Businesses Sued: City of Clovis helps with ADA compliance

The following is from The Fresno Bee:

Help is on the way for Clovis business owners who have been sued over violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. On Monday night, the Clovis City Council approved a package of programs to help them meet state and federal regulations.
The program will allow the city to pay for seminars, inspections and matching loans to help business owners make necessary upgrades.
In the past six months, 45 lawsuits have been filed in federal court, many against Clovis businesses.


Also, from Clovis Independent:

Clovis to use $624,000 in federal grants
A plan to use about $624,000 in federal grant dollars — mostly to meet requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act — was approved Monday night by the Clovis City Council.

The city’s Community Development Block Grant funding also will be used for affordable housing programs, home renovation projects and a community service officer for the Clovis Police Department primarily for southwest Clovis.

Under federal block grant funding rules, the city must use the money to assist residents in low- and moderate-income communities, prevent or eliminate urban blight and meet urgent needs around the city.



ADA Class Action Lawsuit Against Ralphs Grocery Store

Ralphs Grocery Store is embroiled in a class action suit across California. The suit entails that Ralphs presents architectural barriers which discriminate against individuals with disabilities. Interestingly enough many disabled rights advocates oppose the settlement because it does not ensure that the various architectural barriers will be removed.

Some useful links:

“Ralphs Faces Class Action Over Disabilites Discrimination
A California-wide class action lawsuit has been certified, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act and California State discrimination laws, against Ralphs Groceries of California. The case is Sung Park, et al. v. Ralphs Grocery Company.”
Ralphs Class Action Lawsuit Over Discrimination

Settlement Information:
Settlement of Claims Against Ralphs Grocery Company for Disabled Access



Apparently the main website: is no longer online.  The organization CDR (Californians for Disability Rights) has posted a link to more information about this.  CDR opposes the settlement, so you can be sure there will be more information available from their website, including the names of the plaintiffs and the litigating attorneys.

Ralphs Settlement



20 Years of Americans with Disabilities Act!

The San Francisco Mayor’s Office on Disability and the Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco (ILRCSF) have launched an online campaign to gather support for the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In order to gain the support of corporate sponsors we need to demonstrate that there are thousands of people with disabilities in every walk of life. We need to show large numbers in each of the three ways people can show their support which are:

Sign the statement of values at The statement is: “Disability is a natural part of the human condition. People with disabilities come from all walks of life, in all colors, sizes, genders and ages. Those of us living with disabilities bring something to the table whether it is a fresh perspective, political savviness, indomitable spirit, energizing presence, bold intellect, etc. We contribute to society BECAUSE of who we are. Human difference and diversity enriches community. Disability is not special, it’s just a part of life.”

A flyer for you to use to obtain the support of other organizations is available at: Its Normal Flyer

If you would like to add your organizations logo or to join the blog roll please contact Its Normal Event Administrator

If you use Twitter please follow @itsNormalADA at Twitter page: It’s Normal ADA
If you use Facebook become a fan of the page. It’s Normal: “Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the ADA” at Facebook page: It’s Normal ADA

We have also started a video competition “Reclaiming Normal” People are encouraged to submit a short video (less than 10 minutes) addressing the statement: “Disability is a NORMAL part of the world we live in.” For information about submissions, due dates and prizes go to: Video Contest Information

We need to have large numbers of people with and without disabilities involved in this campaign. Getting involved is easy. Let’s all join together and show the world how large this community is and that it is time we are members of every community.


ADA Compliance – Wearing Two Hats

By Phillip K. Cha, Esq.

While the ADA imposes legal obligations on a business regarding providing access to the disabled public (usually its customers or clients), it also creates obligations between a business and its disabled employees. While these obligations are addressed in separate sections of the ADA (Title I addresses private employers, whereas Title III addresses public accommodations) and involve different legal issues, there are some significant areas of overlap that should not be ignored. Importantly, the ADA may require that a business take additional steps above and beyond removing access barriers for the public to ensure that its employees also are provided equal access to facilities.

To illustrate, under Title I, an employer is required to provide “reasonable accommodations” to qualified individuals with a disability. The ADA regulations identify various types of reasonable accommodations, including retrofitting, to allow disabled employees to enjoy the same benefits and privileges as those enjoyed by non-disabled employees. Specific examples of reasonable accommodations, much like those that may be required under Title III, include installing wheelchair ramps and proper signage. This requirement applies to both work-related and non-work facilities provided or maintained by the employer for use by employees, including break rooms, restrooms, lunch rooms and training rooms, which might not otherwise be open to the general public.

