Beginning in 2016, Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities Foundation, Inc. (“AID”) filed a flood of lawsuits—eventually totaling more than 1,700—in Arizona Superior Court against small businesses in Arizona. In the lawsuits, which were largely “copy-and-paste” versions of one another, AID alleged ADA violations in the parking lots of each business. Businesses were hit with demands to settle out of court for amounts between $3,500 and $10,000.
In August of 2016, the Arizona Attorney General sought to intervene in the pending lawsuits, and in September, the state court granted the Attorney General’s motion to consolidate all open cases. In December, the Attorney General moved to dismiss these lawsuits on the basis that the plaintiff lacked standing and the settlement demands were exorbitant or otherwise improper in light of the nature of the alleged violations.
On February 18, 2017, after oral argument, the court granted the Attorney General’s motion, dismissing all of the cases (with the possible exception of one pending case). The Attorney General has announced its intent to pursue sanctions against the plaintiff.
In the meantime, Arizona lawmakers are considering various legislative fixes to prevent the next blitz of predatory lawsuits, including proposals that would give small businesses additional time to fix violations or tax incentives for bringing properties into compliance prior to complaints. We will update the blog as these issues develop in the courts or the Legislature.