ADA Rewards Funded by Lawsuits by Arizona Group
We have written in the past about the number of ADA noncompliance lawsuits being filed by individuals in states like California and Minnesota. These frivolous suits have prompted potential reforms to prevent individuals from making a killing off of small business owners and potentially crippling their companies due to these violations, which in many cases are quite minor.
One recent story coming out of Arizona has added a new twist on this theme. A group called Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities (AID) markets itself as an advocacy group of “civil rights champions,” which gives out much-needed equipment and therapeutic tools for people who suffer from disabilities for free.
However, research into the organization by a local news channel revealed the group is making its money through frivolous ADA lawsuits. In the past six months alone, AID filed more than 1,000 cases in which it alleged ADA violations in parking lots at businesses throughout the region.
Under the ADA, certain types of public buildings are required to have a minimum amount of accessible parking spots, with the proper signage and the proper amount of space between each spot. If these signs are even just an inch or two out of place, for example, AID will file a lawsuit and seek settlements worth thousands of dollars.
While AID says this work is advocacy and meant to benefit the community, many other lawmakers and advocacy groups say this is an abuse of the system and possibly a form of extortion.
AID’s nonprofit status was approved in July, and it has filed lawsuits under multiple different names and entities. It has used a 74-year-old man as its plaintiff in many of its cases. He alone has filed 530 lawsuits on behalf of AID in a single county.
While what AID is doing does not appear to be illegal, many people certainly believe it to be unethical. This could lead to potential ADA violation reform in Arizona, as more people become aware of the issue.
Whenever news stories like this arise, however, it is an important reminder for businesses across the nations to make sure they are fully in compliance with the ADA. Even the seemingly smallest violations could lead to major fines and legal trouble.
For more information about getting ADA compliant signage, contact us today at Erie Custom Signs.