Hanford restaurant owner hit with second lawsuit over ADA compliance

HANFORD, Calif. (KFSN) -- Just when he thought he was in the clear a Hanford restaurant owner was hit with a second lawsuit over access for the disabled. At Mike's Grill in Hanford the only thing hotter than what's on the menu is a headline on the counter.

Michael Murrietta is the owner and a second-time defendant in a lawsuit filed by Jose Escobedo under the American's with Disabilities Act.

"Been putting in 60 to 80 hours a week for a couple decades and I still can't get ahead."

According to the lawsuit, Escobedo is a disabled man with a limited ability to walk who had a difficult lunch at the restaurant in April. He claims it was tough to get inside, the designated table didn't have enough room for his feet, the bathroom door was too quick to close, and the toilet paper dispenser was hard to reach.

Murrietta is questioning Escobedo's motives because the attorney representing him is Tanya Moore-- the same attorney who filed a slew of lawsuits against businesses in the city last year, Mike's Grill included.

"It seems to me that they just want to get paid and I don't think it's a big secret to anyone, but they're allowed to do it."

He settled the first case outside of court and moved the restaurant a mile north. Candy Bertaina remains one of the countless loyal customers, showing up routinely for support.

"I was very upset, they just moved here into a much better location."

Bertaina's also with the Chamber of Commerce which has hosted ADA compliance workshops to help create awareness.

"Well they certainly need to be aware of it, that's for sure."

At this point, Murrietta said he's looking at $4,000 per violation.

"It's still a struggle here, numbers are better but the bills are bigger."

It'll cost more money to fight back so he plans to settle, once again, and move on.

"We don't have any option, I can't lay down, I have people that depend on me."
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