Often in California, there are “serial plaintiffs”. They are represented by attorneys who specialize in ADA lawsuits. They have the option to file their lawsuit in either one of the Federal Courts or State Courts located in California. There are tactical reasons to choose one or the other.
The American Disability Act has been around since 1990. Building codes addressed many issues concerning the disabled from the 1960s. There is an ongoing responsibility to remove architectural barriers to the disabled (ABA 1968). Failure to comply violates the civil rights of the disabled.
Violations can create legislated minimum damage awards of $1,000, $2,000 or $4,000 plus plaintiff attorney’s reasonable fees for each non-compliant issue. The Division of the State Architect (DSA) has compiled the 10 most litigated issues in California. Your letter or notification should have stated what the issues are.
You may have received a “filed complaint” that reserves the plaintiff’s right to amend the complaint for additional violations to be determined later.
Usually business owners believe this is unfair, a scam or “legalized extortion”. Accepting as a fact, this is legalized extortion, one must make the business decision of how to limit the expense in the most favorable manner. It is best to seek advice from a competent attorney on this issue.
We believe, it is also important to obtain a CASp inspection for your immediate issue and the future.
On the DSA website, they state the following benefits of a CASp inspection:
Why is it beneficial to hire a CASp?
A CASp has passed an examination and has been certified by the State of California to have specialized knowledge of the applicability of state and federal construction-related accessibility standards. A CASp will know which standards apply to your property based on the age of your facility and its history of improvements. While a licensed design professional, such as an architect or engineer, can provide you an access compliance evaluation of your facility, only a CASp can provide services that offer you “qualified defendant” status in a construction-related accessibility lawsuit. You can retain the services of a CASp at any time, however, “qualified defendant” status is only provided if you receive an inspection of your existing facility and a report from a CASp, and abide to a schedule of improvements toward compliance before a construction-related accessibility claim is filed against you.
We of course believe Apollo ADA a division of Apollo Construction Services, Inc. is the best choice. We would welcome the opportunity to assist you through this experience.
Please contact us.