News

Dutch Goose racing to finish ADA improvements

Menlo Park restaurant one of several businesses sued by disabled man

By Elena Kadvany and Sandy Brundage

Businesses up and down the Peninsula are getting to know one customer by name. A San Jose resident has filed lawsuits for alleged violations of the American Disabilities Act against at least six businesses during the past two-and-a-half years.

Gerardo Hernandez settled the suit he filed against the Dutch Goose restaurant in West Menlo Park for $64,000, plus the restaurant's agreement to make a laundry list of changes to its site to improve accessibility by March 31, according to federal court records.

The suit, filed in 2013 and settled nearly a year later, said that as a paraplegic, Mr. Hernandez found the designated disabled parking places in front of the restaurant "dangerously configured and constructed" and the access ramp too steep. Tables were not high enough to accommodate his wheelchair underneath, and the bathrooms weren't accessible at all, according to the filing.

Represented by attorneys from the Law Offices of Paul L. Rein, which specializes in disability litigation, Mr. Hernandez has also sued Taqueria El Grullense, Dairy Queen, Ross Stores, Round Table Pizza and, most recently, in December, Canada College and Canyon Inn. Settlements in the closed cases range from $10,000 to $53,000, based on court filings.

Mr. Hernandez's attorneys were not immediately available for comment.

In the case of the Dutch Goose, owner Greg Stern confirmed that the restaurant is in the process of making the required changes by the deadline, including converting half of the kitchen to an ADA-compliant bathroom, designating disabled parking spaces in back of the property, and raising tables.

"It hurts because insurance doesn't cover ADA unfortunately. There's just too much liability out there," Mr. Stern said. Having to pay out of pocket is having a huge impact on small businesses, he explained.

"When you're sued like this -- lawyers, improvements, settlement -- it's worth a million bucks," he said. "It's really just crippling. It just really hurts business. Again, we're all for ADA. It's a great thing to be accessible, but there's gotta be a better way to do it over time rather than overnight."

He said that San Mateo County had signed off on the restaurant previously, but the ADA "rules are so hard to follow."

The Dutch Goose, located at 3567 Alameda de las Pulgas, will likely shut down on April 1 to "tie together the improvements," with the goal of reopening in May, according to Mr. Stern.

Comments

27 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 6, 2015 at 12:02 pm

A disgraceful lawsuit, but sadly par for the course in modern times. It's amazing that any small businessmen are able to continue to operate around here.


25 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Mar 6, 2015 at 12:24 pm

Hopefully customers will come back in droves to see the new and improved Dutch Goose and Mr. Stern can reserve the right to refuse service to Gerardo Hernandez, leaving him out of a very special part of Menlo Park culture!


15 people like this
Posted by MP
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 6, 2015 at 12:32 pm

This man is a San Jose resident. Why does he care about what goes on at the Dutch Goose? This article doesn't say he is a regular customer of the Dutch Goose.


18 people like this
Posted by ANGRY IN ATHERTON
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 6, 2015 at 1:00 pm

A complete scam and travesty for the local people who have been enjoying the Goose for generations…..it makes me wonder how any small business will survive going forward. I am sympathetic to Mr. Hernandez for his disability, but why not take "the high road" and address this issue, out of court, with the owner…..no law suit and behaving like an adult - the person I'm sure your parents raised to have high morals and sound judgement.


15 people like this
Posted by Scholar
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 6, 2015 at 1:01 pm

One or two of these a year and the plaintiff won't need to have a job.


20 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 6, 2015 at 2:27 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

"why not take "the high road" and address this issue, out of court, with the owner"

because it's essentially a money making scam. This guy and lawyers like him go all over the state extorting money from small businesses. They find a non-compliant building and sue the owner under the ADA and then offer to go away if the owner "settles." Usually for thousands of dollars that a small business can ill afford.

It's essentially legalized extortion and Mr. Hernandez [portion removed; keep it civil]. This is how he and his attorneys make their living.


