Trump Hotel Sued For Alleged ADA Violations
CHICAGO — A Florida man is suing Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago for multiple alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, from improper grab bars in the restrooms to counters that were too tall at the hotel bar.
Howard Cohan claims in the lawsuit filed late last week in Chicago federal court that he has neurological problems from spinal stenosis, and said it would be a “futile gesture” to return to the property as long as the violations exist. He last visited the hotel in August, according to the lawsuit.
Cohan, who lives in Palm Beach County, refers to himself in the lawsuit as a “tester” for discovering “discrimination against the disabled” in public accommodations. He has filed numerous lawsuits against businesses in Chicago and across the country, many of which have been settled.
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Because the terms of settlement are generally not disclosed, it is unclear if the businesses made any changes as a result of the lawsuits.
Cohan’s attorney and Trump hotel executives did not immediately return requests for comment.
Cohan found the alleged violations at the Trump hotel in Chicago during three visits from 2015 to 2017, according to the lawsuit. Beyond the grab bars, the lawsuit claims several issues with restrooms in the lobby and at the 16th floor restaurant, including improperly positioned toilet paper dispensers, toilet seats, urinals and coat hooks.
According to the lawsuit, the mezzanine-level bar and 16th floor restaurant had counters that exceeded 36 inches in height, an ADA violation making it “impossible to service a person” with a disability. The 16th floor restaurant, formerly known as Sixteen, is closed for redesign, according to the hotel.
The ADA, a federal law that took effect in 1990, prohibits discrimination and mandates access for people with disabilities in public and private places open to the general public.
The 2010 ADA standards for accessible design spell out very specific requirements for restrooms, and are heavily cited in Cohan’s lawsuit.
Cohan has filed several similar lawsuits against Chicago hotels over the past three years, ranging from the Super 8 Motel in Naperville to The Peninsula Chicago, which features the city’s most expensive rooms. Both cases were settled for undisclosed terms, according to court filings.
In March, Cohan filed a disability lawsuit against the Chicago Downtown Marriott, which is pending in Chicago federal court.
While hotels are a primary target, Cohan sued American Girl Place after visiting the retail store on North Michigan Avenue in 2015 over alleged ADA violations in its men’s restroom. The case was settled in July 2016 for undisclosed terms.
“The problem is that when you settle one (case), there is a business next door,” Kevin Fritz, an attorney who represented American Girl in the Cohan lawsuit, said Monday. “This is a big issue right now. Given the amount of lawsuits that this person files, it seems like they tend to move from business to business.”
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