FRESNO, Calif. - Restaurant Colorado Grill in Northeast Fresno has handicap accessible parking spaces and a ramp but recently it was hit with a lawsuit over its doors.
"The person when she was opening the front door, the front door was a little bit heavier than it should," said Ali Nekumanesh.
Business partner Nekumanesh says he is frustrated with the wave of lawsuits targeting local businesses.
Since 2009, one Bay Area law firm has filed 1,400 lawsuits in the Valley. Central Valley agencies and experts are now coming together to help businesses before they are sued. Recently at Central Valley score, they listened to what can trigger a lawsuit.
"There's no fine, so it's truly the only way A.D.A. is enforced through litigation. The most common is I'll deal with is parking lots because it's the most visible--so your signage, your slope of the parking stall, the striping, the color of the stripe, how long the stall is," said Rachelle Golden.
Attorney Golden suggests people invest in the certified access specialist or a casp inspection to show you what changes you need. She says it will save you from the high costs of paying court fees. A.D.A. advocates say it is important to make these changes.
"Accessibility isn't an added cost it's not a nuisance it's just the way we do business," said Mulhall.
The City of Fresno has just launched the accessible Fresno small business initiative to help businesses take proactive steps while learning how to pay for it. As for he says this lawsuit could cost him thousands of dollars, but thankfully he has attorneys, unlike other small businesses--costs that he says can put some out of work.
"Today what we have on the books doesn't make sense. It's predatory, it's punishing and it's threatening the life of the small businesses and the employees which they support," said Nekumanesh.
Another workshop will be held in January. Advocates believe this training could help businesses gain the knowledge they need, so they can prevent costly lawsuits in the future and serve customers of all abilities.