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ADA Lawsuit Targets 5 Rosemont Plaza Businesses

Straw Hat Pizza, Peking Village Chinese Restaurant and three salons are being sued in federal court.

Five Rosemont Plaza businesses could be forced to pay thousands of dollars in damages to a prominent lawyer who says they're violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Scott Johnson, a Carmichael-based attorney well-known for filing ADA lawsuits, filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against , , , and .

The lawsuit says the five Kiefer Boulevard businesses don't have fully accessible restrooms, the correct number and type of disabled parking spaces and accessible entrances. It also says the counter and pizza buffet in Straw Hat are not at the correct height.

"You go into this restaurant to eat and I need to use the restroom–I can't use it," Johnson said by phone. "It's extremely frustrating."

When this lawsuit was mentioned over the weekend on the Rosemont Neighborhood Watch Facebook group, users called it a "scam" and derided Johnson for filing it.

Johnson, who is quadriplegic and relies on a service dog, said if it were up to him, ADA laws would be enforced by an outside body and there wouldn't be any lawsuits.

"The number of lawsuits I like to use is zero," he said. "If somebody contacts me and says, 'We cant afford to fix this right now,' I can work with them and develop a plan. Let's fix the things you can fix now and make a long term plan for the things that are in place."

Johnson's lawsuit states he sent letters both to Straw Hat Pizza and the Los Altos-based owners of Rosemont Plaza, asking them to fix the accessibility issues, but never heard back.

Straw Hat Pizza owner Masoud Soudani, who is named in the lawsuit, could not be reached at the time of this posting. A call to Vintage Realty, which owns the plaza, has not yet been returned.

Johnson's lawsuit asks for the minimum amount of damages that can be given in ADA lawsuits: $4,000 per violation. He said he doesn't want to create a hardship on any business owner, and only asks for improvements that are "readily achievable."

"If it's going to put them out of business, they don't have to do it," he said. "That's why I've never put anybody out of business."

Johnson said he also wished property owners could be held accountable for improvements, because often neither the property owner nor the business owners wants to make the needed upgrades.

"It'd be nice if congress said property owners are responsible, period," Johnson said. "Then you've got the people with the wherewithal to fix the properties."

He said business owners shouldn't stay in a location where they have a landlord who isn't helpful.

"If you're a business operator and you've got a lousy landlord who's not willing to work with you, hey, relocate to an accessible location."

Johnson said he doesn't keep track of how many lawsuits he files, but on the same day he sued the Rosemont businesses, he also filed suits against a bank and restaurant in Gold River, an electronics store in south Sacramento, a Fairfield veterinarian and a Payless Shoe Source in Vacaville.

Check back for more information as it becomes available.

Brad November 02, 2011 at 11:31 PM
But that would make way too much sense. Things like that just don't happen in this Universe, you should know that!
Jonathan Beachum December 08, 2011 at 04:34 PM
I read these articles all the time and they’re all the same. No one knew they were out of compliance yet by now most business owners are aware of these lawsuits yet take no action to protect their livelihood. There are many companies like mine that inspect business and help them become compliant with the laws to avoid these problems yet over 90% of our clients have lawsuits pending. Why do business owners wait? We do basic parking lot inspection for $250, most striping jobs are under $1,200 and these lawsuit settlements average $4,000-$6,000. Better to put the money into your business than give it to attorneys. (www.adahelpforum.com)
Denise December 08, 2011 at 06:43 PM
I spoke to them, at Sylvia's Nails, and they're so worried and upset. English is not their first language, so they had one of their customers write a response letter. They haven't been given the opportunity to get it right, and when they tried to enlist ADA attorneys, they were told just to pay as it's not going to be fiscally a good idea to fight it. But that is a lot of money for them, as they do not bring in a lot of money and business is very slow right now. I don't specialize in ADA, but maybe someone out there does. Will it materially affect the lawsuit if they fix the problems? If so, then they could hire Jonathan or someone like him to determine what they need I for one am totally willing to volunteer to go in and help put up rails or a high sink or whatever it takes to get them compliant.
dale February 15, 2012 at 06:29 AM
He came up to Foresthill and left letters to two businesses I know of.One is a small coffee shop and barely making a go of it.She may have to close shop and lay off her employees.It may cost the owner $1200 to hire an architect to tell her whats needed to compy.I am surprised this blodd sucker is still alive.
Padraig Laughlin August 05, 2013 at 07:36 PM
Straw Hat on Kiefer is Closed over a year now."out of business " the blood sucker strikes again all delivery drivers cooks all out of work. I worked at that location back in late 80's Old construction standards about the only way to fix the bathrooms would be to gut them and style them after a hospital restroom not gender specific but thats a mute point now customer base is gone

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