We are deeply concerned about a fixture in the high desert community of Hesperia for the past 35 years: Casa Delicias. Located on the I-15 Corridor as you head north out of San Bernardino, the small family owned mexican restaurant in Hesperia sued for ADA violations may not survive. Like many in the recent rash of ADA lawsuits filed by a small number of plaintiffs, the restaurant owners were served papers after a customer claims to have “experienced distress” over a “faded handicapped logo in the handicapped parking space.”
Obviously emotionally upset by the incident the restaurant’s owners tearfully apologized to the customer for not being ADA compliant. They promised to bring the store into compliance as soon as possible. However, the court costs, plaintiff’s legal fees of $10,000, defense costs and a minimum fine of $4,000 in the case (totaling more than $30,000) would close the 35 year old business forever. Documents filed in the lawsuit allege that the customer (the plaintiff in the case) visited the restaurant early last year and found there was a handicap sign positioned in front of a parking space on a pole, however, the blue handicap logo on the space had either been “paved over or been allowed to fade into oblivion.” The lawsuit alleges the “inaccessible space” denied the handicapped plaintiff “full and equal access” to the store and “caused him difficulty and frustration.” The customer was not served at the counter, but the documents also noted that the counter is 40″ in height and there is not the lowered portion for wheelchair access required by law.
This case highlights the concern we’ve been communicating to our clients and to the San Diego business community. This example is a small family-owned Mexican restaurant in Hesperia sued for ADA violations that may be forced to close.
The Watkins Firm fully respects the Americans with Disabilities Act and the noble purpose it serves to ensure all members of our community have equal access to public businesses, services and amenities. We also understand that the number of ADA related lawsuits against California and San Diego businesses has skyrocketed over the past 3 years. Protect yourself. If you own a business in San Diego, no matter how small or old, you must come into compliance with ADA regulations or face the fate of the family in Hesperia. We invite you to contact us at 858-535-1511 to learn more about ADA compliance or if you have been served with an ADA related lawsuit.
The owner, Margarita Olvera noted “Special needs people are close to our heart — we even have them in our family and only God knows how we’ll end up in the future.”