Craig Thomas Yates, who is one of a number of wheelchair-bound people in California who make a living by suing businesses for ADA non-compliance — and thereby, they argue, calling attention to the plight of the disabled and the widespread compliance issues everywhere — has moved on from the Mission (where he and his attorney were instrumental in shutting down Chile Lindo) and into the Richmond. The Chron reports that Yates has filed suit against three businesses in the same building for ADA non-compliance, including Thidwick Books and (we believe, though the Chron doesn’t mention them by name) Village Pizzeria. Several of the business owners are said to be closing or moving due to the suits, including the bookstore owner, given that they can not afford the fines or the improvements that would make them compliant.
Tim Thimesch, Yates’s current attorney, rejects the idea that Yates is primarily motivated by cash — though the 20-year-old law does allow for claimants like Yates to seek $4,000 in damages for each impediment found on a business’s premises. Lea Dimond, the owner of Thidwick Books, calls this “vexatious litigation,” and in fact Yates’s attorney in the Mission district cases was barred from a Los Angeles court for being a “vexatious litigant” in his filing of so many similar ADA cases.
It is unclear whether Village Pizzeria is among the businesses closing or relocating, but Supervisor Eric Mar is looking into the issue of businesses who feel they were not adequately informed by the City when they first received their permits of any compliance issues they might face. Also, Mar encourages businesses who want to make any necessary ADA improvements to seek help with financing from the City’s small business office.
S.F. bookshop owner to close over ADA lawsuit [Chron]
Earlier: Chile Lindo Owner Gets Very Emotional at Press Conference [Grub Street]
Chile Lindo Organizes Rally to Protest Lawyer in ADA Lawsuits [SFoodie]