Businesses Facing ADA Suits

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Mar. 17, 2008 12:00 am  

Jimmy Ashley has filed federal lawsuits against four Jonesboro restaurants and accused them of not meeting Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

Baker, the attorney for the Disability Rights Center, said business owners often think they are in compliance when they are not.

In 2002, the Disability Rights Center surveyed 94 central Arkansas restaurants that initially said they were accessible to people with disabilities. The DRC investigated and found only six restaurants met all the ADA standards for having accessible parking, an accessible route to the front door and an accessible entrance.

The DRC called the results "alarming."

Baker said restaurateurs sometimes tell her that they don't think they have to comply with the ADA because no disabled people eat at the restaurant. But the truth is just the opposite, she said: Disabled people don't eat at the restaurant because it isn't accessible.

The only way to enforce the ADA law is through a lawsuit or by filing a complaint with the Justice Department, Zwilling said.

"There is no ADA police," he said. "It comes down to [people with disabilities] are the only folks that are really charged with enforcing it."

Ashley said he hopes his lawsuits result in his gaining full access to the restaurants. He said some of the business owners he has sued are his friends.

"It has nothing to do with friendship," Ashley said. "They should have been in compliance.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.