15 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 6, 2015 at 2:53 pm

pogo is a registered user.

"one or two a year..." We wish.

Many of these plaintiffs file multiple lawsuits EVERY SINGLE DAY.

This is one of the biggest scams going on in California. And it has nothing to do with making the businesses compliant. It has everything to do with shaking down the business owner for money. In most cases, the plaintiffs don't even want the remedies implemented - they want the MONEY.

Web Link


15 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 6, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Menlo Voter is absolutely right - this is a scam.

Web Link

ADA enforcement can and should done by local code enforcement offices - that what we pay our tax dollars for!

If local code enforcement staff do not do their job and businesses choose to skirt the law people like the above will exploit the situation. In California alone they have forced hundreds if not thousands of small businesses to permanently close their doors.


13 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 6, 2015 at 3:07 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

There should be an exemption from ADA for places like the Dutch Goose, Canyon Inn, Alpine Inn. etc. where any remodeling is in keeping with the historic character. ADA should be used mostly for taxpayer funded buildings and infrastructure and corporations who take advantage of government protections from liability. Sole proprietorships and Partnerships should be exempt. Unique services and facilities provided by entrepreneurs should be encouraged, not shackled by ADA.
...That government is best which governs least. Thoreau.


13 people like this
Posted by Reality check
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 6, 2015 at 3:18 pm

Why is a person allowed to sue for a personal pay out for ADA compliance? The only settlement/ruling/result should be ADA compliance/updates, if thats the reason for the lawsuit. Maybe some state fund can provide all necessary funds for ADA compliance upgrades? Is every hike in Yosemite ADA complaint? There are some places some people just can't go and some things that can't be fixed as they currently exist.


12 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 6, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Another sad case is Higuma in Redwood City. That is a restaurant which already was crammed into a very small space in what used to be an old house on El Camino. Now it probably has 40% of the floor area converted into an ADA compliant restroom. It is a terrible shame to see.

I am sympathetic to the plight of the wheelchair-bound but there seems to be a tremendous injustice in the exorbitant and excessive repairs required.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 6, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

When the Fire District leased one of the empty auto dealerships on ECR to use as a temporary fire station the City of Menlo Park demanded that the Fire District make $400,000 of improvements so that the temporary fire station would be ADA compliant.

Needless to say the Fire Board declined to proceed with the temporary station.


5 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 6, 2015 at 4:15 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Same thing happened to the Sequoia Healthcare District on whose Board I serve. We partitioned some space to create a CPR classroom, and had to update for ADA compliance.


4 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 6, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

From Wikipedia: On August 24, 1963, Khrushchev remarked in his speech in Yugoslavia, "I once said, 'We will bury you,' and I got into trouble with it. Of course we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you"


6 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 6, 2015 at 4:33 pm

pogo is a registered user.

This law was specifically written to provide "damages" to the plaintiffs. Businesses hate it; trial lawyers love it. It is nothing short of a scam.

I disagree with Mr. Hickey that "ADA should be used mostly for taxpayer funded buildings and infrastructure and corporations who take advantage of government protections from liability." In my humble opinion, with the exception of historic buildings, all public buildings should be ADA compliant PROVIDED that they can be modified when major modifications (some threshold percentage of value) are made. That would allow business owners to operate in the current form unless they do major remodeling. People in wheelchairs have as much right to go to a restaurant as anyone else... provided it is a reasonable accommodation.

And I agree with Mr. Carpenter that this is the job of code enforcement officials, not private parties.


7 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Mar 6, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Robert is a registered user.

I have had on/off disabilities. I have never, and I mean never, thought for a second to go after the establishment. I agree with those who say he is a troll. I think worse is there does not seem to be any recourse in this. If he is not visiting and I am or people who have disabilities are - and we are just fine with it - then it should be dismissed. I know that is easier said then done, but I am glad they published his name. Mr. Hernandez I hope that $64k buys you all the happiness in the world.


