Company Type: Real Estate Private Equity (Regional)
Oklahoma City, OK
We are a private equity company incorporated in over 40 years ago Oklahoma. Since its founding, our strategy has been to maximize value in commercial real estate by providing high-quality management, leasing, and facilities maintenance. We is a hands-on property owner whose principals personally direct day-to-day operations with the goal of ensuring a positive experience for its tenants and members of the public.
In March of 2016, we were served with a lawsuit alleging a number of ADA violations at a shopping center in Florida. The plaintiff had positioned herself as a “tester” for ADA compliance, filing up to 20 lawsuits in a day. In 2015, the plaintiff filed 173 lawsuits related to ADA compliance, with more than 270 similar suits filed in total.
The complaint against us claimed that handicapped parking spaces were excessively sloped and that restrooms in several restaurants within the center were non-compliant due to improperly located amenities, improper door hardware and various other minor ADA violations within tenant-controlled spaces.
At present, the ADA does not provide for a curative period in which a landlord or tenant may correct violations of the law before a suit is filed. Neither the tenants named as defendants nor the property manager were informed of any violation; instead, the plaintiff immediately filed suit with no notice to us until it was served at our headquarters.
Ultimately, we agreed to a settlement which included minor repairs such as lowering soap dispensers and mirrors and replacing insulation around sink drain pipes. The total cost of repairs was less than $1,000; however, we and our tenants were required to reimburse the plaintiff more than $10,000 in legal fees.
A similar 2013 lawsuit relating to a shopping center in Oklahoma City, OK resulted in our incurring more than $40,000 in costs to defend itself – in addition to Plaintiff’s legal fees - the majority of which were paid to attorneys, expert witnesses and architectural consultants.
Frivolous lawsuits such as these do not further the interests of disabled people who seek the access to public spaces and accommodations to which they are entitled. Instead, they delay practical accommodations through lengthy litigation, and serve only to enrich unscrupulous attorneys through abuse of legal process. Revision of the ADA to allow for a curative period before the filing of a lawsuit will lower the cost of doing business for tenants and landlords, and will allow handicapped persons the quick and complete access to public spaces they deserve.