So... I'm no fan of the ADA. I designed under it for ten years, then built a half-million dollar business in compliance with it. In my opinion, it goes too far. It supposes too many people are handicapped. The definition of "handicapped" has definitely moved - I talked to a girl this week who is 4'9" and apparently that qualifies her for a handicapped parking permit.

But this article is bugshit.

    Finding violators is like shooting fish in a barrel. ADA plaintiffs and their lawyers often troll for noncompliant businesses by driving around and noting violations (such as misplaced handicapped parking spaces) visible from their car at strip malls, gas stations, convenience stores, nail salons, and similar mom-and-pop retail establishments. Some claims, such as for missing grab rails and insufficiently capacious stalls in restrooms, do require a personal visit, but no actual “harm”—or even demonstrated lack of access—to a disabled person is required.

Holy shit reefer madness! ADA compliance is assessed as part of your building permit, then assessed again as part of your occupancy permit. Noncompliance with the ADA is the fault of the issuing authority and they know it. More than that, you must be compliant with the standards in place at the time of first occupancy - so if you first moved into the space in 2005, you are not required to be compliant with ADA 2010 guidelines (which, in many cases, is a drag - ADA2010 is actually less onerous in many ways).

    In 2008, Target paid $6 million to settle a class-action suit brought by the National Federation of the Blind charging that the retailer’s website was allegedly insufficiently accessible to blind customers. Target also paid nearly $4 million in costs and attorneys’ fees to the plaintiffs. Why would Target pay $10 million to settle a case when the law is unsettled and its culpability far from certain?

I dunno, 'cuz they make $200m a day? 'cuz that's hella easier than dealing with the PR of fighting the handicapped in court? Because if every blind person in the USA was party to the lawsuit, that $6m is like 4 bucks each? Because making their website work with screen readers is the right thing to do, which is what AOL did with a similar lawsuit 8 years prior? I remember back in the '80s there was much rending of shirts associated with a dude who sued McDonald's over their lack of changing tables in the restrooms. He offered to drop the suit if McDonald's put changing tables in their restrooms. Mcdonald's agreed to put changing tables in their restrooms. He dropped the suit. Didn't even hit 'em with legal fees, as I recall.

I mean... there's enough problems with the ADA without having to make shit up. When you pull stuff like this out of your ass, you damage the credibility of everyone who actually has a legitimate beef.

posted by flagamuffin: 700 days ago