There is no question laws are created to protect people, but are they really protecting people or creating huge windfall profits for lawyers? This author thinks the latter.
All too often laws are created by lawyers under the cover of "consumer protection" when in fact they are nothing but income generators for the legal practice. They are income generators because it gives the lawyers a basis to sue businesses and hold them ransom for payment.
I'm sure everyone in the restaurant business has heard of the wheel "chair bandit," a lawyer who uses a wheelchair to enter businesses trying to find ADA (American's With Disabilities Act) violation to enable him to file a law suit against the business owners and landlords. There are huge penalties for violations. It quickly became a money pit for small business owners, many being held hostage for $10's of thousands of dollars.
Then California passed stricter regulations than the federal laws and the wheel chair bandits went crazy, making millions, until finally the business owners revolted and laws were passed to provide that the wheel chair bandit had to give the owners notice to fix before a law suit could be filed. Problem solved! Lawyers went away.
But, lawyers are smart people and they have a way of finding new ways to file law suits using the same old laws.
This time they are attacking website, yes website!
The law read as follows: ""No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation.” 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a).
It is the Department of Justice (DOJ) that takes the United States Code (U.S.C.) and makes rules for them. Here they have outlined rules for websites and called it the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines but these are not definitive rules and the DOJ has stated they will tackle definitive rules in 2018. But this hasn't stopped the liberal DOJ from pursuing website operators such as the large settlement between the DOJ and an online grocer in November 2014.
Class action lawsuits regarding websites not being ADA compliant are growing each year and has become the new money source for lawyers. So have your website checked by an expert to make sure it complies with the DOJ before some lawyer send you a lawsuit!
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Mel Jones is one of the premier restaurant brokers in the nation having published hundreds of articles on buying and selling a restaurant and bar business, selling thousands of restaurants in CA., WA and AZ and building one of the most copied business models in the brokerage industry. Mel started SellingRestaurants in 2004 with the one simple concept, give the buyers the information they need to make intelligent buying decisions without being pestered by a broker or hiding information, prepare the business for market by researching key details that make or break deals and educate the buyer on the buying process to create an intelligent buyer. Prior to SellingRestaurants, Mel was a Chief Financial Officer for Universal Music Group, the largest music company in the world. There he participated in more than $11.5 billion of merger and acquisition transactions. He also work for top companies such as Nestle Foods, USA. He hold a Bachelors in Business Administration Finance as well as attened Law School at Gonzaga University. Give Mel a call at 480.274.7000 or e-mail him at [email protected] if you have any questions.