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Willits, California Becomes Target of ADA Lawsuit for Lack of ADA Signage, Other Infractions

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The city of Willits, California once again finds itself the target of an ADA lawsuit filed by controversial attorney Thomas Frankovich, who specializes in ADA-related claims.

Frankovich is representing Jeanette Brown, who is in a wheelchair. The lawsuit names John Sherman (the city’s code enforcement officer) and former city manager Adrienne Moore as its defendants.

Frankovich has filed other lawsuits against businesses in the city for ADA violations over the last couple of years. Similar to those other cases, this action alleges discrimination against Brown by the city for its failure to remove certain architectural structural barriers and “failing to create and implement a bona fide transition plan or to otherwise remove barriers in a timely manner to comply with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.”

The lawsuit also includes a cause of action against the city for its alleged retaliation against Brown after she filed previous complaints of civil rights actions.

The particular issues of noncompliance at stake in this lawsuit include the following: a lack of handicap stalls, no accessible entranceways and no ADA-compliant signage. These claims were initially filed last July and the city had 45 days to respond to them. Typically, if the city does not respond in 45 days, it is considered to have rejected the complaint.

In the current lawsuit, Brown also claims the city failed to provide integrated settings appropriate for disabled persons to fully and equally participate in programs, activities and services throughout the city, such as the ability to use the police station to file reports and the ability to access secure information and documents at the Willits City Hall. The city allegedly did not have ADA-compliant entrances, parking, meeting rooms, restrooms service counters or wheelchair-accessible routes from sidewalks to accessible entrances, which would violate requirements set by the state and federal governments.

These types of lawsuits have come under greater scrutiny than ever before thanks to a recent bill passed in the House that would put some significant limitations on lawyers’ and plaintiffs’ abilities to file flippant ADA discrimination lawsuits. The proposed legislation would give business owners and defendants more time to make corrections and make it more difficult for plaintiffs and attorneys in these cases to secure a payday.

For more information about the importance of ADA signage, contact us today at Erie Custom Signs.

Filed Under: ADA News

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