Re "Legal hell on wheels," Column One, Jan. 5
If President-elect Barack Obama really wants to stimulate the economy, he could start by calling for an amendment to the ADA to provide the "cure" period -- suggested by attorney Ted Batsakis in the article -- before subjecting businesses to any monetary penalties.
The statute also could be amended so that any penalties would be used to fund increased access for the disabled instead of Mundy's perpetual Christmas list.
As a designer in the architectural field, I am well aware of the regulations that must be addressed in both construction and signage. The laws are precise and ridiculously thorough, but for this extortionist to sue for "personal" damages because a condiment counter is half an inch too high does nothing to ensure the accessibility rights of every other disabled citizen.
Thank goodness there are people like Thomas Mundy. I am the proud mother of two autistic sons. I have seen more than my fair share of discrimination against the disabled, including my own family. It happens everywhere ... restaurants, buildings, small businesses and even at "family oriented" theme parks.
While this article describes the issues surrounding disability access and resulting lawsuits, it ignores the fact that landmark legislation designed to address these issues became effective Jan. 1. (Senate Bill 1608). The business community and consumer attorneys joined with key groups representing disabled persons. They crafted legislation that will curb disability lawsuits that do not seek compliance as a goal, while simultaneously encouraging business owners to ensure access to their establishments.
Jot Condie and Christine Spagnoli
Condie is the president of the California Restaurant Assn.; Spagnoli is the president of the Consumer Attorneys Assn. of California.