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Saturday, October 20, 2018
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ADA Drive-By Lawsuits

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You know a topic is relevant when “60 Minutes” runs a story on the topic. Their program titled “Drive-By Lawsuits” that aired in early December explained how the Americans with Disabilities Act has resulted in hundreds if not thousands of lawsuits where individuals have filed complaints against businesses not as actual customers, but based solely on a drive-by of the property or worse yet, by viewing the property on Google Maps and basing a claim on what is seen only from the computer screen.

Yet the way the law is written, if there is a violation (which there commonly is, even if it is just a technical violation) a lawsuit can be brought and the plaintiff is entitled to recover its attorneys’ fees for bringing the action. Because of this right, many law firms will bring multiple cases filed on behalf of one or more individual plaintiffs, a practice called “serial filing”. As the TV show explained, there was one case involving pool lifts where one lawyer filed approximately 60 cases in only 57 days.

These cases are certainly resulting in more scrutiny and the courts are beginning to challenge the legitimacy of some of these mass-filed cases. Although the plaintiffs may have identified technical violations of the Act as part of their lawsuits, the Courts have begun to look at the plaintiff’s actual injuries because of the violation as well as the plaintiff’s status as a true customer to determine if it had valid standing to file the action. Further, as the TV show explained, even some of the lawyers who have brought these actions are subject to investigation. Some have even been sued by their clients based on false promises regarding what the plaintiffs would be paid or what would happen if they helped to file the lawsuits.

But these obstacles to these ADA lawsuits are limited and therefore many landlords remain susceptible to these actions. Certainly, self storage operators are not immune from potential liability under the ADA because self storage facilities are identified as “public accommodations” under the law which means that they must remove barriers to entry for disabled customers when it is “readily achievable” to do so.

Recent amendments to the law have added storage roll up doors to the list of items that must be accessible to the disabled as well. The ADA includes space accessibility "scoping requirements" that apply specifically to self storage buildings and their doors. The storage space regulations require that storage unit doors be accessible as follows: 5% if less than 200 units, 10 units + 2% if more than 200, dispersed among the different "classes” of spaces provided. Since the term “classes” is undefined, it means either the size of a unit or the type of unit (i.e. climate controlled). If there are more classes than the number of accessible units that are required, operators do not need to have additional accessible units just to have one in each class.

Operators of public business must consider auditing their properties for compliance and acting to remedy their violations before they are sued under this law. Once sued, the property owner risks significant financial and public exposure to its business. Something that could be avoided by implementing a policy to remove barriers to entry or use that are financially reasonable for the business to fix.

| Categories: Legal | Tags: Legal, ADA, Self Storage Lawsuits | View Count: (2237) | Return

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SSA To Add Veteran and Young Leader Non-Voting Seats To Board of Directors

March 15, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact:
Tom Comi
Director of Communications,
Self Storage Association 
tcomi@selfstorage.org

ALEXANDRIA, VA — The Self Storage Association today announced the addition of two ex officio (non-voting) positions to the Board of Directors: the Industry Veteran Advisor s eat and the Industry Young Leader Apprentice seat.

The purpose of the former—which will be filled by Extra Space founder Ken Woolley—is to retain and appreciate experienced veteran industry knowledge and leadership. The second seat —filled by John Lindsey of the SSA Young Leaders Group and Lindsey Self Storage Group —is to recognize young industry initiative and to encourage participation in the Association.

Woolley and Lindsey, who were chosen by a vote by the SSA Board of Directors, will participate in every way as elected board members, although they will not vote on matters. Currently, the SSA p resident & CEO (Tim Dietz) and General Counsel (Carlos Kaslow) are also ex officio board members.

“The leadership of the SSA is excited to ensure that these two important segments of our membership will be involved in our activities moving forward,” Dietz said. “ Specifically Ken Woolley, who joined the SSA in 1977, brings a tremendous legacy of both small -business and public company knowledge to the boardroom. His participation is very much appreciated."

Dietz continued, “We are also happy to welcome John Lindsey, who over the past few years has been instrumental in the reconstitution of the Young Leaders Group (YLG), the fastest -growing subsection of our association, and demonstrated tremendous support of the SSA over the years. We l ook forward to the energy and skills that John will add this year.”

About the Self Storage Association (SSA) The SSA is the premier national not -for -profit trade organization for the industry and the registered lobbying organization before the U.S. Congress and federal agencies. SSA is official voice of the $24 billion (revenues) self storage industry that currently numbers 48,500 self storage facilities nationwide. The SSA directly represents some 5,500 direct and indirect member companies that own and operate some 22,000 self storage facilities throughout the U.S. The SSA is affiliated with 40 state and regional associations in the U.S. and several international associations. SSA members range from individual facility owner-operators to multiple-facility companies, to vendors, to large publicly traded firms and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). SSA was founded in 1975 and is incorporated in the State of Virginia as a (501-c-6) not-for-profit corporation; headquarters offices are located in Alexa ndria, VA. For more information about the national Self Storage Association, please visit our Web site at www.selfstorage.org.

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