In light of the interplay between Titles I and III, any ADA compliance plan should account for the company’s obligations as a provider of public accommodations, as well as an employer. Failure to wear both hats in going through this process may expose a business to substantial liability under the ADA and State law.

Phillip K. Cha is a labor and employment law attorney with Swerdlow Florence Sanchez Swerdlow & Wimmer in Beverly Hills, California. If you have any questions about the ADA as it applies to employers, feel free to give Phillip a call at (310) 288-3980 or e-mail him at


May-June 2010: YTA and Frank Chen to Present for Alhambra & Culver City Chambers

Yours Truly Accessibility and Frank Chen of Wasserman, Comden, Casselman & Esensten, L.L.P. will be presenting accessibility-focused seminars for businesses in Southern California.

The first seminar, entitled “ADA! Fear and Truth of Compliance”, will be hosted by the Culver City Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at the Four Points by Sheraton LA Westside, 5990 Green Valley Circle, Culver City, CA 90230.  This “hands-on” seminar includes a delicious buffet lunch.  This lunch and seminar is priced at $25.00 with paid reservations for Culver City Chamber members and $35.00 for non members.  Payment at the door will be $30.00 and $40.00.  To RSVP, contact Barbara Brody at 310-287-3850 or email

Note: This first seminar above has been postponed to a later date. The seminar below is still as noted.

The second is a breakfast seminar entitled “How to Accommodate Your Fastest Growing Customer Base:  Accessibility Considerations” hosted by the Alhambra Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, June 10, 2010 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.  It will be held at Almansor Court, 700 S. Almansor Street, Alhambra, CA 91801.  Cost is $20 per person.  Reservations can be made by contacting us at (866) 982 – 3212 extension 2 or emailing us at


ADA Lawsuits hit Palm Desert / Coachella Valley

Seven businesses in the Coachella Valley were hit by San Diego resident Roy Gash this spring. Gash is represented by the law firm Pinnock & Wakefield, one of the most litigious firms in all of California in regards to ADA litigation.

Gash’s claims against John’s Restaurant in Palm Desert included an improper disabled parking space, a paper towel dispenser in the men’s room more than 48 inches from the floor, a round instead of lever doorknob on the restroom entrance door and a front counter too high to access. Gash is seeking more than $25,000, attorney’s fees and correction of the alleged violations. Gash’s lawsuit complaint states that he “desires to return to the defendant’s places of business in the immediate future.”

In the article three things are revealed about Pinnock & Wakefield:

  1. Almost 2,000 ADA lawsuits have been filed by this firm
  2. “Ninety percent of all cases are settled early, because that’s what the court wants,” – Theodore Pinnock
  3. The average ADA settlement demand ranges from $4,000 to $7,000. From our own experience, this is true.

Click the link below to read the full article:

Link: The Desert Sun (article, August 9th, 2009)

Don’t be a victim. Learn more about your ADA liabilities.

Culver City Seminar on Accessibility: September 9th

Date: Wednesday, September 09 2009
Time: 11:30am – 1:15pm
Type: Luncheon Seminar
Fee: $25 with a reservation: $30 at the door without a reservation
Location: Four Points by Sheraton, 5990 Green Valley Circle, Culver City, CA
Contact: Barbara Brody, 310-287-3850

Speakers: Alexander Lee and Thomas Shin of Yours Truly Accessibility, Frank Chen of Wasserman, Comden & Casselman LLP

Come join us at the Four Points Sheraton in Culver City to see a presentation on Accessibility and how it affects your business. Topics will include accomodations, lawsuits, suggestions and a Q&A session afterwards. If you are not a Culver City Chamber member but have been acquainted with us in the past, please email us so that we can clear your attendance ahead of time.


Squeeze Inn served with ADA Lawsuit (Sacramento, CA) (

The following is from, which was linked to by

The Squeeze Inn, known for huge mounds of melted cheese on its burgers, violates the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, [a] lawsuit alleges.

Kimberly Block, who says she has severly [sic] limited use of her legs, argues she suffered “embarrassment and humiliation” and that her civil rights were violated because of inadequate access inside the Fruitridge Road restaurant.

