The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George Bush with the intent to protect the civil rights of qualified people with disabilities. Among the items outlined, is the requirement to ensure equal access to places of public accommodation. Along with this transformative legislation, federal and state building codes were reformulated to comply with the ADA. Curb cuts, designated parking spaces and sign postings are examples of changes that have been implemented.
As the federal and state building codes continue to evolve, so does the interpretation of ADA legislation. This creates a challenge for all property owners with regard to ADA compliance, resulting in increased litigation expenses.
Serial plaintiffs and shakedown attorneys are a serious threat to property owners and retailers. Our data reveals that over the last few years, property owners/operators have been hit with more than 60,000 accessibility-related claims nationally. In the state of California, there have been more than 5,000 accessibility- related claims in 2012 and more than 14,000 ADA claims.
Our data indicates three types of claims scenarios. These figures do not include statutory fines and noncompliance penalties.
1. Short settlements, whereby there is no discovery period; the average settlement is $4,000 to $8,000
2 Claims carried through discovery, whereby legal defense is involved ranging from $15,000 to $25,000
3 Claims that are pushed through …