Shopping Center Speaks Against "Nuisance Lawsuits"
January 24, 2017
Company Type: Shopping Center Owner/Developer (National)
San Diego, CA
Our real estate company, a REIT that owns multiple properties throughout the United States, has been invited to share its experience with litigation arising out of the American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). While our company fully supports the ADA and believes in providing equal access to shopping centers and retailers nationwide, it appears that an unintended consequence of the ADA has been the excessive filing of “nuisance lawsuits” where a minor or incidental infraction results in time consuming and expensive litigation driven by plaintiff’s attorneys intent on collecting attorney’s fees.
One specific example of such a “nuisance lawsuit” was one in which our company was sued by a plaintiff who alleged ADA violations at over 15 of our properties (located in several different states); yet, the plaintiff had only actually visited a single property. The complaint reveals that, after visiting a single property, plaintiff had “investigators” examine all of our other properties on plaintiff’s behalf. We fear that the plaintiff’s law firm may have done nothing more than search public records to find other properties we own within a geographic area in order to increase its leverage for purposes of obtaining a larger settlement.
This suit, in our view, is representative of the types of litigation resulting from the ADA where opportunistic plaintiffs’ counsel file broad suits and claims on behalf of “investigators” who haven’t actually been harmed. It does not appear that such is the intent of the ADA.
As previously stated, our company fully supports the provision of equal access to shopping centers and retailers to all individuals nationwide. To that end, our company is in favor of continued discussions regarding how those results can be achieved without the proliferation of “nuisance lawsuits” that don’t fully support the intent and purpose of the ADA.