Strip mall property owners settle ADA violations

(STL.News) – The owners of several Houston-area properties have settled allegations under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to remove barriers and greatly improve physical accessibility, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

The announcement comes as the nation commemorates the 30th anniversary of the passage of the ADA on July 26.

Under the ADA, persons with disabilities shall be afforded the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations equal to that afforded to other individuals.  Title III mandates that no individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of a disability by any person who owns, leases or operates a place of public accommodation.

Strip shopping centers are places of public accommodation.  As such, the owners are subject to Title III requirements.

To date, five such property owners have entered into settlements to remedy all violations the United States has identified and bring them into compliance with the ADA.  Those include 11120-A North Freeway which Hana Assets Ltd. owns as well as the SS Village LLC-owned properties known as Fondren Southwest Village-East and Fondren Southwest Village-West.  These actions add to the two other previous announcements regarding 5101 Bingle and 10092 Veterans Memorial Dr.

Investigators continue to conduct on-site inspections to evaluate compliance with the ADA.  Those found to be in violation have the option of entering into voluntary settlement agreements in which they agree to modify their property to meet ADA requirements. Property owners who refuse to do so could face a civil lawsuit.

The United States Attorney is authorized to commence a civil action when there is a belief discrimination exists, seeking full compliance with the ADA, including requiring the owners and operators of places of public accommodations to remedy the violations and pay civil monetary penalties.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Keith Edward Wyatt and Annalisa Cravens are handling the matters with the assistance of Paralegal Specialist Raymond Babauta.

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