Arizona Attorney General Secures Dismissal Of 1,700 Lawsuits By Serial Plaintiffs.

 
FREE EXCERPT

Seyfarth Synopsis: A state court has granted the Arizona Attorney General's Motion To Dismiss approximately 1,700 Arizona access lawsuits on grounds that the organizational and individual plaintiffs lacked standing to sue.

As we previously reported here, the Arizona Attorney General responded to a surge of approximately 1,700 access suits filed in that state's courts by moving to consolidate, to intervene in, and to dismiss all of such actions initiated by self-styled disability rights advocacy groups, including Advocates for Individuals With Disabilities Foundation ("AIDF") and David Ritzenthaler. According to a recent communication from the Arizona AG's office describing his court appearance on February 17, 2017, the Arizona trial court judge on that date orally granted the AG's motion to dismiss virtually all of the consolidated cases with prejudice and directed the AG to submit a proposed form of judgment.

There currently is no written decision laying out the Court's reasoning for its decision, so it is not clear which of the AG's arguments persuaded the court to issue this decision. The AG's Motion to Dismiss challenged both the individual's (Ritzenthaler's) and AIDF's standing to bring claims under what the AG described as the "rigorous" standing requirements of Arizona law. The AG presented several arguments about how the Plaintiffs failed to meet these requirements. First, the AG argued that the Plaintiffs failed to allege that they patronized the businesses that they sued. Second, the AG asserted that the Plaintiffs failed to allege an actual barrier to their access. The AG noted that the state accessibility law violations identified in the consolidated complaints concern accessible parking signage, but that plaintiffs "assume that every instance of non-compliance with ADA or AZDA regulation, no matter how minor, represents a 'barrier.'" The AG then stated that "not all instances of ADA or AZDA non-compliance are barriers, and not all barriers deny access to all persons with disabilities." Third, the AG asserted that Plaintiffs' claims were insufficient because they failed to sufficiently allege denial of access based upon their particular, identified disability. Fourth, the AG argued that Arizona does not recognize a "deterrence" theory of standing, which conceivably might overcome other failures in the complaint. Fifth, the AG argued that the consolidated plaintiffs fail...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP