If you own a parking lot, you're probably aware the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has requirements to ensure that persons with disabilities have the same rights to access private and public spaces as anyone else. Title III (public accommodations and commercial facilities) and Title II (state and local governments) of the ADA specifically cover rules and guidelines for accessible parking spaces.
Who Enforces ADA Parking?
ADA compliance is enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). In addition to the DOJ, states and local governments may have their requirements for accessible parking, and local authorities may be responsible for inspection of construction and vehicle code offenses.
Federal law allows fines of up to $75,000 for the first violation and $150,000 for additional ADA violations.
States may impose additional penalties for ADA violations. In California, a violation of the ADA is considered a civil rights violation and comes with a minimum penalty of $4,000 plus attorney fees.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) enforces state disability laws.
There is another enforcer to worry about when it comes to ADA parking lot violations. Although an "unofficial" enforcer, this entity may be more problematic for a business owner than the State and Federal agencies.
CA Awards Damages in ADA Lawsuits
While Federal law prohibits plaintiffs from profiting in an ADA discrimination lawsuit, CA does allow for the payout of damages to plaintiffs. And that can lead to "serial plaintiffs" who repeatedly file for damages.
This serial plaintiff is turning CA ADA lawsuits into a profitable business, suing businesses on both sides of the bay.
California law calls for businesses to pay at least $4,000 for each violation encountered by a potential patron, plus attorneys fees, but the amounts of settlements vary.
One Sacramento business owner paid over $200,000 to deal with an ADA lawsuit, even though he believed the plaintiff never even entered his building.
For a CA business owner with a parking lot, failing to adhere to ADA parking compliance can risk much more than just the Federal and State penalties for not complying. It may mean risking costly litigation, whether it be from would-be patrons who truly feel discriminated against because of a lack of fair access to a building, retailer, or public space, or from serial plaintiffs who make a living from bringing lawsuits against businesses they may never have even entered.
Update Your CA Bay Area Parking Lot
If your Bay Area parking lot doesn't meet the CA ADA parking lot requirements, call JV Lucas Paving. We're the ADA parking professionals in the California Bay Area, and we've been paving parking lots for nearly 70 years. While building codes and parking lot requirements may have changed from decade to decade, one thing that hasn't changed is our commitment to our customers.
Request a free consultation, and we'll let you know if your parking lot is up to code or give you a quote to get you there before you have to face ADA penalties or lawsuits for your Bay Area business.