In recent years, there has been a flood of federal lawsuits filed against companies for violating the Americans with Disability act and the Arizonans with Disabilities Act. The overwhelming majority of these ADA lawsuits in Arizona are brought by three individuals; Theresa Brooke, Santiago Abreu, and Dameion Mosley. In the Complaint, the Plaintiff will refer to themselves as a “tester”. Abreu and Dameion are represented by Chastain & Afshari. Brooke is the plaintiff in over 100 Federal ADA lawsuits. Since October 28, 2015, and up to May 15, 2016, Abreu alone has filed 33 lawsuits.
The Plaintiffs usually bring claims against business owners for failing to provide handicap individuals accommodations that are required under the ADA. Between the three of them, they have brought claims for inadequate restrooms, inadequate access ways, and unsuitable counter heights. The ADA is very specific as to what is required but many business owners are not familiar with the lengthy ADA statute. For instance, the ADA requires that the water closet, paper towel dispenser, and mirror be a certain height from the ground.
Regardless of whether you are a large commercial retailer, hotel chain, or simply own a small restaurant or bar, the lawsuit must be taken seriously. The Plaintiffs do not discriminate against whom they bring an action. Abreu’s defendants range from large corporations like the Sugar Bowl Corporation to small local restaurants like Casey Moore’s. Despite how “unfair” it may seem that you did not receive proper notice of the alleged ADA violations, the Federal District Court of Arizona has held that notice from the Plaintiff is not required before the plaintiff files the lawsuit. The Court has reasoned that the business was put on notice with the enactment of ADA in 1990 and the facilities should be in compliance.
Defending against ADA violations should not be taken lightly. If you fail to successfully defend the lawsuit against the ADA claims, it can be very costly. The courts have made it clear that they prefer all places of public accommodations, like restaurants and hotels, to accommodate the handicapped population. Whether making the accommodations is feasible or whether making the accommodations would cause an undue hardship to the business, is judged on a case-by-case basis.
If you receive a complaint against your business that alleges ADA violations and is brought Abreu, Mosley, or Brooke, do not delay. After you are served with the complaint, you only have 21 days to file the answer with the Court. If you want an attorney with experience defending these ADA lawsuits in your corner, do not hesitate to contact me at my office.