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‘Drive-By’ ADA Lawsuits Have Business Owners On Edge

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Some Florida business owners say they feel under siege by private citizens who are aggressively filing lawsuits alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Several small businesses in Ybor City, Fla. have been the targets of recent suits filed by one man — Kendrick Duldulao, an area doctor who uses a wheelchair. Since last fall, he’s filed 29 lawsuits alleging ADA violations ranging from counters that are too high to doors that are not wide enough at restaurants, convenience stores and even a local strip club.

Rather than give establishments an opportunity to fix problems, business owners say Duldulao demands that they settle financially — often for about $15,000 — or go to court.

Duldulao doesn’t appear to be alone in his tactics. Elsewhere in Florida another man has filed over 200 ADA lawsuits since 2007. And nationally, the number of ADA lawsuits filed by non-employees is up 54 percent in the last two years, topping 1,900.

Advocacy groups refer to the suits as “drive-by” and question whether they actually help the community or just line the pockets of a few individuals. What’s more they say the suits can turn business owners against the ADA.

Supporters of the suits, however, say that after 20 years business owners should be in compliance with the law, reports The Tampa Tribune. To read more click here.

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Comments (3 Responses)

  1. haddayr says:

    Please tell us which ‘advocacy groups.’ I would really like to know which supposed advocacy groups think that fighting for our rights is somehow bad for disabled people.

  2. vmgillen says:

    Perhaps the businesses should form a Chamber of Commerce committee to evaluate conditions and facilitate remediation. Yeah, 20 years is long enough, already! and in Florida, no less, with all the retirees and their attendant mobility issues? One would think lost business would be enough to inspire them to mend their ways… anyway, working towards remediation would provide a a response to the suits (mitigating factor)

  3. DonaldOberloh says:

    Haddayr,

    I for, as a disabled American, and Regional Director of the National Advocacy for ADA Compliant Businesses

    We too have to file suit to get businesses to comply because out of 1200 busineeses in Indiana not one responded positively to a series of three letters outlining their non-compliance. I think that drive by lawsuits are giving us all a bad name. We all find non compliant businesses each day in our normal routine than to have to look for violations at businesses you do not really shop at. Granted we have to resort to law suits, and do not legally have to notify a non-compliant owner, but since we do, no one can say they didnt have a chance. We also show small busineeses how they can get government money (upfront) to pay for both the consultation fee and the corrections.

    Personally I believe every non-compliant businesses n the country should become immediately compliant of face alot more punitive damages than are allowed these days, but if anyone notifies businesses, they wont have anything to bitch about. We ‘settle’ for full compliance and our consultation fee of $ 499.99 for small businesses, 10 cents a sq ft for larger busineeses. We do not use an attorney allowing us to keep the legal fees to a minimum. Voluntary compliant businesses recieve yearly reinspections, ADA freindly certification and free advertising in local demographic specific advertising.

    So yes This advocate and advocacy group thinks thaqt drive by lawsuits, byu folks who do not even enter the place of business or help owners become voluntarily complaint hurt or cause in the court of public opinion.

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