Glenn Mao, the owner of , didn’t think much when Marshall Loskot came in to the restaurant and ordered something to eat.
Loskot, a quadriplegic, was just like any other customer Mao had seen. He stayed for about a half hour and then asked to use the bathroom. Then he left and only returned a few more times.
Shortly after, Mao was served with a lawsuit by Loskot and his lawyer, Thomas Frankovich, for failing to provide adequate handicapped access under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Over the last decade or so, Frankovich and his clients, such as Loskot, have made it a practice to sue businesses, especially small ones. An SF Weekly story estimated that, as of 2007, Frankovich had made more than $10 million just from the ADA lawsuits.
Mao said he paid nearly $40,000 to make improvements to his restaurant’s bathroom and front door, which weren’t in compliance with ADA rules.
But he’s concerned about the number of other small businesses across the Peninsula that have become targets of the ADA lawsuits.
“Nobody can take a hit like this,” Mao said of the lawsuits, “especially when people are trying to keep a family business going.”
In San Bruno alone, Loskot has already sued the , —along with London Fish & Chips, their buildings are all owned by the same person— and a hotel. More than 60 other businesses have been sued as well.
Mao and many other critics of the lawsuits say they don’t disagree that businesses should comply with ADA regulations. But it appears that the lawsuits are unfairly taking advantage of business owners.
“He’s not trying to make me comply,” Mao said about Frankovich. “He’s using (the lawsuits) for his convenience more like a crusade. He’s asking for money, and he thinks he’s doing good for the wheelchair community.”
What do you think? Are these ADA lawsuits unfairly targeting hardworking small business owners? Or should business owners, no matter how old is their business, be more responsible?