ADA Lawsuits Attack Small Businesses (San Francisco Chronicle)

“In the past few months, a rash of ADA accessibility lawsuits has descended on neighborhoods across San Francisco from North Beach to Clement Street, from Polk Street to Geary Boulevard, enraging many local merchants and neighborhood advocates.

“Along with XOX Truffles, at least six other businesses on the same block of Columbus Avenue have been served, including Sushi on North Beach, Italian restaurant Da Flora and the sandwich shop Petite Deli. Last week Ricos, a burrito joint on the same the street, received their summons.

“On Polk Street, Teresa Nittolo, owner of the gift store Molte Cose, said that about ten of the neighboring stores along with her own have been sued.

“Many of these suits have been filed by one of a handful of disabled plaintiffs who are represented by Thomas Frankovich, one of the best known and most controversial ADA accessibility lawyers in California.

“Frankovich told me he doesn’t keep count but he guesses that he’s filed between 1,500 and 1,800 ADA accessibility lawsuits since 1994 and he currently has about 50 active ADA suits in San Francisco. Last year, he was the subject of a San Francisco Weekly cover story “Wheelchairs of Fortune,” detailing his multi-million dollar business in ADA suits. In 2006 he was suspended from filing any more cases in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles for six months after a judge ruled him a vexatious litigant.”

Link: San Francisco Chronicle