Public Accommodation ADA Defense

Our law firm defends businesses and property owners in ADA claims alleging accessibility barriers to public accommodations, commercial facilities and private education related entities throughout New York.

Millions of private establishments are affected by the ADA, including but not limited to restaurants, bars, hotels, shopping malls, office buildings, private schools, libraries, bowling alleys and theatres.

Business owners need to know two important ADA deadlines:

ADA Compliance Dates

March 15, 2011 General Non-Discrimination Requirements
March 15, 2012 2010 ADA Standards

General Non-Discrimination Requirements

The general nondiscrimination requirements focus on “reasonable modifications” to a business policy so that an individual with a disability can access goods and services of this business.   An example, may be a restaurant or store with a “no pet” policy resulting in the exclusion of employees or customers who use dogs as service animals.  A “service animal” is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a disabled individual.   A business may only exclude a service animal if:

  • The dog is out of control and the handler cannot regain control; and
  • The dog is not housebroken

In determining whether a dog is a service animal, a business owner may only ask two questions:

  • Is the animal required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

A business owner may not ask any other questions about the individual’s disability or the dog.

Understanding the acceptable and lawful behavior when doing business under the ADA is critical to your success.  Our attorneys will work with you step-by-step to ensure a violation does not occur.

Call us today to speak with an experienced Public Accommodation Defense attorney at 516-279-1554.

2010 ADA Standards

The 2010 ADA standards focus on architectural barriers that limit or make it impossible for individuals with disabilities to access good or services offered by a business.

Examples of such architectural barriers include:

  • Inaccessible paths of travel in and out of the establishment
  • Maneuvering clearances that are too small at doors and gates
  • Inaccessible lavatories
  • Counters that are too high

The ADA Standards for Accessible Design was published in 1991.  This law set the standard for making facilities accessible under the ADA.  Although, the updated 2010 ADA Standards retained many of these original provisions under the law it also made some significant changes that require businesses and property owners to fully understand the new requirements so that they can remain in compliance with the ADA.

Examples of ADA Standard Changes

1991 ADA Standards 2010 ADA Standards
Merchandise should be located between 9 inches and 54 inches above the finished floor Merchandise should be located between 15 inches and 48 inches above the finished floor
One passenger elevator shall serve each level including mezzanines, in all multi story buildings and facilities At least one accessible route shall connect each story and mezzanine in multi-story buildings and facilities
One accessible van space for every eight accessible spaces One accessible van space for every six accessible spaces

For existing facilities that were built or modified within the past 25 years in compliance with the 1991 Standards, the updated 2010 Standards will not require any further modifications to your business.  This provision is commonly known as the “safe harbor.”  However, if your business alters elements that were in compliance with the 1991 Standards then you lose the “safe harbor” exclusion and must make the modifications necessary to comply with the 2010 ADA standards.

ADA Accessibility Lawsuits

Our attorneys have experience in defending against all types of lawsuits under the ADA.

This allows for our clients to defend against all ADA claims, including those filed by:

  • Customers
  • Employees or applicants
  • “Tester” litigants
  • “Drive by” serial plaintiffs

Unfortunately, although the ADA was designed to bar discrimination against the disabled in public places, there has been an increase in “tester” or “drive by” lawsuits where claimants never actually visit the location subject to his or her ADA claim.   Instead, these litigants will rely solely on developing their ADA claims by either driving by the business location or observing the property on Google maps.

A “tester” is a disabled person whose purpose is to seek out non-compliant public places and file hundreds of lawsuits against the business owner and property owner in an effort to require remediation to property that he or she never intend to access and too recover attorney’s fees and costs associated with such litigation.  The impact on business owners and property owners may be significant.

Therefore, it is important that you have experienced legal counsel that can explain what is required under the ADA when facing a lawsuit that seeks significant changes to your property.

We will work with your business to conduct a property evaluation and inspection that will lay out all of your responsibilities with respect to the “physical barriers” and remediation that may be “readily achievable.”   Readily achievable is commonly referred to as “easily accomplishable without much difficulty or expense.”

We will aggressively look into many factors, including:

  • Nature and cost of the wanted modification
  • Financial resources of the business
  • Impact of the barrier on the property
  • Number of individuals employed at the business

We also work with licensed private investigators, former law enforcement and individuals who will conduct a thorough investigation of the claimant to determine whether he or she is even disabled, as required under the ADA.

Please feel free to contact us and discuss all options available in effectively handling and resolving ADA barrier lawsuits. 516-279-1554

Do not let claimants and their counsel push you around.  Understand your rights and defenses before making changes that may not be required or paying some lump sum settlement.

Our team of ADA lawyers are here to help and defend business owners and property owners in Federal and State lawsuits under the ADA.

Our Team

Meet Our Professionals

The attorneys at Bashian & Papantoniou are constantly striving to take law to the next level. Our team is comprised of exceptional professionals who put their clients first. We are knowledgeable, personable and diligent. Client success is our top priority.