Articles Posted in CASp

Since January 2005, 16,530 lawsuits alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) have been filed in federal courts across the country. More of these lawsuits were filed in California than in any other state. Some believe that California is a hotbed of ADA litigation because California law awards damages and attorneys’ fees to private plaintiffs for defendant’s ADA violations — treble damages, with minimum statutory damages of $4,000 (prior to the passing of this Senate Bill), and punitive damages. An unknown number of accessibility cases have been filed in California state courts, and countless more claims have been threatened against mostly small business owners.

Past efforts to curtail ADA litigation abuse in California have been marginally successful. Unfortunately, the latest California legislation (SB 1186) may also provide limited relief from abusive ADA litigation. Key provisions of the new law became effective January 1, 2013. California SB 1186, through comprehensive amendments to a number of California laws, including provisions of the California Civil Code (Sections 55.3 et seq.), was intended to provide protection for the owners and operators of public accommodations who are making a good faith effort to comply with the ADA.

An overview of the main provisions of the new California law and our ADA Defense Lawyer observations “from the trenches” regarding the new law follows. Continue ›

Jim Butler, Chair of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group reports that many investors view our current economic downtime as the perfect opportunity to purchase distressed hotel and motel assets at substantial discounts. Before any of these investors complete a purchase transaction, however, they should add one more item to their due diligence checklist: whether the hotel’s physical property and operating procedures comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and similar state statues.

Hotel Buyer Beware: When you buy a hotel, don’t buy an ADA lawsuit

The current legal landscape of ADA enforcement

CASp may not be a “silver bullet” but CASp compliance is still a smart move

California’s 2009 Construction-Related Accessibility Standards Compliance Act (“the Act”) was designed to curb abusive ADA litigation by creating the Certified Access Specialist program (CASp). CASp enables business owners to follow procedures to “certify” that their facilities meet state and federal accessibility standards. One benefit CASp offers is that business owners with certification have the option to stay or stop all construction-related ADA litigation initiated against them and instead proceed to mediation, making it possible to avoid expensive and lengthy proceedings that drive up legal fees. But a recent court decision suggests this may not be the case when sued in federal court, suggesting that CASp may not offer all the benefits intended by the California legislators.

California’s Construction-Related Accessibility Standards Compliance Act

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ADA Lawyer Update: California Supreme Court decision likely to fuel increased ADA litigation, but the Certified Access Specialists program (CASp) offers some protection


A step backward

In a decision that is likely to lead to more lawsuits filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California’s disabled access laws, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled on June 12, 2009 that plaintiffs do not have to prove “intentional discrimination” to recover the $4,000 minimum statutory damages provided, per occurrence, under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act.