4 Steps To Help Hospitality Cos. Facing ADA Cases

October 18, 2013 – In The News

Carolyn Richmond was quoted in the Law360 article “4 Steps To Help Hospitality Cos. Facing ADA Cases.” While the full text can be found in the October 18, 2013, issue of Law360, a synopsis is noted below.

Once a restaurant, bar or hotel client has been sued for an alleged Americans with Disabilities Act violation, there are four steps counsel should take to handle the litigation and, more importantly, prevent future lawsuits.

States like California, New York and Florida have civil rights laws that allow for hefty damages to be recovered when federal law violations are found, which makes them prone to drive-by suits and serial litigants who file massive numbers of suits without proper cause.

Most restaurant and hotel owners choose to settle to get the issue wrapped up quickly, but sometimes pushing back early on a wrongful suit can send the plaintiff running.

“You’d like to prove the plaintiffs never stepped foot in the establishment,” Richmond said, advising that it’s important to find witnesses early.

If your client decides to settle, it is important to make sure the agreement is confidential to help deter opportunist plaintiffs from finding the result and being motivated to file a similar complaint to secure a similar outcome.

Once the case is dealt with, advise your client to put in place a written policy for ADA compliance.

“I think every restaurateur should have a policy in place. That’s something most restaurants have not properly trained their staff in,” Richmond said.