If you or your business are facing an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuit it is imperative to comply with ADA law, contact an experienced Nassau County ADA defense lawyer from the Bell Law Group. The ADA only applies to persons who meet the definition of “disabled” under the Act. A person is considered disabled, and so protected under the ADA, if he or she either has or is thought to have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits what the ADA calls a “major life activity.” Major life activities are the basic components of any person’s life — including walking, talking, seeing, and learning.
Why Hire an ADA Defense Lawyer?
There are various reasons to choose an ADA defense lawyer from our firm, including:
- Our results speak clearly. We know how to win.
- We exceed the expectation of our clients.
- Our team of experts is committed to your success.
Moreover, you must retain an ADA defense lawyer who is familiar with ADA litigation. An ADA lawsuit that is ignored may result in your business closing until the lawsuit is remedied. the repairs often cost thousands of dollars and take several months to rectify. A prevailing plaintiff in an ADA lawsuit is usually entitled to recover his or her attorney’s fees from the defendant. It is imperative to call on an experienced ADA defense lawyer at The Bell Law Group.
Understanding the Definition of Disability Under the ADA
The ADA defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It also includes individuals who do not have a disability but are regarded as having a disability. The ADA also makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person based on that person’s association with a person with a disability.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.
If a person has an impairment that substantially limits his or her ability to perform one or more of these activities, that person is considered disabled under the ADA. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered, but common examples of disabilities include confinement to a wheelchair, reliance on assistive devices such as canes and walkers, blindness, deafness, a learning disability, and certain kinds of mental illness.
Why ADA Compliance?
As a business owner, your services must be accessible to persons with disabilities. It is good for business and it is also the law. Because disabled persons, advocacy groups, and the DOJ can sue you to enforce ADA compliance, Bell Law Group is committed to helping clients avoid expensive litigation.
Whether you have already been sued in an ADA case or are starting your business, ADA compliance requirements are necessary.
The Bell Law Group’s ADA Compliance & Defense team works with businesses and organizations around the country to achieve company compliance with the ADA.
ADA Title I: Employment
Title I of the ADA requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide qualified individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from the full range of employment-related opportunities available to others. For example, it prohibits discrimination in recruitment, hiring, promotions, training, pay, social activities, and other privileges of employment. It restricts questions that can be asked about an applicant’s disability before a job offer is made, and it requires that employers make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities, unless it results in an undue hardship. Religious entities with 15 or more employees are covered under title I.
Title I complaints must be filed with the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days of the date of discrimination, or 300 days if the charge is filed with a designated State or local fair employment practice agency. Individuals may file a lawsuit in federal court only after they receive a “right-to-sue” letter from the EEOC.
Defending Employers Against ADA Lawsuits
When defending a business in a Title III-ADA lawsuit, we immediately investigate whether the property in question complies with the ADA. If the property complies with the ADA, then we will probably recommend that our client (whether a property owner or a commercial tenant) defend the lawsuit. In addition to arguing that the property complies with the ADA, a defendant may also raise procedural defenses. Among other things, ADA defendants can often argue that the plaintiff lacks “standing” to bring the lawsuit because the plaintiff is not reasonably likely to return to the property.
When a commercial facility violates the ADA, it is almost always best to bring the subject property into compliance immediately.
Drive-By ADA Lawsuits | The Problem
The ADA makes these cases lucrative for plaintiffs’ attorneys. Currently, the law does not even require a potential plaintiff to give the targeted facility notice of the alleged violation before filing suit. Although many of the violations could be easily and inexpensively fixed, a plaintiff can only recover attorney’s fees if there is a pending lawsuit, so disabled individuals rarely give notice.
Defendants are beginning to use the courts themselves to combat “frequent filers.” The most successful strategies include: 1) Asking the court to declare a plaintiff a “vexatious litigant”, and 2) arguing that the defendant should not have to pay attorney’s fees because it could have easily and inexpensively fixed the problem without a lawsuit.
Pre-litigation notice: Although it is not required by the ADA, a few courts have also denied attorneys’ fees to successful plaintiffs on the ground that they did not provide the defendant with notice of the alleged violation and a reasonable opportunity to cure it. The courts rely on a section of the ADA, which gives courts the discretion to award attorneys’ fees to the winning party. In the particular cases, the courts questioned the motives of the plaintiffs who rushed to file lawsuits, when a simple letter to the target entity would have fixed the alleged violation in a much more efficient and cost-effective manner. See, Doran v. Del Taco, Inc., –F. Supp. 2d–; 2005 WL 1389270 (C.D.Cal. June 9, 2005); Macort v. Checker Drive-In Rests., Inc., 2005 WL 332422 (M.D.Fla. January 28, 2005) (unpub.).
Lack of standing: A third tactic involves the defense that a plaintiff is not allowed to bring a lawsuit under the ADA because he or she does not intend to return to the location. In a case brought by a plaintiff who was later labeled a vexatious litigant by another court, the judge ordered the plaintiff to produce copies of the several hundred complaints that had been filed on his behalf in the previous two years. Molski v. Franklin, 222 F.R.D. 433 (S.D.Cal. 2004). These kinds of challenges are difficult. Even in cases involving vexatious litigants, most courts have found that the plaintiff did indeed intend to return to the restaurant at issue if it came into compliance with the ADA, and thus, he or she had legal standing to sue.
In the wake of so much litigation, the push for reform of the ADA is growing stronger but is still meeting some stiff opposition. Several bills designed to create a 90-day notice period during which a public business may fix any violations before a suit is filed have made little headway in Congress, but the movement for reform is gaining momentum. Contact us to discuss how our experienced drive-by ADA defense team can properly represent, protect and defend you, your business, and your assets, from ADA lawsuits.
ADA Mediation | ADA Law Firm Working to Protect You
ADA Mediation allows the parties, not a judge or the mediator, to control the outcomes of their dispute. Parties work together, and there is room to negotiate the terms of the agreement and the timeline for implementation. The matter is not closed until the parties verify that all of the terms of the agreement have been implemented. Either party can withdraw from mediation at any time.
To help avoid expensive court fees and related costs, the DOJ often encourages the use of the ADA Mediation Program. In enacting the ADA, Congress specifically encouraged the use of alternative means of dispute resolution, including mediation, to resolve ADA disputes. Through its ADA Mediation Program, the Department refers appropriate ADA disputes to mediators at no cost to the parties. The mediators in the Department of Justice program are professional mediators who have been trained in the legal requirements of the ADA. The Department’s program has resolved many ADA disputes quickly and effectively.
Resolving ADA Complaints Through Mediation
The Department of Justice’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Mediation Program (the Program) informally resolves ADA complaints, allowing parties – the person who filed the complaint and the business or local government named in the complaint – to develop mutually agreed-upon solutions that comply with the ADA.
Since its inception, the Program has mediated more than 4,000 complaints nationwide, with 78% of them resulting in successful resolutions.
Using professional ADA-trained mediators throughout the United States, the Program provides a confidential, voluntary way to resolve ADA complaints fairly and quickly.
To prepare yourself for the best results, a New York ADA defense lawyer from the Bell Law Group will work closely with you. Speak with us to discuss how our experienced ADA defense team can properly represent, protect and defend you, your business, and your assets, from ADA lawsuits.
Contact an ADA Defense Lawyer Today
If your business is being sued for alleged violation of ADA laws, or if you need professional advice regarding ADA compliance, then you must consult an ADA defense lawyer. Contact Bell Law Group to discuss how our experienced ADA defense team can properly represent, protect and defend you, your business, and your assets, from ADA lawsuits.