Lawyers, both inside and outside New York City, are using the city’s age and architectural weirdness to cite violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act. These lawyers do not have plaintiffs to start with, instead they just identify businesses that are not in compliance with the law and then recruit plaintiffs. Each plaintiff can usually anticipate collecting $500. Furthermore, each plaintiff can be used multiple times over. And, the lawyers make thousands as the noncompliant businesses have to pay their legal fees.
Examples of lawsuits include no ramp and shelves that are too high at a flower shop on the Upper East Side and a bathroom doorknob that can’t be opened with a closed fist at a yogurt shop in the theatre district. Both of these were filed by Ben-Zion Weitz, a Florida lawyer. He has a group of people with disabilities that he regularly selects as plaintiffs. One of these people sued 19 businesses in over 16 months. As a result of these lawsuits, shops would immediately fix the problems and had to pay thousands in legal fees to Weitz.