We love to share our victories and the lessons we learn along the way with you all- and this story may be one of our proudest moments. We were called by an attorney working for a big box store. They had been sued for an ADA architectural barrier-discrimination case. We were able to get a copy of the claim and also the plaintiffs deposition.
Our first step was to go to the site and do an inspection. While there, we were able to identify the area in question. The display case was set up to create an architectural barrier. This particular case stuck out from the wall more than 4 inches and was higher than 27 inches off the ground.
This seems like bad news for the defendant since the barrier in question did in fact exist.
However, when we reviewed the case- we read that the disability the plaintiff faced was a mobility issue. The section of the California Building Code they were trying to make a claim under is written to protect the blind. Section 11B-307: protruding objects is written to protect someone who is blind or has low vision and walks with a cane from walking into something. If the object is less than 27 inches off the ground, it would be detected by the cane and the person would know to walk around it.
In our report and deposition, we were able to explain the code section and the intent behind it and why even though it was an architectural barrier that exists, it was not relevant to this case because the plaintiff was not blind or low vision. After our deposition, the ADA portion of the case was dropped and the entire issue was settled for less than $100,000 when the original suit was for $1.2 million.