Town Square

Federal judge orders serial ADA plaintiffs to show standing to sue in 9 cases

Original post made on Apr 23, 2022

A federal judge has ordered three disabled plaintiffs and their lawyers to prove they are entitled to bring their lawsuits in federal court, including one plaintiff with a history of lawsuits against Peninsula businesses.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, April 23, 2022, 9:02 AM


Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 23, 2022 at 6:54 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Johnson's actions are completely legal. The judge making him "prove" he has standing puts his position at risk because he is also practicing discrimination against Mr. Johnson. If you went to a facility where you were crapped on, why would you ever return? I think of Johnson as the "Norma Rae" of disability rights. Go to every facility that is supposed to be ADA compliant and look at it through the eyes of a disabled person. Johnson is the eyes and ears of the spirit of ADA laws. If the facility is found to be out of compliance no one has to notify the facility that they are courting a lawsuit. They should know how to comply with laws that have been on the books for decades. It's their responsibility to be proactive, and to be aware of the laws that are supposed to allow everyone equal rights to enjoy the facility. You can't just court the able-bodied, able-brained, etc. Because if you do, you will get sued eventually. Johnson is trying to send a message to businesses. Comply or close. And that is the law. If you refuse to comply, the office of civil rights has the capacity and the DUTY to relieve you of your business license. As far as Johnson suing for damages, only a disabled person understands how much it hurts to know that you are not welcome at so many public establishments. That's real hurt, and it doesn't have a dollar figure but being awarded damages are right and just, because it's the only way to get the establishment to understand. They don't understand disabled people, and don't want to. But they sure understand the monetary damages they may have to pay after hurting a disabled person intentionally by denying them equal access to their facilities. And if it's 100 or 1000 lawsuits, that's what it takes to create real CHANGE.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 23, 2022 at 7:33 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

I've been following this story and half of the time the plaintiffs never showed up at the businesses they were suing and/or made up reasons to sue like a restaurant didn't have ADA-compliant tables for outside dining when they had NO tables for dining by ANYONE, disabled or not.

Years ago I was shocked that I was almost sued at work for making a comment that a temp junped on when the comment applied to myself for being klutzy while trying to open a door while holding a huge pile of books. I had no idea the guy was missing one finger joint on his hand because he never bothered to try to stick out his hand to open the door for me,

Fortunately enough people witnessed his shakedown so HR threw out his claim,

Decades later I still fume about how my self-deprecating comment could have been used like that!

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of Juana Briones School
on Apr 23, 2022 at 7:49 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Online Name, we live in litigious times. On the other hand, the laws were written to give anyone with a disability a fair shake. Has it resulted in occasional shakedowns? Sure it has. But if the entity thought they were 100% compliant, and could prove it, they are immune to a shakedown. The complainant, conversely, has nothing to lose and everything to gain by "winning" their case. Because it results in better compliance. I'll bet even in your case though it was dismissed, it resulted in greater awareness of sensitivity toward disabilities. The thing that everybody hates about lawsuits is that it costs money to go through the court system. But this is the price of fairness, where a disabled person has standing to file a suit if they have been affected by an establishment, and both parties have to pay fees to sort it out. Best practices could avoid all of that.

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2022 at 8:36 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

If you don't know a horse, look at its track record. Anyone familiar with Johnson knows his record, and it isn't a good one.

Posted by cmarg
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 25, 2022 at 4:53 pm

cmarg is a registered user.

Hurting people hurt others... Sad that he has to be litigious. If he feels changes need to happen, there is always a polite way to go about it and build a positive attitude toward everyone caring. He could be a positive force but appears, in my opinion, to take a vengeful approach.

Posted by Carla
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 25, 2022 at 7:26 pm

Carla is a registered user.

This judge is right to require standing. It should be wrong to profit from filing lawsuits.

It is understandable if one gets hurt from others' actions or inactions, but these plaintiffs are not being hurt when what are doing is simply noting that something is not to current code. They should send that information to the respective cities for compliance, and/or make a public information or shaming system.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 25, 2022 at 7:50 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

Sue, sue…it’s the California way.
Good news to have a sensible judge here.

Posted by TorreyaMan
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 25, 2022 at 8:53 pm

TorreyaMan is a registered user.

This is simply a scam. One of the plaintiffs sued over 1000 times in ONE Year. Even if some of the visits occurred in prior years, does anyone really believe he/she visited all the establishments sued, and is doing anything more than making a huge amount of money in an extraordinary underhanded way? These are not crusades to bring about ADA compliance. These are get rich schemes.

Posted by Josie
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 26, 2022 at 9:33 am

Josie is a registered user.

Hooray for Judge Vince Chhabria! Many of these lawsuits are just an easy shakedown of local businesses, who in some cases are driven out of business. Making a buck off the backs of small business owners, just because you can, is despicable.

Posted by Avery Stone
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2022 at 9:40 am

Avery Stone is a registered user.

The question Mr. Johnson a true ADA advocate or a fleecing opportunist?

Advocacy movements are oftentimes toothless unless punative lawsuits are involved.

Posted by Observer
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 5, 2022 at 2:37 pm

Observer is a registered user.

I hope that these serial ADA litigants are paying full federal and state income tax on all their earnings as regular income. Additionally since it seems be a business they better have paid all the required local business license fees and be following all regulations including ADA regs for their premises/place of business.