Yesterday on the Peter Schiff Show I made brief mention of the fate of Ford’s Hamburgers in Sacramento, California. The last straw that forced the owner to close down was a lawsuit demanding that his counters be made compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a piece of legislation signed by George H.W. Bush (remember him, from the party of small government?). The counters were too high. Jerry Sylvia, a longtime customer and disabled from the waist down, said of the lawsuit: “It’s all a bunch of crap. They were the first ones to help you. They’d bring it out to my van when it was ready.”
These lawsuits, Sylvia said, are likely to incite hostility toward the disabled. “I feel like people are looking at me, ‘Uh-oh, here comes another handicapped person, what do they want?’ That’s my biggest fear.”
A gentleman who needs to remain anonymous heard the segment yesterday and wrote to share his own horror story:
First, a giant thanks for all you do. I’ve been a fan of yours since I came across Meltdown a couple of years ago. I have also been following Peter Schiff and I am always excited to listen when you host Peter’s show.
What inspired me to write was your brief segment today on the restaurant that was closing because of ADA compliance issues. I am a restaurant owner and went through the same thing two years ago. It was a shakedown that ended up costing $200k when all was said and done. The wonderful plaintiff and his lawyer do this all over town and the media act as if they are brave heroes out fighting the good fight against businesses that hate the handicapped. The plaintiff even consults with cities on ordinances and laws, and they turn around and sue the cities that fail to fall into compliance.
The reality, as you know, is that we try to serve as many people as best we can and be accessible to all. A customer is a customer, and to make payroll I’d do anything to ensure that we can get as many people of all shapes, types and sizes to get through that door and pay us for our services. The technicality that was worth $200k at our restaurant was that the handicapped parking space was a 3% grade in one corner, above the 2% grade allowed. This of course caused the plaintiff to injure his shoulder. This “injury” made the plaintiff feel he was entitled to what was ultimately one of my managers’ jobs and the only savings I had worked tireless hours to build up over the past seven years. Of course, one of the contingencies of me settling with the plaintiff to avoid the half million legal costs of going to court was a gag order that doesn’t let me respond to all the positive media about this wonderful crusader for the handicapped.
I could ramble on forever about this but that wasn’t the point. I just wanted to relay to you how grateful I am that somebody like you is out there telling these stories on our behalf. I read and listen to you to learn about many different topics, but I just wanted to make sure to express my gratitude for taking that minute to share about the ADA issue that often gets ignored.