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Attorney sues Lodi businesses over disability laws

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28 comments:

  • Joe Baxter posted at 9:48 am on Mon, May 23, 2011.

    Joe Baxter Posts: 1905

    When I managed a business many years ago, I was forced to lower the drinking fountain 3" to comply with ADA rules even though there were disposable cups attached to the fountain. Since the cost of ripping out the walls and changing the plumbing was very expensive, I was told the only other choice was to remove it completely. Wow, that made sense, take it completely out so NOBODY, not even the disabled, could use it. So the 99.9% of the customers went without drinking water so the .01% couldn't complain, It got removed. Legislation gone amok.

     
  • Doug Chaney posted at 8:22 pm on Sun, May 22, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    It's rather simple: comply or close your doors. Stay open and leave yourself open for a lawsuit if you don't comply. And probably a forced closure unless you finally decide to comply.

     
  • Doug Chaney posted at 8:17 pm on Sun, May 22, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Thank you mother Ryan!

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 9:32 am on Sat, May 21, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Ryan stated...Your arguments, like Mr. Chaney's, leads me to believe you both have your "heads up" parts of your anatomy
    Ryan, I do not see it that way. I think they are thinking and seeing clearly what and how they wish to accomplish what they see as “good” for society. They very clearly desire to force business to do what they think is the right thing to do. The head's up she wants to kindly give is... “ Do it my way or else...They really do operate in an ends justify the means mentality. If a business wants to turn down business by not complying with ADA ...then too bad. If the business cannot afford the expense... too bad... if the business goes out of business and loyal customers suffer... too bad... They clearly know what they are doing and think “they know best”... They do not want society to be free... they want complete control and dominance how business does business. Just ask any business that decided not to “comply” with the ADA. Its better that no one has access to a business unless all people have access no matter what...

     
  • Ryan Jameson posted at 7:15 am on Sat, May 21, 2011.

    Ryan Jameson Posts: 195

    So Sharon, suing a business for thousands of dollars is giving them a "heads up"? Putting business owners out of work (plus the people they employ) is a "heads up"? We all agree that there are parties on both sides who take advantage of the situation. But you are suggesting that a business owner who does not fork over thousands of dollars for location improvements is discriminating against disabled people. Your arguments, like Mr. Chaney's, leads me to believe you both have your "heads up" parts of your anatomy.

     
  • Sharon Toji posted at 6:45 am on Sat, May 21, 2011.

    Sharon Toji Posts: 1

    I've read a lot of these articles, and this one is more balanced than most. Usually, the headline and tone of the article is all about how some grasping individual in a wheelchair is putting small business-people out on the streets for no reason.

    I've been involved with the ADA since 1991, and unfortunately, the attitude of many business people when told about even the most minor step they could take, has been, "I'll wait until they sue me." I have a small business myself, and most of us had some very good years in the nineties. Small incremental "fixes" could have been eligible for tax assistance from the IRS. Compliance for many businesses could have been fixed step by step, and rather painlessly.

    Now, just when times are bad, people with disabilities, after 18 years, are finally getting fed up. There are no "ADA police," and city building inspectors only go out for construction, and then ignore many infractions, perhaps because they aren't well trained -- or have been taught that it's "business friendly" to overlook things.

    It's rather unfortunate, I think, that the federal regulations were written to put enforcement entirely in the lap of persons with disabilities, and the courts. Also, there isn't a clear line of responsibility among landlords and tenants.

    I don't know the individuals involved, but I do know there are probably better ways to show that you welcome disabled customers for your key shop than assuming they will take the initiative to honk from the parking lot, and that you will hear them. Why, after all these years, wouldn't a business already put in an accessible parking space?

    Our population is aging, rapidly. Since I'm older myself, although I still work every day, long past retirement age, I can tell you that most people gain disabilities -- difficulty seeing, hearing, walking, even finding our way around. But our brains are still young and active, and we expect to be independent and "out and about" for a lot of years. We don't face the kinds of discrimination that persons with life-long or more visible disabilities have, but we just add to the many numbers who need access. Businesses should welcome someone giving them a "heads up!"

     
  • Ryan Jameson posted at 6:22 am on Sat, May 21, 2011.

    Ryan Jameson Posts: 195

    I have all the room I want to complain about it Doug. It is called freedom of speech. Rather than using the Constitution as toilet paper maybe you should read it sometime.

    No one here is blaming this problem on all disabled people, Doug. We are looking at the attorneys (and some disabled) who simply drive around with this feeling of self-importance about enforcing ADA law. Maybe it helps their self esteem issues? And Doug, if capitalism and free enterprise isn't great, what is?

