Small Companies in Alameda Focused With Spate of Individuals With Disabilities Act Lawsuits – CBS San Francisco
ALAMEDA (KPIX) – Mark Rogers, owner of Lolas on Park Street in Alameda, was unaware that a lawsuit had been filed against him under the Americans with Disabilities Act until an unexpected mail arrived.
“I received letters from attorneys who offered to help me with an ADA lawsuit,” Rogers told KPIX.
Rogers was one of dozen of Park Street business owners recently hit by an ADA lawsuit, all from one plaintiff: Orlando Garcia. When that name rings, it’s the same person behind over a thousand similar ADA complaints in San Francisco’s Chinatown and on Irving Street in the city’s Sunset District.
Across Park Street, Colin Cross got a similar tip from Lauren’s Closet.
“We started reading the complaints and they are a copy of each other,” Cross said.
The lawsuit alleges that Lauren’s Closet, a consignment warehouse for children, had illegal barriers preventing entry.
“I checked and checked, the door is the right width, the slope is the right slope. What is it?”
With Lola, the story is the same.
“You said the landing on the ramp was not level. This is the entrance here now. Now I have to hire a specialist to answer all of these questions and give me a survey for a few thousand dollars. But I took my iPhone and stuck it there, it’s under the right slope, it’s level. So I feel like they’re throwing these away and hoping something sticks, ”said Rogers.
Both business owners say the settlement cost $ 4,000 to $ 6,000, plus paying Garcia’s legal fees could put them out of business after barely surviving the pandemic. Park Street and Park Street businesses are hiring certified access specialists to ensure they comply with the ADA to repel suits.
“I watch my bank account collapse as I hire more people to take care of the situation. I have no idea what it will ultimately cost, none. I hear some of the other people going through this on the block and they’re $ 15,000, $ 30,000 – that’s a lot of money for a little corner shop, “Rogers said.