Having just finished your article about the bottom-feeding member of society and the worse-than-bottom-feeding, so-called attorney, I feel compelled to write – especially considering the closure of The Barnwood restaurant in Ripon, another victim of similar tactics. I have great respect for the Americans with Disabilities Act, and what it has done for those who are disabled and need help. When our business was downtown, everything was on one level and designed that way to assist those in wheelchairs or walkers. We met, followed or exceeded every guideline when constructing our restaurant in 1997.
But when an attorney takes on a client whose sole purpose is to exploit the businesses, and the “client” has never stepped foot inside the business, then that is crossing the line. The courts need to take a good, hard look at not only the frivolous lawsuit taking place, but the track records of the so-called “client” and the so-called attorney. Such attorneys are in the same category as ambulance chasers.
Jeff Morey, Modesto
Lawsuits needed to protect disabled
Re “Taking a stand v. taking advantage: Arizonan hunts businesses” (Page A1, Aug. 24): Your article on disability lawsuits omits several important points. First, in all the cases you mentioned, the businesses were in violation of law – these lawsuits were not fraudulent or frivolous. Second, for a penalty to work, it must be well in excess of the cost of complying. Otherwise, the business would not have much incentive to comply. Third, every settled lawsuit has a beneficial ripple effect, as the word gets around and the business owner’s friends and colleagues scramble to bring their premises into disability-access compliance to avoid a similar suit. The Bee article has this same effect. So while the harshness of some penalties might need to be changed, the law is basically working as it should to protect the disabled.
David Froba, retired attorney, Modesto
Many buildings not in compliance
Recently, I arrived at the Social Security office on Carpenter Road for an appointment. As I got out of the car, I noticed a severely disabled young woman on a scooter trying desperately to gain entry. There were no automatic door controls on the outside. And if she was fortunate enough to make it through the first doorway, she would have had to figure a way through the second set of doors. This was a shocking revelation to me as most everyone who comes here is either aged or disabled. One would expect a government building to be compliant with the law.
Annette Riley, Modesto
Why report old crimes?
Well, it’s just the blind leading the blind again. I have no sympathy for Robert McCarthy, being that he is a pedophile. But when The Bee runs the story to attack the person on a totally unrelated issue of lawsuits being filed on handicap parking in Modesto – come on, it’s time to get your priorities straightened out. It’s always the small (minority) stores that should be overlooked. If I don’t comply in my car with the safety-belt law, guess what? Ignorance is not an excuse in the eyes of the law. I’ve seen some shoddy performances by this so-called “paper,” but this one takes the cake.
John Ahlstrand, Ceres