    And by the way, you know I caught you in your own hypocrisy so nice comeback with the "mother Ryan" comment. Classy.

     
  • Doug Chaney posted at 10:28 pm on Fri, May 20, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Oh, and yes mother Ryan!

     
  • Doug Chaney posted at 10:27 pm on Fri, May 20, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    TThis man didn't close anybody down, they gave up on their own for not complying with the ADA laws. None of you have any room to complain unless you are one who requires handicapped facilities and has been stiffed by businesses like those you are using for examples on this blog and trying to make them look like martyrs. All businesses have a simple choice, comply or go to work for someone who has. I, too, don't like the fact that this man seems to prey on those who think they are special and above the law, but you regular bloggers on here keep insisting that free enterprise and capitalism are great, so what crime is this man committing that offends you so much? No business in Lodi, or anywhere else, should be allowed to garner that $37,000 or more tax credit per new hire in an enterprise zone unless they are already ADA compliant.

     
  • Kelly Vandenburg posted at 3:41 pm on Fri, May 20, 2011.

    Kelly Vandenburg Posts: 3

    More on Scott Johnson... http://www.news10.net/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=76046

     
  • Kelly Vandenburg posted at 3:12 pm on Fri, May 20, 2011.

    Kelly Vandenburg Posts: 3

    Nothing about the Squeeze Inn?? Johnson claims to never have put anyone out of business? I find that hard to believe, I've been watching this slime ball in action for years. He used to come into the store I worked in, he is a complete asshole, and being handicapped does not make him some kind of saint. That's just foolish. I believe in access, but everyone cannot be accommodated at all times!

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 1:58 pm on Fri, May 20, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Mikestated...While Darrell and I fight over much...

    Mike, please feel free to characterize your contribution to our exchanges as “fighting”, if that is how you perceive it. However, please do not characterize my part as fighting from my perception.

    I simply disagree with many things you say and attempt to explain why I think your positions, ideas and thoughts fall short of accuracy... I do not think of any exchange as a fight.

    I think in your post here however, we do share similar views...One point you made that I would expand on is …While I believe that the disabled should have 100% access to everything a fully capable person should, sometimes that is just not possible.
    I think that the private business owner should not be forced to pay for these expenses generated from this. Its almost like we are turning into China where their government dominates private enterprise. If you look at all the government mandates, rules and regulations coupled along with the spirit of the ADA, I see an evolution of our government having a dominating grip on Americans in many ways.

     
  • Mike Adams posted at 11:55 am on Fri, May 20, 2011.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1507

    While Darrell and I fight over much, often unnecessarily, I am in agreement with him on this. This guy must just drive by or the street in the parking lots and just pick out who he''ll send a letter to.

    While I believe that the disabled should have 100% access to everything a fully capable person should, sometimes that is just not possible.

    Anyone who's been in Paul's shop knows it's small and it's in a small building so he would have to expand the building's actuall size or reduce stock. Either way, he loses money. From a business point of view, the handicapped and disabled spend money to, so Paul would certianly like their business as well.

    I would like to see this type of action faught vigorously, but know that in most cases it's not economical so the guy just gets a check for a couple grand and moves on to another town.


     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:04 am on Fri, May 20, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Mr Rodriguez stated...It shouldn't be mandated that private property owners be ADA compliant. People need to write their representatives. Repeal or fix the ADA.

    Mr Rodriguez experience is common place . Anyone can do a google search and find many businesses that faced that consequences of having to comply... and/or pay attorneys fees to defend themselves...
    I agree completely with Mr Rodriguez. While the ADA helps disabled people it hurts others. Private businesses should not be faced with big brother strong arming defenseless businesses.

    Below is one of many heart breaking stories that demonstrates how ruthless the ADA is.

    By: Geoff Spillane
    Published: 05/06/11
    http://www.capenews.net/communities/mashpee/news/1066

    Tenants of the Popponesset Marketplace this week received notice that a majority of businesses there would not be allowed to open for the upcoming summer season and the remaining businesses would have to vacate at summer’s end.
    According to a notice issued by marketplace management on Wednesday, the closure is a result of a 2010 lawsuit filed against the owner of the marketplace regarding handicapped accessibility.
    Several businesses have leases that expire at the end of 2011 and will be allowed to remain open for a final season. They include the Raw Bar, Bob’s Seafood Café and Wine Bar, Emack & Bolio’s ice cream shop, Rebecca O’ Donnell Art Gallery and Popponesset Miniature Golf.
    Representatives from Popponesset Marketplace provided a copy of the notice, but declined an interview request from the Enterprise.