6 people like this
Posted by gordyvon
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Mar 6, 2015 at 4:47 pm

Reminds me of the travails of Clint Eastwood at his Mission Ranch in Carmel years back. He had the capital to defeat that suit and send the money-hungry client and his equally reprehensible lawyer running for the hills. The average small businessman is operating on a small margin and most likely unable to withstand the ensuing legal and financial torture. The law needs to be amended... fast.


5 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 6, 2015 at 4:49 pm

As a professional in this industry, I can tell you that code enforcement officials are just as scared of ADA litigation as business owners are. Cities get sued all the time by these bottom feeders so they are endlessly pushing ADA compliance before all else in case it comes to bite them in their back side (where those bottom-feeders feed from). So don't look to the City, march on Washington and don't let people think by challenging ADA, you're not compassionate about real people with real disabilities.


Like this comment
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 6, 2015 at 5:27 pm

pogo is a registered user.

If you are really interested in the ADA lawsuit abuse, please see this link. It's a news story about Scott Johnson, the notorious ADA lawsuit abuser from Sacramento's ABC News 10. He has filed more than 2,200 lawsuits - it is his primary business.

Web Link


15 people like this
Posted by Don't Shoot the Messenger
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 6, 2015 at 9:15 pm

The phenomenon of the “ADA serial plaintiff” and “ADA sheriff” have been around for many years now and the Sacramento Bee, SF Chronicle and other news outlets have covered the subject in depth. Searching the above terms will bring up several articles and will identify the worst repeat offenders. The most infamous, egregious and offensive are those who allege to have visited dozens of businesses in one day and then in allege in complaints to have experienced similar injuries and violations using boilerplate language that focus on “technical” violations of one sort or another (e.g. a mirror too high, etc…). However the story does not end there – and if the comments and likes above are representative of the public as a whole (hint: they are) it should be easy to see that those attitudes remain squarely on the small business owner side of this issue. A few words on the law seem to be in order however, to address some of the comments above.

Judges possess and do use their sanction powers to curb the abuses and havoc brought by serial plaintiffs. Many, in fact most, will not hesitate to dismiss an ADA case when a valid defense based on the doctrine of standing is asserted, assessing for example if a person is likely to return from San Jose. In fact, the Northern District of California (local federal court here) has a General Order that requires all ADA cases to go through a detailed alternative dispute resolution process: site visit, measurements, offer – counter offer, before the case ever gets to the judge and before any formal discovery can be sought. Judge know who these characters are and they can't wait to boot them from the courtroom.

In addition California case law all but requires a prudent plaintiff’s lawyer to send a demand letter to a business before filing suit, or else risk the denial of an application for attorneys fees at the end of case. So the “high road” was likely taken but the disabled plaintiff was rebuffed at the pass. Powerful well-funded business lobbies have unsuccessfully tried to get the legislature to create a Notice requirement, that would give a business 90 days to correct a deficiency without penalty, but those efforts have not succeeded. Disability advocates argue that this gives the business a free pass unless and until someone complains, which is not consistent with the text or spirit of the ADA, which has been on the books for 25 years. California law and Title 24 have required accessibility improvements even longer than that, the business owners are already on notice of what is required.

The ADA, like many other civil rights statutes, relies on private enforcement. The DOJ and State AG pursue cases, but only in a limited capacity, and the laws are drafted to encourage affected individual to bring cases, and the fee statutes are in place so that a plaintiff can recover his/her fees if they prevail in the lawsuit. Only a few local governments have the resources to investigate and require compliance, I find it hard to believe that anyone signed off on “access” from the County.

