Since 2014 to date, Ms. Koussa has filed approximately 40 ADA lawsuits in Federal Court. According to the Federal Court's Pacer Case Locator system, in September 2016 alone, she went on a shopping spree filing 14 ADA lawsuits. In July 2016, Koussa apparently wanted to enjoy Sal the Flower Guy to buy or look at flowers, the Humane Society to adopt or look at animals, the Soda Canyon Store to eat or purchase a gift, and the Ranch Market to eat or purchase food. They were all sued and in each of the Google pictures I saw, there was but one car parked and plenty of spaces to park in.
Ms. Koussa targets certain streets that she drives on. For example, two businesses located on Jefferson Street in Napa were sued for alleged ADA parking problems. She sued a copy store and a flower store.
Salono Avenue in Napa is also a favorite of Ms. Koussa’s as she filed three ADA lawsuits against Ranch Market, that sells beer, wine, groceries, and Gary Ray’s Automotive that does oil changes, and a small beauty salon called Raiance Beauty. Gary’s Authomotive is .4 miles away from Radiance Beauty, which is only one minute away according to an on line distance calculator: distancecalculator.globefeed.com. The Ranch Market is about 2.8 miles to Gary’s Automotive on Salono Ave.
What are her rights as a disabled patron? Certainly disabled individuals have a right to access and enjoy a business that a non-disabled can. The ADA law requires that all public accommodations remove barriers to the disabled so they may fully and equally enjoy the facility as the non-disabled can. The Federal ADA and California's similar counterpart, have code booklets containing measurements and pictures and diagrams showing the many requirements to be met. For example, if a business provides parking, then one of the spaces must be a van accessible parking space. The regulations set forth that the van accessible space must be either 9’ wide or 12” wide, with an 8’ or 5’ stripped access aisle on the passenger side. The borders must be painted blue. There are so many codes that ADA experts, attorneys and Judges cannot agree as to all of the ones that apply. Yet there is hardly any defense for business, who act in good faith and provide substantial compliance. It is almost as if there is strict liability in California.
Worse yet, the disabled gets a minimum of $4000 per visit for allegedly being barred. It costs well over that to fight that “allegation” in a complaint, so most pay the ransom and settle. The ransom is $4000 plus attorney's fees and costs.
The Courts are pulling out the measuring tape or level and if it does not meet the code requirement, then it is assumed that the disabled plaintiff was discriminated against. However, the ADA statute specifically states that no disabled individual should be discriminated against in the full and equal “enjoyment” of the facilities goods, services, privileges and so forth. The key word in the law is “enjoy.” A disabled plaintiff should have to prove that he or she went to the facility to enjoy it, as opposed to went looking for ADA problems to then sue them.
Be Proactive and prevent a lawsuit by calling Ms. Catherine M. Corfee, and/or at least scheduling a private one hour consultation so she can best direct you. (w) 916-487-5441 and (altern) 916-812-7322. Doing nothing could cost you thousands of dollars. Be cautious of only using a CASp because they are not attorneys, do know know your defenses, when you do not need to comply, what criteria you need to meet to be exempt from a code, and what evidence to have to qualify. Some will throw the entire code book at you when they all may not apply. Any mistakes by a CASp will not provide you with a defense. Ms. Corfee works with a few select CASps and feels both are great in conjunction. However, there are alternatives to protect yourself without that added cost.
Corfee Stone & Associates: (916) 487-5441 - firstname.lastname@example.org