Sacramento-based attorney Scott Johnson is known for being one of the most prolific serial filers of ADA lawsuits in California, often filing multiple lawsuits per day. As a quadriplegic wheelchair user her visits restaurants and other buildings he believes to be violating the ADA and files lawsuits against them if he cannot gain access.
In May 2019, Johnson was indicted on charges of fraudulent tax returns relating to the funds he had received from the thousands of lawsuits he had filed in the Sacramento area. Local merchants were secretly relieved thinking it would put an end to the threat of lawsuits. However, it seems Johnson has simply turned his attention elsewhere targeting the Bay Area instead. Over 1000 suits have been filed in the last 2 years.
The story represents a double-edged sword. While on the surface, it seems Johnson is doing good work since these businesses should be ADA compliant and it could be argued that he is highlighting the number of inaccessible buildings in the area. However, on the other hand, many merchants argue that he is merely using the law for personal gain and his actions are painting the ADA in a bad light. One of the business owners he targeted owns a salon and states that she knows he never attempted to visit her business as it was closed on the date in question due to Covid restrictions at the time. She also states that she only accepts male customers by appointment as she works alone in the building and wants to vet them in advance therefore he cannot have personally experienced any discriminatory barriers as his lawsuit claims.
The bottom line is this - it's not a matter of if someone files an ADA lawsuit against your business, but when! The best way to avoid the situation is to consult an ADA contractor and plan how to get compliant.
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of DESIGN BUILD
Being involved in ADA design and construction has given me the opportunity to help a lot of business owners and commercial property owners prevent costly ADA compliant lawsuits.