Friday, May 13, 2016

Texas' KXAN Asks: When Does Advocacy Cross Into Lawsuit Abuse?

Austin, TX

Austin's local TV station, KXAN Channel 36 recently launched an investigation into a "cottage industry" of Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits in the city. Plaintiff John Deutsch and his lawyer Omar Weaver Rosales, whose LinkedIn profile lists him as President of the Rosales Law Firm LLC as well as Director, Producer, and Writer for Upper Realm Films, have sued approximately 30 different restaurants and bars, more than a dozen convenience stores and automotive shops, four banks, and numerous other small businesses in Austin for a total of 382 lawsuits to date.

While Deutsch and Rosales are not the only parties involved in suing local businesses for poor ADA compliance, KXAN notes the hundreds of lawsuits they've filed are clearly for profit, and thus indicative of "systemic abuse" of the system.

All suits follow a pattern of alleging violations to the exterior of the business, none allege any interior violations, suggesting that complaints are made based on "drive-by" tactics with no effort made to contact the business owners or request remediation before bringing suit. The lawsuits also all seem to follow a shared boilerplate.