floor!
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Soapm
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06 11 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:
Soapm wrote:
Where really do we draw the line?.


At this point, I am just happy that people who suffer from dwarfism haven't gotten a good lobbyist, otherwise all of our sinks would be required to be 14" above the floor!


And a fat guy like me wouldn't be able to get off the toilet! Not without rolling on the floor...
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norcalbob
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06 11 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:
So they lowered the max settlement? Per visit, or total compensation?

I am willing to bet it is per instance, so lets say that woman visited 10 times, documented the same non-compliant issue each time, is she now able to get $40K or just $4K?

has that senate bill been ratified or is it still working through the legislature? I don't think the identifier would be an "SB" if it was an actual law already.

Just be careful, if I got a judgement for tens of thousands against me for some BS non-compliant issue, I would probably be up on murder charges next, or at least Ag-Bat with a deadly weapon, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, and a little mayhem thrown in for good measure. My tirade in court on an ADA ruling like that would make Chef Ramsay look like a teddy bear.


My inspector gave us a written summary of SB1608(you can find SB1608 very easily with a quick search)and the money caps is one of the protections under the bill once you are inspected by a CASp inspector and yes the bill is law, it was signed in 2008 and like I said once inspected if you are sued it doesn't go directly to court it has to go before an evaluation board first and there the business owner/landlord has options to remedy the complaints before going to court.

So in my opinion you're better off with the inspection than not, yea it was a lot of money but after talking with my inspector I feel better.

Bob
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06 11 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, that makes the inspection fee a little more tolerable, but it almost seems as a mandated tax!

have this guy inspect your place for $xxx.xx, and if you get sued, you can only lose this much, but if you do not pay an inspector, you may get sued for more.

Bob, you just reminded me of another reason I have never had an interest in visiting the left coast.
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norcalbob
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07 11 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well you know it is what it is, You just have to suck it up and continue on, on the bright side we had a Fantastic weekend at the restaurant!!!!! Very Happy
Bob
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