Category Archives: Disability Law

Disability Lawsuit Results in $2.1 Million

Los Angelenos claimed the city’s emergency plans do not address the needs of disabled residents.  Consequently, the city of Los Angeles agreed to pay $2.1 million in fees and other costs for attorneys who sued on behalf of those disabled Angelenos.  Additionally, the federal judge ordered the city of Los Angeles to draft a proposal on assisting disabled residents during an emergency or natural disaster.

The lawsuit stated that those who are disabled cannot access critical information, transportation or evacuation services as easily as those who are not.  As a result, disabled persons are more likely to use emergency shelters as they do not have many other options.

Disability Act Violated in NYC

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.

Taking Aim at California Drive-by Lawsuits

“Drive-by” lawsuits filed against small business all over California have increased significantly.  People in California are more and more taking advantage of the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act.  Under the current law, it is fairly easy for predatory plaintiffs to access $4,000 for each violation, per day, regardless of how trivial or easily fixable the violation is.  However, small-business owners will usually settle, often for tens of thousands of dollars, in exchange for the plaintiff and lawyer to “forget” about the violations.

Consequently, Senator Dianne Feinstein demanded that the Legislature do something to stop the small group of plaintiffs and lawyers that “threaten the viability of small businesses in our state.”