For hundreds of Arizona businesses there is great relief, and claims for their alleged violation of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) have been dismissed by an Arizona court.
Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities Foundation, Inc. (AIDF) and its affiliates filed over 1600 virtually identical law suits against Arizona businesses alleging that they were in violation of and that they must comply with the 2010 Federal ADA and its Arizona counterpart requirements. Margrave Celmins law firm actively participated in these serial cases on behalf of its clients and aggressively defended the early lawsuits. We raised important issues asserting that AIDF had no right to bring the lawsuits and that the lawsuits must be brought in an individual capacity, that the lawsuit plaintiffs did not show distinct and personalized injury and other legal issues. We also had communications with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and other defense counsel.
The allegation in the serial lawsuits was that businesses were in violation of the Federal 2010 ADA standards for design and accessibility, including that the signage must have an international handicapped symbol, must be mounted 60 inches above the ground and that the width of the parking spaces must be measured to the inch.
The arguments we and others raised were responsible for more than 1600 cases being consolidated before Judge Talamante. In addition, at our urging the Attorney General’s Office was asked to and did intervene in the consolidated cases and raised the same legal issues the individual defendants previously raised. All the lawsuits were substantially similar, and plaintiff failed to show “distinct and palpable injury in these case,” said Judge Talamante. As a result, last month all these cases were dismissed with prejudice.
While the dismissal of the serial lawsuits brings an end to the multi-party litigation, individual business owners are still at risk for lawsuits by handicapped individuals if their business signage does not meet the 2010 ADA standards.
We recommend that you bring your facility into compliance with ADA and AzDA standards to avoid future risk. If you have any questions as to whether your business is in compliance with the 2010 ADA standards, this office is available for an in-person consultation for a modest consultation fee.
Lat J. Celmins
Disclaimer: This blog is for information purposes only. Legal advice is provided only through a formal, written attorney/client agreement.