The new SB 1186 Disabled Access Law effective 2013 is intended to expedite the process of reviewing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims and dismiss unsupported lawsuits with minimal time, effort, and expense.

 

Property owners who qualify can file an application for stay and early evaluation conference. The court will then grant a 90-day stay of the proceedings and order an early evaluation conference within 50-70 days, at which all parties must personally appear

Evidence is then presented by each side, and the judge will determine if their claims have merit. This process should weed out unmeritorious claims.

item intro 13 sIn order to qualify for these procedural protections, the property owner must fall within one of four categories:

1. The property has been inspected by a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) and an inspection report is issued, and there have been no modifications or alterations that would affect compliance with the ADA standards.

2. If the property has a new construction after 1/1/2008, it was approved pursuant to the local building permit and inspection process, and there have been no modifications or alterations that would affect compliance with the ADA standards. If there is a violation, they need to be corrected within 60 days of the lawsuit.

3. If the property has a new construction after 1/1/2008, it was approved by a local public building department inspector who is CASp certified, and there have been no modifications or alterations that would affect compliance with the ADA standards. If there is a violation, they need to be corrected within 60 days of the lawsuit.

4. The defendant is a small business (employs 25 or fewer employees and has gross receipts of less than $3,500,000) and all violations have been corrected within 30 days.

If the court finds the claims to have merit, and the business fixed the ADA violation within 60 days of the lawsuit, their statutory damages may be reduced from $4,000 (under the previous law) to $1,000 provided that the business has received a CASp inspection or the construction was completed after 1/1/2008. If a small business does not have a CASp inspection, but has fixed the violation within 30 days, statutory damages can be reduced from $4,000 to $2,000. To combat the problem of claiming multiple ADA violations at a given property, now plaintiff must prove that he/she acted reasonably when visiting location multiple times knowing of the barrier to their access.

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