The fact of the matter is that the ADA requires that private business owner know the law and to make changes to improve the accessibility of their establishment if such changes are readily achievable. This is a factual determination and a business will not need to make changes that result in an undue burden. The DOJ has easy to follow step-by-step checklists that business owners can use to do a self-assessment, instructing the business owner which items to tackle first if resources are limited. The Certified Access Specialist Program (CASP) has been set up by the State of California to give business owners the ability to check their facilities, and if they are in compliance, to post that assessment on the window of the business. Federal and state guidelines provide additional information to business owners. A restaurant owner needs to comply with these laws just like they need to comply with employment laws, or health and safety standards etc … disability regulations are no more complex than those areas.

While the local community loves the Dutch Goose (myself included) and it is steeped in tradition, the fact of the matter is that it was woefully inaccessible. The parking was too steep, the ramp in the back was no where near the required slope of 8.33%, there was no designated accessible seating area, the bathrooms door and dimensions far too small etc … and no, it is not a “historical building” which can be exempt from certain ADA requirements.

Also, the ADA does not permit damages. Those are only permitted by state law and they are statutory damages. $4,000 under the Unruh Act and $1,000 under California’s Disabled Persons Act, both of which still apply, although the violations under the Unruh Act need to be intentional. A plaintiff can get more if actually injured. A lawyer doesn’t bring a lawsuit based on a contingency fee (contrary to what was quoted in one of the linked articles) instead they record their time and the sum is negotiated as part of a settlement, or if the case ends in a judgment, a motion is made to the court. The settlement numbers quoted in the article are likely made up more of attorneys fees than damages - it is the job of the business owner’s lawyer to counsel their clients on whether to make the improvements before those fees spiral too far out of control. Seems to me that should have happened far far earlier in this case.

It is the 25th anniversary of the ADA this year. The spirit and intent of the ADA was to help bring people with disabilities into the mainstream of life so that they can enjoy all the same establishments as their non-disabled peers. I for one am glad the improvements are being made so that I can bring my wheelchair-using (not bound) friends there to enjoy a deviled egg or two. I look forward to seeing you there.


Like this comment
Posted by Fanofmidcenturyarchitecture
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Hills
on Mar 6, 2015 at 10:45 pm

I am sad but not surprised to read this article. This is a well known scam and the defendants usually have little means to fight back against the obvious blackmail. Every time I drive by the Dairy Queen on Woodside Rd and admire the gorgeous design, I wonder if its days are numbered due to a ADA lawsuit. kudos to Dutch Goose for fighting on, and I will definitely support their business. I hope the big guys at DQ will also support their stepchild here in CA and preserve that time capsule. On a similar note, can we please stop the deforestation of the ranch homes especially in Atherton and Menlo Park? Thanks.


1 person likes this
Posted by NOT DISABLED
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Mar 7, 2015 at 6:49 am

JUST CURIOUS - DOES MR. HERNANDEZ HAVE TO PAY TAXES ON ALL THE MONEY HE RECEIVES - SUCH AS WITHHOLDINGS SUCH AS SOCIAL SECUTITY, UNEMPLOYMENT ETC?

DOES HIS ATTTORNEY GET PAID OUT OF HIS SETLEMENT? SURELY, THE ATTORNEY HAS TO DECLARE HIS FEES O
AS INCOME.


2 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 7, 2015 at 7:10 am

pogo is a registered user.

Don't Shoot the Messenger -

You said "Judges possess and do use their sanction powers to curb the abuses and havoc brought by serial plaintiffs. Many, in fact most, will not hesitate to dismiss an ADA case when a valid defense based on the doctrine of standing is asserted, assessing for example if a person is likely to return from San Jose."

Undeniably true. But the cost of hiring an attorney, discovery, and answering a lawsuit is thousands of dollars. It far more expensive to contest a lawsuit than to simply pay the plaintiff for withdrawing his lawsuit. For a small business owner, that cost is often lethal.

That's the problem.


Like this comment
Posted by Business Owner
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2015 at 7:44 am

Shouldn't it be the responsibility of the land lord to take care of the ADA issues not the Goose, Canyon Inn, Menlo Park Fire Department not the tennant ?


