A large part of my legal practice is defending small business owners against predatory ADA lawsuits. I am often asked whether a business person or property owner may exclude an ADA plaintiff from visiting their property â€” or even whether it is possible to get a restraining order against a known ADA plaintiff. Here is a scenario that may sound familiar.
Bob Businessman owns a store that was recently sued by notorious ADA plaintiff Scott Johnson. Even if Bob settles quickly, the lawsuit will be a serious financial burden for his business. Bob wasnâ€™t aware of any violations before the lawsuit and was very upset when he learned of Scott Johnsonâ€™s history of suing small business for a living.
Like many ADA defendants, Bob is upset and decides to refuse service to Scott Johnson if he ever returns to his store. Bob hangs a photo of Johnson behind the counter and tells all his employees to refuse service to this man.
What Bob doesnâ€™t know is that he just might have cost himself several thousand more dollars in damages!
By refusing service to Johnson, Bob has committed an act of retaliation. Scott Johnson and his attorneys could use this retaliatory act to add another claim against Bob and his business. This gives Johnson, and other serial ADA plaintiffs, a stronger case against business owners, ultimately resulting in an increase price to settle.
In the eyes of many courts throughout Sacramento and California, Scott Johnson and other serial ADA filers have the right to sue for violations of the ADA. In fact, ADA lawsuits are a protected activity, and discriminating against a person involved in one is in itself a violation of the ADA.
There are ways to fight back against Scott Johnson, but not outside of Court. If your business is sued, donâ€™t add more fuel to the fire. Protect yourself and business by getting a CASp inspection and hiring an attorney to protect your interests.
Don't make things worse! Call my office at (916) 333-2222 to discuss your legal rights as a business or property owner served with an ADA lawsuit.