     
  • Ryan Jameson posted at 6:16 am on Fri, May 20, 2011.

    Ryan Jameson Posts: 195

    Really Doug? You of all people are telling others to tone down their rhetoric?

     
  • Doug Chaney posted at 10:02 pm on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    He should concentrate his efforts on those holding handicapped parking placards and the physicians who issue them to those who are nowhere near handicapped you see parking in the handicapped stalls and exit their vehicles like they're late for their own funerals. And Unless you are truly handicapped and confined to a wheelchair permanently, you should keep your rhetoric down. How do you know you wouldn't have the same feelings if you too were severely handicapped? Many of these merchants have been forewarned and some were just too cheap to comply with the ADA requirements and snubbed their noses at the requirements. The city of Lodi is full of old buildings that are not compliant, though being aware that they should be for years. And the two level dumps downtown and on Main Street don't even have elevators to accomodate the handicapped, while those who obey the law have complied. Thanks again to the three amigos on city council who pander to the good old boy friends and business associates of themselves who own many of those non-compliant buildings who are given a free pass while this jerk bullies the smaller type family owned businesses, like he's afraid to bump heads with the corporations, wealthy and good old boys of towns like livable, lovable Lodi.

     
  • Ryan Jameson posted at 4:17 pm on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    Ryan Jameson Posts: 195

    I am with Dave Christy on this one (for the most part). What is an attorney from Sacramento doing in Lodi looking for a locksmith anyway? There are several documented cases of attorneys (and disabled people) who literally drive around communities all over and look for businesses to sue over ADA requirements. This character is exactly that kind of person. If he really wanted to champion this cause then he should open up HIS wallet to help pay for businesses to upgrade their facilities. The fact that he only takes a "small" amount of money is pathetic. He is smart though I will give him that. Sue everybody and only take small amounts so you appear to be a true, well intentioned individual who is only looking out for the disabled community. I know several business owners who do not have ADA required facilities (I will not mention them in case Scott Johnson reads this). These business owners are more than happy to assist disabled persons in the parking lot! They will walk outside and meet the person at their car to help them. They do the best they can in a hard economy to service every customer to the best of their ability.

     
  • Dave Christy posted at 1:56 pm on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    Dave Christy Posts: 27

    Hy; With all due respect you're dead wrong, this Johnson character has the same rights as anybody else, if he pulls into a business and sees that they can't fill his needs whatever they may be, he can turn around and go on down the road until he finds what he's looking for. He's just a s_ _ _ stirrer, a miserable individual, and hell bent on taking out his ill feelings on others.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 1:56 pm on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    starting with the first bullet point... from who.com
    First paragraph are my words... this was to statisfy Jeff tillet

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 1:54 pm on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    The ADA.... who has to pay for this? Either the business, city or other entity complies or they might as well shut the doors to the public... This act gives massive power to anyone who wants to take advantage of this law. I think people with disabilities should be treated with kindness and concern for their dilemma... but this law is draconian to the people who must pay for compliance... no fairness what so ever

    • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 with the hope of making public spaces more accessible. While it proved to be a major step forward for the disabled community, businesses of all sizes have since had concerns and issues with ADA compliance. The act's broad range of requirements and the cost of implementation have created uncertainty and even sometimes disdain for the ADA and those it is meant to assist.
    Structural Changes
    • The ADA requires that public spaces and businesses ensure accessibility to disabled patrons. Ramps with a low-grade slopes, continuous railings along ramps and stairs, designated parking spaces and hand railings in the bathrooms are all required. However, these structural changes and modifications can be costly. The cost of not complying, however, can be far greater. According to the Morena Business Association, a slew of lawsuits for ADA violations in San Diego, California from 1992 to 2007 cost local businesses $1 billion (see Reference).
    Modifications
    • The ADA requires modifications to conventional items if requested. One common example is the hand-control modification to cars, so people with paraplegia can drive. Major car-rental companies offer these modifications at their busiest locations. However, small-town and franchise locations typically do not. In Leah Tutum's article "Behind the Wheel: Hand Controls for Rental Cars," Hertz and Thrifty are cited an examples. Hertz, with its 1,200 locations, two-thirds of which are corporate-run, requires only 24 hours' notice for a hand-control modification to a rental car. Thrifty is entirely franchise-run and the notice needed to get a hand-control modification is determined by each location.
    Service Animals
    • The presence of service dogs in cafes and restaurants often causes a stir. Fears of health-code violations and the annoyance of other guests drives owners and managers to request the removal of the dog. The ADA permits service dogs in any publicly accessible place, including restaurants, grocery stores and movie theaters. Business owners may ask if a dog is a service animal and what tasks it performs; they may not ask about the owner's disability and cannot request that the owner remove the dog if it is not misbehaving or causing damage. Neither the service dog nor the owner may be segregated, charged extra for the dog's presence or discriminated against in any way.

