Monday, February 23, 2015

People in your neighborhood

Looks like Detroit
Ever wonder who lives in your neighborhood.  Around my library, we have a number of "colorful" people.  Take the guy who lives over by the trashcan.  He doesn't live in the trashcan, only next to it. On rainy/windy days, he'll put up a tarp to add that homey touch.

On Wednesdays, there is the crazy lady on the corner who screams at people when they don't give her money.  Did I say scream?  I meant berate and chase after them and she does it with such passion that people are encouraged to give till it hurts (or she leaves them alone).

Then we have the wheelchair guy who teamed-up with a local attorney to file ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) lawsuits against business owner.  Apparently, the scam works like this.  Wheelchair guy rolls around looking for businesses to sue for alleged ADA violations.  Then attorney fires off an extortion letter saying that unless the business pays his client (the guy in the wheelchair who never actually frequents any particular business but went there once to say he used the business) a sum of money that they'll sue the pants off the business and seek costs and attorney's fees.  See, the problem is that if there is an ADA violation ("IF" being the operative word), maximum ADA penalties are about $75,000.  Most times, the business settles for something less than then maximum penalty and wheelchair guy moves to the next victim.  Thing is, attorney doesn't file actions through the federal government - these guys just want civil judgments (i.e. quick(er) cash).

I understand the plight of the business owners.  A while back, I was teaching legal research in a local university paralegal program.  When time came for the mid term exam, one student told me that she was "ADA" and demanded I give her extra time to complete the test or she would sue me.  I didn't know what an "ADA person" was (or what one looks like) so I laughed at her and wished her good luck.  To cover my bases, I contacted the director of the program and was informed that they knew about the situation (but didn't bother to tell me about it).  I found out ADA violations had a $50,000 penalty attached to them so to rectify my problem, I changed the mid-term exam from a one hour, easy peasy in-class test to a 20-hour take home, brain crunching exam.  En garde!

Anyway, as this relates to wheelchair guy and his pet attorney and to the numerous business owners who have been attacked by this guy, I have suggested they take a look at:
Then, a while ago, I was speaking with an attorney and he noted that even if the business was in non-compliance with the ADA, if their business was in compliance with the state's building code, they might want to file an interpleader action against the state because the state has a duty to keep it's building regulations in compliance with the ADA.  So, why not drag the state into the lawsuit and/or split the cost for the alleged violation.  As such might be the case, I have begun to suggest local business owners take a look at
While it can be a real pain to have to deal with some of the people in your neighborhood, know that the good folks down at your local county law library are ready to help you fight for your right to party (or do business, as the case may be).