Monday, April 9, 2012

Accessibility and Swimming Pools

Periodically over the past 10 years businesses along the Highway 99 corridor have been fleeced for allegedly violating public accommodation statutes designed to assist those with disabilities.  The lawyers who file these actions -- typically thousands of lawsuits -- seek $4,000 per alleged violation.  And these violations can be as minor as a mirror that is an inch too high off of the floor. 

Get ready for another round of access lawsuits.  The United States Department of Justice has finalized swimming pool access regulations.  For pools without sloping access, this will mean the purchase and installation of a permanent pool lift. 

California businesses have been subject to pool access regulations since 1982, as part of the California Building Code.  But as one lawyer stated, "many [businesses] either don't know ... or care and, a large number of them have been sued for this violation of California law and paid large sums of money." 

I advise businesses open to the public to contact a certified access specialist and analyze access issues.  In our representation of businesses, it is not uncommon even on small cases to defend against 10 or more claims of alleged violations.  At $4,000 per violation, you are already at $40,000.  Then, of course, there are attorneys' fees.  Isn't the law wonderful! 

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