     
  • Hy Cohen posted at 1:13 pm on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    Hy Cohen Posts: 8

    I'd also add, that it sounds like this attorney does have "real" reasons to sue in some cases. It just sounds like those cases are surrounded by overloads of things that aren't such a"big" problem. But just as I commented in the articles written about me, no newspaper article can tell the whole story. I don't know this guy, and I certainly do not know his motives. I can only state what I feel his motives might be. And if his motives are bad, then that is quite sad: for him and the business owners.

     
  • Hy Cohen posted at 12:54 pm on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    Hy Cohen Posts: 8

    I wouldn't say the ADA is flawed--other than it has probably been weakened too much by the courts. That said, based on the article, I question the true motives of this guy. I don't object to "legit" litigation under the ADA. Many businesses are seriously out of compliance for one reason or another. That is a problem. However, from my perspective as someone who is covered by the ADA, this guy sounds like he is doing it for the wrong reasons, which makes people want to remove the protections of the ADA or at least put way too many barriers up for someone who does have a real problem to be able to sue under it. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people out there who can take a fairly good law and make it look horrible due to abuse. If this is one of those guys abusing the law, shame on him. And if it is the businesses who are grossly violating the law, shame on them as well.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 10:07 am on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    I want to thank the attorney Scott Johnson for providing a solution to a problem that I have been concerned with for such a long time. For years, many have used the Americans for Disability Act as a tool to beat people up legally almost to the point of “legal bribery and extortion”. Didn't the city of Lodi just have to comply with this act causing Lodi to use valuable resources on the grape bowl?

    Maybe this attorney has found a way to motivate change to this flawed law. Maybe if some motivated litigation attorneys used his same technique, but sue only legislators, and their financial supporters, who support and approve of this law... and that they suffer as a result of what problems were created by this law that they themselves created and/or support... maybe this kind of thing will stop.

     
  • Jackson Scott posted at 9:00 am on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    Jackson Scott Posts: 387

    Speaking of improper handicap parking signs, I find it ironic that our Lodi USPS does not have proper signage for its 2 or 3 stalls. A federal government facility not in accordance with the law, imagine that?

    Yes, this guy is a huge slimeball.

     
  • Joe Baxter posted at 8:45 am on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    Joe Baxter Posts: 1905

    While I am sympathetic to the hardships people have with disabilities, what this guy is doing is extortion, pure and simple.

     
  • Dave Christy posted at 8:45 am on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    Dave Christy Posts: 27

    I'm sure happy that I have no reason to be Politically correct and can speak my mind. This guy Johnson is nothing but a PUKE! He preys on small business to make his slimmy living. He and others like him are making the good honest disabled folks get stereotyped into the enemy of business and we will all shudder when we see any of them come through our gates of business. I hope Paul takes a stand and I think the whole community should take a stand with him. I, like Paul, have had 1 maybe 2 dissabled people in my business in 25 years. The one I can remember pulled into the lot honked his horn, I went out to his car to talk with him. Johnson , there are more important problems facing this State and Country at this time ; Get a life PUKE.

     
  • Kevin Paglia posted at 7:36 am on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2094

    Isn't there some clause in the ADA that says small businesses don' have to be compliant IF the steps to be compliant are financially inhibiting, or other arrangements are made, like going out to the customers car when they can't come inside?

    But I have to say I'm not surprised with this "man" suing all the companies. He has nothing to lose doing it. There is one change I would make to the lawsuit system of our legal process; the person bringing the suit should have a financial risk if they lose just like the companies do. If the individual doesn't have the money then the lawyer they hire is responsible for the lawsuit fee. This would stop people like this who use lawsuits as a way of earning income.

     
  • Ryan Jameson posted at 6:15 am on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    Ryan Jameson Posts: 195

    This ambulance chaser sickens me. This man is hurting small business all in the name of some "righteous" cause. Of course he gets to pad his pocket while fighting for disabled "rights". This litigated society we have created is disturbing.

     
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