“In addition to its cheeseburgers, the Squeeze Inn of Sacramento California is also noted for its cramped spaces and limited seating.  Get it?  “Squeeze in.”  The restaurant is famous, having been featured on Food Network and in a number of other media.

The charm is evidently lost on Kimberly Block, who is suing the Squeeze Inn and its owner, Travis Hausauer, for alleged violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, a well-intended law that has produced an unusually high litigation burden for small restaurants and businesses.  But one wonders whether Ms. Block visited the Squeeze Inn last November to order one of its famous cheeseburgers, or to just to get a settlement check, hold the onions.

Why?  Well according to a search on Justia, this isn’t the first time Ms. Block has suffered embarrassment and humiliation so severe she felt compelled to sue a restaurant.  It’s the third time this year. While Ms. Block hasn’t yet filed enough suits to place her in the company of famous serial ADA litigants like Thomas Mundy, her lawyer Jason Singleton, like Mundy’s lawyers at Morse Mehrban, has made an industry out of the act. No doubt Block will get there in time.

Of course if Block’s suit is litigated rather than settled or defaulted, there’s room for a defense attorney to move here.  According to its owner, Squeeze Inn had already altered its patio dining area to accommodate the disabled, making the outdoor area less “squeezy.”  Did Block ask for a patio seat?  Did she order to go?”


Links: (Squeeze Inn Lawsuit Article), North Coast Journal (Jason Singleton Strikes Again, the same lawyer who shut down Arctic Circle), Sacramento Magazine (Squeeze Inn Restaurant Profile), Sacramento Bee, (Facing suit, Sacramento burger joint plans to move)


This could happen to you!  Read our ADA FAQ for more information.  For information assessing your site yourself or hiring an ADA expert, please look at our ADA Consultation page.  Or call us at 866 982 3212 x2 or email us at

Serial Plaintiff in Disability Lawsuits sues O.C. Deli Again, Drops Lawsuit (O.C. Register)

“Jaewoo Jang had owned Granny’s Deli in Santa Ana less than 10 months when he was slapped with a lawsuit claiming that he violated the rights of disabled people.

He soon learned that 40 other lawsuits had been filed against 111 other small businesses and landlords in the Santa Ana area from Aug. 25 to Oct. 8, 2008. In every case, San Diego resident Noni Gotti was the plaintiff and the San Diego law firm of Pinnock &Wakefield was her attorney.”

“California has a small band of disabled plaintiffs and law firms who have filed thousands of lawsuits, usually a large number at a time, usually seeking cash payments to avoid costly trials. The state has been more generous to plaintiffs than the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

In the Granny’s lawsuit, Gotti alleged the sandwich shop had unsecured floor mats and barriers that preclude wheelchair access and sought $4,000 per offense, general damages, attorney’s fees and treble punitive damages for the claim that defendants knew of the problems and didn’t fix them.

The serial plaintiffs are unapologetic; casting themselves as crusaders doing the enforcement that government isn’t willing to do.

Gandhi said business owners can learn a couple of lessons from the Granny’s Deli case:

  • If wrongly accused, the business owners have to challenge the serial plaintiffs. “Every case that gets settled for cash just encourages them to file more.”
  • “Businesses have a legitimate business reason to comply with the ADA and related laws. The disabled customer’s money is as good as any other customer’s.”

Source: OC Register (Lawsuit Dropped), OC Register (Original Lawsuit Article)

In the case of an ADA lawsuit, knowing what claims are legitimate and which are frivolous is absolutely essential to win your case. In some cases, you may be able to get the plaintiff to drop the case, particularly if they think they won’t be able to win in court. In the case of a legitimate lawsuit, we can help you correct the accessibility barriers in question, and any others that you may not have been aware of, to avoid problems for your disabled clients in the future.

If you are concerned about your business’s accessibility, or are involved in an ADA lawsuit, YTA can help. E-mail us at or call us today at 1-866-982-3212.


ADA Damages Suits Don’t Require Intent, Calif. Supreme Court Rules

“Businesses that violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, even if unintentionally, can be sued for damages, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thursday.

“Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar concluded that was a reasonable interpretation of the state Legislature’s decision in 1992 to adopt Civil Code §51(f) to amend the state’s Unruh Civil Rights Act to include violations of the ADA. While the ADA provides only injunctive relief whether the harm was intentional or not, Section 52 of the Unruh Act provides for damages of at least $4,000 or as much as three times the actual harm.”