PHOENIX - Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced a serial litigant organization will soon be permanently barred from filing frivolous disability lawsuits against Arizona businesses. The settlement comes after Judge David M. Talamante dismissed more than 1,000 lawsuits filed by Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities (“AID”). Under the settlement, AID agrees to a number of significant concessions, including:
- AID will drop their appeal of the order dismissing the Consolidated Cases for lack of standing, thereby ending these lawsuits (other than any fee requests);
- AID, their affiliates, and successors will be permanently enjoined from filing any new actions in Arizona State Courts alleging violations of either the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) or the Arizonans with Disabilities Act (“AzDA”);
- AID LLC and AID Foundation have agreed to have judgment entered against them for reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs in each consolidated case in which they were a party; and
- Plaintiffs will pay $25,000 to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, which will be used to educate businesses regarding ADA/AzDA compliance and create a fund to which businesses can apply to help pay for ADA/AzDA parking lot compliance measures.
The settlement will allow small businesses to seek an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs based on AID’s conduct.
“Today’s settlement is a victory for Arizona consumers and small businesses,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Arizona is not going to tolerate serial litigants who try to shake down small hardworking businesses by exploiting the disability community.”
The settlement resolves the Arizona Attorney General’s Office request for sanctions against AID and must be approved by Judge Talamante. Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities (“AID”) flooded state courts with more than 1,700 lawsuits against Valley businesses in 2016. The copy-and-paste lawsuits alleged that businesses’ parking lots did not comply with regulations related to persons with disabilities. Many of the issues were minor and easily fixable, but the lawsuits sought thousands of dollars in damages and attorneys’ fees.
This case was handled by Matthew du Mee, Unit Chief Counsel of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office Consumer Litigation Unit and Deputy Division Chief Brunn “Beau” Roysden III.