3 people like this
Posted by Don't Shoot the Messenger
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 7, 2015 at 7:57 am

Not Disabled,

Mr. Hernandez does not have to pay taxes if the damages are compensation for a physical injury. For all other damages he needs to declare them on his taxes. As for the attorneys, both the plaintiff and defense attorneys are reporting their fees as income.

Pogo,

Yes - that dynamic has been a big problem (hence the term shakedown lawsuit). However, that dynamic has changed in recent years as one California Court of Appeal has read the Disabled Person's Act to have a 2-way fee shifting statute, meaning that if the business owner wins they are entitled to recover their attorneys fees from the plaintiff. This is mentioned in one of the linked articles. That has slowed down lawsuits without merit quite a bit. The cheapest way for a business to deal with this issue is to proactively assess their business using the many tools available and make the changes they are required to. A little preventative medicine goes a long way.

Business Owner,

The ADA makes both the Landlord and Tenant responsible, however those two parties can apportion the responsibility for compliance with the ADA and liability should they be challenged however they see fit. Their is much law and guidance on this subject.


12 people like this
Posted by Accessibilty
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 8, 2015 at 8:29 am

The Purpose of ADA is to make sure a business is accessible to all. If the man suing the Dutch Goose isn't local, I'm sure some other local diabled customer is going to be grateful that the accommodations are now going to be made. let this be a lesson to other businesses, comply with ADA or risk being sued. yes, restaurants needs to have an accessible bathroom. And accessible entrance. ADA law is not new, and the Dutch Goose should have been in compliance years ago and then they would have never been sued. I applaud the guy who brought the lawsuit and hope he brings more if that's what it's going to take to ensure that businesses comply with the law.


5 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 8, 2015 at 9:03 am

pogo is a registered user.

A lot of posters are missing the point.

Yes, the ADA is clearly well intentioned. I have two close family members with severe disabilities (motorized wheelchairs and specially equipped vans) so I know first-hand and appreciate the impact of these accommodations. They are important.

But these lawsuits have NOTHING to do with good intentions. These plaintiffs don't want or even care if the business owners make the necessary changes - they want CASH. They will withdraw their complaint if the business owner pays them cash. The amount is usually $5 to $10 thousand dollars, not coincidentally about half of what it would cost the owner just to answer the lawsuit (not litigate it, just hire an attorney and respond). It is a shakedown, pure and simple.

And because it is so difficult to determine ADA compliance, virtually all businesses are targets. You can find some non-compliant feature in any building, even one that has recently been determined to be ADA complaint.

Goodwill may be an unintentional byproduct of these suits, but make no mistake, this all about CASH.


5 people like this
Posted by Don't Shoot the Messenger
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 8, 2015 at 10:03 am

Pogo,

You state many valid points, however, to be fair, I believe you are missing some points as well. When you say “these lawsuits have NOTHING to do with good intentions” and “this is all about CASH” you are right about lawsuits that solely seek money in exchange for withdrawal of the complaint where the plaintiff (or defendant I might add) has no interest in making the facility accessible. Note though that the statutory damages are expressly authorized in the California Civil Code for a reason, you break the law, there is a financial penalty. The Legislature provides for strict liability when it wants to change public behavior.

My larger point, that I don’t want to me “missed”, and the reason for going into greater detail about the incentives on all parties in ADA lawsuits and the parties respective obligations, is that in response to media reports about “serial plaintiffs” and “shakedown lawsuits” - which is how this article is slanted and how the comments and likes were piling up fast - the public rushes to lump all lawsuits that allege inaccessibility claims together into one bucket to say they are all bad. That does a disservice to people with disabilities who bring a lawsuit the right way, e.g. send a letter to the business owner explaining the problem and requesting correction, and then when the business owner tells them to buzz off, the recourse for the person with a disability is to file a lawsuit to secure the requested injunctive relief (i.e. the fix). Without knowing any of the specifics, on it face, that appears to be what happened in the Dutch Goose case as extensive accessibility improvements are being made that will make the facility accessible for everyone.

