What is “readily achievable” under the ADA? This brief column discusses requirements for pre-1993 facilities under the American Disabilities Act, Title III, regulating physical barrier removal in commercial venues and places of public accommodation. Contact Bernhard Law Firm PLLC if you have any questions about ADA compliance or litigation (786-871-3349, abernhard@bernhardlawfirm, www.bernhardlawfirm.com)
Title III of the ADA provides that no individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in a place of public accommodation. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a). The ADA significantly limits its application to “readily achievable” barrier removal for those facilities constructed before January 26, 1993. 42 U.S.C. §§ 12182(b)(2)(A)(iv) and 12183(a)(1).
The term “readily achievable” means easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. 42 U.S.C. § 12181(9). In determining whether an action is readily achievable, “Plaintiff bears the initial burden of production to present evidence that a suggested method of barrier removal is readily achievable, i.e., can be accomplished easily and without much difficulty or expense.” Colorado Cross Disability Coalition v. Hermanson Family Ltd. Partnership I, 264 F.3d 999, 1005–06 (10th Cir. 2001). Factors to be considered include: (1) the nature and cost of the action needed; (2) the overall financial resources of the site, the number of persons employed there, the effect on expenses and resources, and the impact of the removal on operations; (3) the relationship to any parent corporation. 42 U.S.C. § 12181(9). Statutory examples of readily achievable barrier removal include rearranging tables and chairs, repositioning items, marking entrances, and adding signage. 28 C.F.R. § 36.304(b).
Where the Court examines the record evidence and argument and concludes that the plaintiff seeks modifications that could improve the facilities and enhance the comfort of their disabled persons, but that an ADA defendant has no obligation to make and has no basis in law, the Court must hold that the plaintiff has not demonstrated a violation of law entitling him to injunctive relief. See Access Now, Inc. v. So. Fla. Stadium Corp., 161 F. Supp. 2d 1357, 1371 (S.D. Fla. 2001) (entering judgment against ADA plaintiff complaining of parking and bathroom violations where plaintiff failed to show that barrier removal was readily achievable).
Contact Bernhard Law Firm PLLC if you have any questions about ADA compliance or litigation (786-871-3349, abernhard@bernhardlawfirm, www.bernhardlawfirm.com).