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Serial plaintiff gets no magic bullet from federal judge

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2020 | ADA |

Residents of California may be interested in learning about this recent ruling by a United States District Judge in the Northern District of New York. The plaintiff, who is disabled, has been filing “cookie cutter” lawsuits regarding ADA website compliance. Her recent suit did not meet Article III standing.

According to Lexology, Article III standing must be proven to bring the lawsuit. The judge refused to enter the default judgement.

To meet Article III, plaintiffs must show that they have sustained or are in immediate danger of sustaining a direct injury, resulting from the alleged wrongdoing. The injury must be real and concrete, not speculative or hypothetical.

A suit against a hotel, in a location, Rensselaer, New York, where she had not even traveled, lacked Article III standing. She has an additional 29 lawsuits filed in Northern District of New York and a total of 235 nearly identical lawsuits filed nationally.

Courts in many states require that the plaintiff suffer an injury. She has stated that she is a “tester,” trolling the web to discover websites that do not meet 28 C.F.R. Section 36.302(e); it outlines information that hotels are required to provide on their websites for disabled guests.

Website accessibility lawsuits have been dismissed in 2019 in the United States Court of Appeals for both the Fourth Circuit and the Seventh District because of lack of Article III standing. The serial plaintiff found no magic bullet in the courts with the filing of numerous website ADA hotel lawsuits.

The complexity of ADA lawsuits require a law firm that is versed in the defense of ADA claims; abuse can be common, as claims that reasonable accommodation has not been made. In case of litigation, there might be help with an experienced ADA lawyer.