The past few days have seen another round of complaints against Arizona businesses alleging violations of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which guarantees equal access to public accommodations for individuals with disabilities. Similar complaints have been filed in successive waves over the past year by a number of serial plaintiffs. As an example, David Ritzenthaler is the named individual plaintiff in more than 500 lawsuits filed this year alone, asserting violations of the ADA’s technical requirements for parking lots and accessible parking spaces.
Title III applies to a broad range of private businesses, known as “places of public accommodation,” including hotels and motels, food service establishments, entertainment venues, museums and galleries, recreational facilities, educational and social service institutions, and establishments that sell or rent goods and services to the general public. These businesses are forbidden from discriminating against individuals with disabilities and must comply with accessibility standards under the ADA. The U.S. Department of Justice has established detailed guidelines concerning accessibility standards, including requirements for parking lots, sidewalks, walkways and stairways, restrooms, telephones and fire alarms, counters and tables, dressing rooms, windows, water fountains, and swimming pools, and compliance with these standards is mandatory.
If a place of public accommodation is found to be in violation of the ADA’s accessibility requirements, it may be ordered to come into compliance and pay monetary damages resulting from the violation, along with the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees and costs for the litigation. Businesses should review their facilities to ensure compliance with the current guidelines and standards to avoid potential liability, especially in light of the recent glut of Title III lawsuits. And, if they are unsure about compliance, seek appropriate guidance to help address this issue.
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie has several attorneys with expertise in handling these issues and defending against the lawsuits, and are available to assist you if needed. Please contact us with questions: