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by Ron Davis
A woman’s efforts to prove that the owners of a California shopping center discriminated against her have been mostly successful.
The shopping center is Rose Village, located in Roseville. And the woman claiming discrimination had been visiting there, among other reasons, to dine at one of the center’s restaurants. What she found at the restaurant of choice, however, apparently displeased her.
For example, she noted several violations of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). First, she said that the men’s restroom had a traditional style door that required a person to grasp and twist the doorknob in order to gain entry.
She also noted that the toilet seat-cover dispenser was over 54 inches above the floor, the mirror was higher than 40 inches above the floor, and the plumbing underneath the sink was not wrapped. And that’s not all she discovered. She noted the restaurant’s cash register was more than 36 inches in height and did not provide a lower section for persons in wheelchairs. Plus, she said the owner had used panel-style door knobs “that require tight grasping and twisting of the wrist to operate.”
She further found that the first and second set of entrances did not comply with ADA rules because they had paneled-styled door knobs “that requires grasping and twisting to operate.” And she noted that less than 48 inches separates the two doors. Moreover, a front approach to the pull side of a swinging entrance door at the restaurant has less than 18 inches of clearance to the “strike” side of the floor.
In response to those allegations, the center’s owners and the restaurant owner attempted to rectify any if not all problem areas. And after doing so, they notified the woman’s lawyers that the restaurant was “ADA compliant.” Moreover, they personally invited the woman as well as her lawyers to inspect the property. But no one responded to that invitation.
The center owners then tried mailing a letter, to which the lawyer for the woman eventually responded. In that letter, the center’s contractor noted that he had taken measures to assure compliance with the law.
Finally, a lawyer for the woman conducted a site inspection to assure compliance with the ADA requirements. For the most part, he found sufficient compliance with ADA rules. But he also reported additional barriers that the disabled woman had not discovered.
Following that inspection, the center’s owners hired their own expert, who, in a sworn statement, offered advice on ADA concerns regarding the problem areas at the shopping center. Compliance with that advice, however, would cost $78,151.70. Moreover, some businesses at the center would have to shut down during compliance efforts.
Nevertheless, the centers and its tenants worked diligently to comply with ADA requirements. Moreover, both parties agreed to resolve the dispute without additional judicial intervention.
(Scott Johnson, Plaintiff, v. Rose Village, A California General Partnership, No. 2:15-cv-02299-TLN-KJN)
Decision: April 2016
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