Category Archives: Public Accommodations

Uber’s ADA Conundrum

When you think of Uber (or similar companies like Lyft and Sidecar) you probably think of a transportation company. You request a ride on the company’s app and a driver (in his own vehicle) picks you up. The nature of the company’s business is, however, the very thing at issue in a series of lawsuits brought against Uber under the ADA. In lawsuits filed in Arizona, California, and Texas, individuals and disability rights organizations have accused Uber of failing to comply with ADA requirements of offering accommodations for the disabled (including individuals who are visually and mobility impaired) in providing …

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Coming Soon to a Theater Near You: New DOJ Closed-Captioning Rules

The price of movie tickets could be going up soon.  Under new proposed regulations issued by the Department of Justice, movie theaters with digital screens would be required to show  films with options for closed captioning (for hearing impaired patrons) and audio descriptions (for visually impaired patrons).  Movie theaters would not be required to create their own captioning or assistive aids.  Rather, when a movie is available for distribution with closed captioning and audio description, the theater must purchase the version containing these accommodations.  In some circumstances, a theater may show films without these accommodations if a compliant version is …

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Does Your Business Have a Website? Get Ready for New ADA Regulations

Courts have wrestled for several years with how to apply the ADA’s public accommodation requirements to online businesses or online aspects of businesses (USA Today published an article and quoted me on the issue available at the link below). The statute itself (enacted in 1990) does not address online businesses, nor do current regulations. Litigation in this area has also produced divergent results. In some cases, federal courts have dismissed such claims holding that online stores and websites are not public accommodations within the meaning of Title III of the ADA. In others, courts have held that commercial websites are …

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Insurance and ADA Public Accommodations Claims

Navigating common insurance issues for claims under Title III of the ADA Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that businesses which offer goods and services to the public (i.e. “public accommodations”) take steps to ensure that their facilities are accessible to individuals with disabilities.  In addition to the ADA’s general accessibility mandate, its governing regulations provide detailed requirements for businesses that range from the minimum number of accessible parking spaces to the height of mirrors and toilets in restrooms.  The failure to comply with these guidelines can lead to lawsuits in federal court.  If you follow …

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What Does “Readily Achievable” Mean and How Much Will It Cost Me?

In several recent posts I’ve discussed how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires public accommodations (i.e. businesses that offer goods and services to the public) occupied prior to January 26, 1993 to only make modifications that are “readily achievable.” I’ve received a number of requests to comment on what this term means and how a business determines whether a proposed modification (or claimed ADA violation) is readily achievable. Although there are no bright lines and each situation presents its own unique factors to consider, there are a number of factors that businesses can and should consider in deciding whether …

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Up to Code and Out of Compliance: The Local Building Code Trap

When I meet a new client facing an ADA public accommodations lawsuit, one of the first questions they often ask is: “How could this come up, the city inspector told us our property was in compliance?” The answer is, unfortunately, simple. The requirements of local and state building and construction codes do not always satisfy all the mandates of the ADA and can often become a trap for business owners. The fact that your property may satisfy applicable local, state, and building codes, including codes modeled after the IBC (International Building Code) and UCC (Uniform Construction Code) are no guarantee …

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