Pico Rivera’s 25-year-old coffee shop Barney’s fears for its survival after a lawsuit was filed late last month by a disabled man claiming the bathroom here isn’t accessible, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act. The suit includes a charge that this particular loo has no sidebars, despite photos that show them there, among accusations that the bathroom’s entrance and paper towels are inaccesible. With $4,000 statutory damages and attorney’s fees as a penalty, proprietor Dan Miller tells Whittier Daily News, “This might be the final straw.” Wife Audrey Miller, who claims no complaints were made on the day of the plaintiff’s visit, calls the lawsuit “extortion.” What evidence might back her claims?
Meanwhile, the man who filed the suit appears to have filed similar suits against Pomona’s El Merendero Bakery and La Fogoata Tacos, as well as an El Monte Shakey’s, just as his lawyer has represented another plaintiff who filed 27 similar suits this past summer. While the couple hopes the courts decide in their favor, allowing them to make gradual changes, they fear for employees who have been with them for years and in the meantime, have reluctantly shut the bathroom down. What do you think? Shakedown or civil rights struggle?
Pico Rivera restaurant accused of violating law for disabled [Whittier Daily News]