As for the cost of hiring a lawyer to answer the complaint, yes that can cost thousands of dollars if not ten thousand, that is what defense lawyers charge. But that can be avoided by spending the money, and taking advantage of federal tax credits I might add, by proactively assessing a facility correctly for ADA compliance, and using that money to proactively make improvements, instead of reactively sinking the money into defense lawyer costs after being sued. Business owners should not be bamboozeled by a defense lawyer into spending additional tens of thousands and more defending and fighting a lawsuit when the defenses have little merit – this only goes to further line the defense lawyers pockets.

Competent architects and Certified Access Specialists are available and are far cheaper than hiring a lawyer. It is no answer to say following the ADA is complicated and then just do nothing. It is a necessary cost of business, and to be honest it is really not that complicated. The regulations specify exactly what to do and detailed drawings are available on the internet from government sources. Since you have people with disabilities in you life and they use assistive technology like scooters, you will understand that inches do matter when it comes to access and slopes, thresholds, and doors and stalls in bathroom that are too narrow. This makes a facility completely inaccessible for a person with a disability. A molehill literally does become a mountain.

So please don’t miss my point by painting with too broad a brush stroke to lump all these cases together – they are not all the same.


10 people like this
Posted by OTOH
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 8, 2015 at 10:58 am

Have a friend in a chair, that found DG an impossible place to navigate (the restroom.)

Not good for a beer joint. Just saying...


Like this comment
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 8, 2015 at 9:26 pm

I wonder if the State Legislature can do anything to stop these shakedowns? There's no reason that these lawsuits should be settled with the plaintiff seeing any money, since there was clearly no harm. Support the Dutch Goose and help them to pay off these unnecessary expenses.


5 people like this
Posted by Puzzeled
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 9, 2015 at 1:02 pm

While the guy might be a Troll and castigated as a permitted vexatious litigant it is noteworthy that no wheel chair bound writer has written in to disavow his efforts.


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 9, 2015 at 3:41 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Back in the days before cigarettes were banned in restaurants, I always made sure their was a no-smoking section beforehand. It is prudent to check out accommodations before entering or booking a reservation at a restaurant. Perhaps a sign on the establishment stating "Limited Wheelchair Access" or "Smoke Tolerant Diners Only" would suffice. The Federal Government has overstepped it's bounds in implementing the ADA.
A wheelchair bound Libertarian friend of my, the late Bill Wade, was an advocate for the mobility challenged. He testified at a San Mateo County Board of Supervisors meeting when the fate of a golf course at Edgewood Park was being decided. Bill looked forward to access to the beauty of Edgewood Park which a golf course would have provided. The golf course never happened. Now, try to wheel your way around the trails in Edgewood Park. I'm sure he would not have supported litigation against the Canyon Inn or Dutch Goose.


12 people like this
Posted by NdAccess
a resident of another community
on Mar 9, 2015 at 5:04 pm

As a former patron of the Goose --- who certainly didn't expect to become disabled a few years ago --- I am glad that I'll be able to go there again. It's a fun place.

You never know when you'll become disabled. Shouldn't all Americans have access to the businesses in their towns?


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 9, 2015 at 8:22 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

[Post removed. Please don't use Town Square to accuse people of misconduct.]


12 people like this
Posted by NdAccess
a resident of another community
on Mar 9, 2015 at 9:12 pm

The ADA has been in place for 25 years. Yes, there have been modifications over the years -- but the basic parking lot & bathroom requirements that the Dutch Goose is finally implementing have a long history.

In recent years, opportunistic lawyers and disabled activists started suing because some businesses ignored the law.

I'm not an activist, but have been unable to use certain local businesses because of their non-compliance. I'm thinking of a breakfast place downtown in MP and a Palo Alto investment firm....when using the restroom, or simply entry, requires stairs.

These business should note the Dutch Goose case, and comply with the law before this aggressive lawyer strikes. Better late than never.

