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Attorneys utilize Google Earth in search for ADA parking lot issues

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POSTED June 14, 2014 1:37 a.m.

The top 10 items in demand letters and claims for businesses to watch out for in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that some attorneys are eyeing in their check list for civil suits have been issued by the California Commission on Disability Access.

Some 20 to 30 attorneys are reportedly scouring the Central Valley and the state for violations occurring in the business communities. Attorney Scott Johnson is being criticized for the numbers of businesses — more than 3,000 so far — he has taken to court for ADA violations.

Executive director of California Against Lawsuit Abuse, Tom Scott, said Johnson has a staff of four that visit businesses in the field searching out violations in addition to assistants sitting at computers using Google Earth to find parking lot violations that they can cite in litigation.

Parking violations related to those with disabilities have “parking” as the number one problem where loading/van access aisles are non-compliant or non-existing.

The second concern is also with parking where the spaces are not compliant with the law.

Thirdly signage in parking lot is not compliant in that parking spaces need to be designated as reserved by a sign showing the symbol of accessibility. 

Number four relates to ramps where curb ramps or entrance ramps are not compliant or non-existent followed by number 5 that deals with accessible routes and entries to and from a parking lot or public right of way are not accessible that may include uneven surfaces.

The number of spaces in a parking lot is number six when the parking lot does not contain a minimum number of accessible spaces.

Number seven relates to accessible routes and entry in general where entry doors are not accessible or missing signs or symbol designation accessibility. Number eight involved the access height to a public facility. The heights of surfaces such as counters, bars or tables that are not ADA compliant has been noted. Number nine is also concerned about access within a public facility such as dining or work surfaces not accessible in the route. 

Toilet rooms and bathrooms must be accessible.

The commission noted that the above information is not intended to suggest that the top 10 access issues are the same for every city and county in California. It is reflective of only the data received by the commission from law firms in compliance to SB 1186, as noted in its statement. 

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