Florida comes second in the United States in the matter of lawsuits related to ADA public accommodation. To fix this, the state has brought about a new law which will curb such legal actions. Proponents of the law say that these lawsuits are used to extort money from businesses, and not assist disabled individuals. The fight concerning the rights of disabled people, they say, has been perverted.
ADA and manipulating the law
Juan de Dios Cabrera is one such victim. The property owner told an investigative reporter that he is one of the many business owners who got sued for supposed violations of ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act. He learned of his violation first only through a lawsuit. Cabrera owned the property where a pawn shop was located for about 20 years. He claimed that people who have sued them did not even enter the premises. He said that these petitioners simply drive through the area. A lawsuit is filed when the ADA sign is absent.
To prove his point, Cabrera said that a certain Renzo Barberi sued him in May over violations related to his parking lot. The former said the lot was being renovated during that time. Before he knew it, he was staring at the petitioner's demand of $14,500. This money was claimed for legal fees.
Complainants and businesses
It seemed Barberi is an expert in this game. In a few media interviews, he has described himself as a ADA tester. He has filed about 400 lawsuits all related to public accommodation. Cases have been filed against a number of businesses, with a number of them in the same locality where Cabrera runs his business. According to Cabrera, the principal problem with the lawsuit is that Barberi never came to his business. He said that the complainant never visited the area at all,
Similar to Cabrera, restauranteur Rodney Regan suffered legal torture for violations related to the bathroom. The long list of alleged violations included the handrails and toilet roll holders too close together. The complainant in this case was a woman, Janet Hoyt. The latter has filed about a hundred lawsuits. Many of them against other businesses near to Regan's restaurant. The restauranteur said there was no proof Hoyt ever being in the eating establishment. According to Regan, she has guys who come into the place and shoot photographs. Her name is then subsequently used to file the case.