I'm delighted that the Dutch Goose will finally be in compliance because I want to go there again. Love the burgers.


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 10, 2015 at 10:46 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

NdAccess said: Shouldn't all Americans have access to the businesses in their towns?
See Web Link
EXCERPT:
Like many issues involving constitutional law, the law against discrimination in public accommodations is in a constant state of change. Some argue that anti-discrimination laws in matters of public accommodations create a conflict between the ideal of equality and individual rights. Does the guaranteed right to public access mean the business owner's private right to exclude is violated? For the most part, courts have decided that the constitutional interest in providing equal access to public accommodations outweighs the individual liberties involved.

IMHO, the courts have rewritten the Constitution.


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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 10, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

I'm getting a little self conscious of my arbitrary use of the handicapped commode in the men's room at BelMateo Bowl. So, I googled the subject and found this:
Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 10, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Editor:

why would I flag their comments? I find nothing objectionable there. There wasn't anything objectionable in what I said either.


2 people like this
Posted by ragtowne
a resident of another community
on May 30, 2015 at 12:01 pm

ragtowne is a registered user.

A family run business, Higuma is in what appears to be a converted small old 1930s house. Recently hit by a similar ADA scam lawsuit, at least 18 seats were lost to the new ADA compliant 60 square foot bathroom that eliminated 1/3 of the original seating area. Crammed into the remaining space, most tables now only seat 2 people. A customer since 1996, 3 of us had dinner there last night. We waited well over 30 minutes to get a 4 person table. While we were there, many people arrived, waited, and left. The prices have been increased. People are going elsewhere. I do not know how Higuma can survive. While I am all for accommodating those with disabilities, I doubt the original intent of the ADA was to put long established businesses in small very old buildings out of business while lining the pockets of serial litigants, but that is what is being done.


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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jun 16, 2015 at 4:32 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Has anyone noticed that they now have 5 REGULAR parking spots on the Alameda? They used to have 2 handicapped spots and 1 regular spot. That's poetic justice! See: Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by straight talk
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 26, 2015 at 7:48 pm

straight talk is a registered user.

Uhhh ... Jack. If you bothered to patronize the establishment rather than just drive-by you would notice that the compliant ADA parking spaces are now located in the back. Sorry to see you still think disabled veterans and other disabled folk shouldn't be afforded the same opportunity to go grab a bite to eat.


1 person likes this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jun 27, 2015 at 10:57 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

I have frequented the Dutch Goose and it's contemporary, the Alpine Inn hundreds of times in the past 50 years. I have lunched in the patio area with my daughter and son-in-law with their 4 Chihuahua's. I have probably had more than 50 Guacamole Burgers from there in the past 4 years alone.

Yesterday, around 5 P.M., I thought I would take advantage of one of those 5 parking spaces on the Alameda and pick up a burger. I was surprised to find them full. Fortunately I found a spot for my Chevy Spark EV in the back alley parking.

As I made my way into the Goose, I saw a much improved rear entrance with the expected 2 handicap parking spots. The joint was packed. There was no wheelchair ramp! That's on the level! But, there was a wheelchair lift.

Despite the crowd, my takeout order was quickly placed and I sought a seat at the bar to wait for my order. No more bar. The table alternative is gone also. No waiting room with big screen TV.

Fortunately service was swift, and I left with what was one of the best Guacamole Burgers I have ever had.

Kudo's to the Goose! You have effected a win-win situation.

Suggestion: Limit the 5 parking spots in front to 20 minutes. Or, put in some EV charging spots.


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Posted by straight talk
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 27, 2015 at 1:20 pm

straight talk is a registered user.

right on Jack!


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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The Almanac Readers' Choice ballot is here

It's time to decide what local business is worthy of the title "The Almanac Readers' Choice" — and you get to decide! Cast your ballot online. Voting ends May 28th. Stay tuned for the results in the July 18th issue of The Almanac.

VOTE HERE