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ADA issue? Can they sue?

Discussion in 'Civil Court, Procedure & Litigation' started by shrinkmaster, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Law Topic Starter Well-Known Member

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    Had someone ask me this other day and its outside my area of expertise and knowledge. Looking for info I can pass on if any. This person and family went to a theme park. They have a handicap placard and went to designated parking for handicap. The area they parked was quite a distance from main gate (like many theme parks) however there was no Tram or the like to take them to Gate. The handicap person can only walk for short distances without a great deal of pain. One of the able family members tried to get help fro security. This person told them that the wheel chair rental would not open for another 30 minutes and they could only bring chair to gate. After a while a a lot of pain handicap family member made it to gate got in chair and went to rental area to get electric one for the day. Here's the question. Is this an ADA or the like issue? Shouldn't the have closer parking or offer Tram or the like? They plan to seek out Lawyers after they contact park to see if they will offer compensation. So is there a violation of any kind here? Whats the point of handicap parking if it doesnt resolve issue its there for?
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I suspect the park could say many things to defend themselves.

    The park could say that the family could have dropped everyone off closer to the gate, and then parked the vehicle.

    In the example your posited about, the family and the disabled person CHOSE to take that walk.

    No one forced them to do so.

    You might pass the attached document along to the person who questioned you:

    ADA Requirements: Wheelchairs, Mobility Aids, and Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices
     
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  3. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Law Topic Starter Well-Known Member

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    I will pass on link. To add yes there was an area one could be dropped off but how would they know this if not told? In addition they had no choice as Park did NOT offer another option other than to make painful walk or drive 60 miles back home. A park employee funny enough told this family they should sue as it was a violation, weird huh?
     
  4. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Active Member

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    The park employee is obviously not a lawyer. The fundamental problem here is that the disabled person cannot sue the park for money damages. All he can do is sue the park to have the park correct the ADA violations, and for the attorney's fees it cost to do it. So his lawyers would get paid for this, but he wouldn't win any money himself. This is different than ADA claims in the employment setting. An employee can sue his/her employer for ADA violations. But the rules are different when suing places of public accommodation for ADA violations.

    Moreover, you have to consider all the services offered by the park, including the drop off option to determine if there was any ADA violation. It's not clear that there was.

    The disabled person certainly may discuss the matter with an attorney who litigates ADA cases against places of public accommodation to see if there might be something to pursue if he wants to force the park to provide better accommodations. Just understand there isn't a big money pay off waiting for him out of this.
     
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  5. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    Common sense should have told them to call the park ahead of the trip and find out what services they offer. It's rather surprising that this disabled person doesn't have a wheelchair/rascal/walker w/seat if they have such mobility issues. It's also rather curious that the driver, upon seeing how far from the entry of the park the handicap parking was, didn't say to his/herself "Gee...this is far for disabled person to walk...let me swing up and see if I can get him/her closer." One shouldn't need to be told to do that.
     
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  6. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    In California, there are statutory damages + attorney fee provisions.
     
  7. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Active Member

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    In my thoughts (not a legal thing) shame on this person for not preparing properly. I was told 13 years ago my i would lose the use of my left leg. I am proof that doctors don't know everything as i still have full use of the leg. Yet.... I could scream with the amount of pain i get when walking a long distance. So with that being said, I plan ahead for a event that i know will require me to walk for extended periods or distance. I don't look for someone to TELL me what i can or can't do. I bring a wheelchair, walker with a seat or a mobility scooter to these events. I've had to walk some great distances at times for sure. The last one that comes to mind was my daughter college graduation. We had a group of 15 but not everyone was allowed to enter the cripple entrance. So once i entered the building it would have taken a while to find the others. So i made the choice to walk with everyone. The point is that people have choices. This person has a choice to better prepare themselves for every event. To me.... This place didn't do anything wrong.
     
  8. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    I think Lot of this falls in to planning. The family must know they special accomodations are needed and should have looked into these details before arrival. They could have dropped off closer, brought their own chair, etc.
    There are almost certainly multiple areas designated for disabled parking. Maybe they didn't find the closest one?
    Nothing here suggests the park does not have reasonable accomodations. Better planning may have avoided the trouble.
     
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  9. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    I find it surprising that someone in such condition did not arrive with their own chair. They likely need it all the time.
     
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  10. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Active Member

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    I was speaking, of course, only about the ADA. If the park was in CA then there might be something more to get under CA law.
     
  11. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Jurisdiction was listed as California ;)
    But, I agree with what you wrote if California isn't actually where the park is located.
     
  12. Red Kayak

    Red Kayak Active Member

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    Bully for them. What do they reasonably believe were the quantifiable damages for their inconvenience? Ultimately, everyone went in, including the handicapped person.

    Were it me, I'd be more likely to have the lawyer write a stern demand letter stating the problem, mentioning the ADA, and requesting the implementation of simple and/or possible improvements that should/could be made to make the visit more pleasant for parties that need special accommodations.

    That way, future visits for others might be more pleasant, and who knows, your acquaintances they might get something as a "thank you" for promotional purposes.
     
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  13. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Active Member

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    My answer is still the same as it addressed the ADA, and the ADA applies the same everywhere in the country. :)

    While the jurisdiction is listed as CA, its not clear to me whether that is where the park is located, where the disabled person lives, or where Shrinkmaster is located.
     
  14. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I don't disagree with you. Having said that, I'd like to point out that we really have no evidence that the ADA rules weren't complied with by the park.
     
  15. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I only take exception with the statement you made that the person cannot sue the park for money damages. In California, they can. The only thing that matters is where the park is located...not where the disabled person lives or where Shrinkmaster is located. Since Shrinkmaster has over 3,600 posts on this forum, I'm assuming that he's familiar with the meaning of the jurisdictional question. I could be wrong, but I don't think so.
     
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  16. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Active Member

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    They can under state law. Again, my post only dealt with the ADA, and under the ADA the disabled person cannot sue for money damages. I think that is fairly clear when you take my post as a whole, since all I address in it is the ADA. If your problem is that you think I should have been more clear about that in my first sentence, then perhaps I should have.

    Correct. But my point is that since it was not expressly stated where the park is I cannot be certain that it is located in California.

    I don't take that for granted, as you apparently do. ;)
     
  17. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    My friend has a nationally syndicated radio program, "Handel on the Law".
    He regularly lambastes lawyers (and plaintiffs) that work a racket utilizing the ADA (state laws) to make money for the lawyer and the client.

    I don't know that this is true, but I do know this issue is regularly discussed, and criticized.

    California, it is said, allows such lawsuits and people are making a living looking for defendant businesses who are in violation of the law.

    These alleged violations aren't necessarily blatant, many are "technical" violations.
     
  18. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I agree - it's a terrible racket and needs to be addressed by the legislature.

    Right - like missing the size of a bathroom stall by an inch, or the size of a handicapped spot. Not only that, but plaintiff's don't have to prove that these "violations" affected them.
     
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  19. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Let's settle that one: @shrinkmaster - Where is the PARK in question located?
     
  20. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I find that to be the most egregious, state a claim, suffer no harm, point out the defect, make money for not suffering.
     
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