Creating a hybrid practice that intertwines building construction issues and civil rights litigation, Locke Lord’s employment attorneys have extensive experience defending and counseling clients nationwide regarding issues under Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act for state/local governments and public accommodations, and under the Fair Housing Act for residential facilities. Locke Lord attorneys are well versed regarding the nuances of, applications of, and differences between the 1991 ADA Accessibility Guidelines (“ADAAG”), the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (including the proposed changes under consideration today by the Department of Justice and Access Board), the Texas Accessibility Standards (including 2011 proposed changes to bring them in line with the new 2010 federal standards), and the numerous safe harbors under the Fair Housing Act (including the Design Manual as well as the other safe harbors recognized under IBC and ANSI), as well as state and local laws and building codes regarding accessibility.
In our accessibility practice, we regularly assist clients with a wide variety of accessibility issues concerning mobility as well as vision and hearing impairments. These issues include verbal and other communications with customers or patients, websites, parking, bathrooms, hotel guestrooms, doors/entrances/exits, ramps, elevators, theatre and stadium seating, outdoor festivals and conventions, transportation, retail displays and routes, dressing rooms, reservations/tickets, signs, pools/spas, emergency notification devices, POS machines, and paths of travel between all of these accessible features. Locke Lord’s attorneys know how to identify and prioritize accessibility concerns and to help clients resolve complex situations that accommodate business, aesthetic and historical preservation concerns along with addressing accessibility requirements. Our experience has assisted owners, operators, lessors, lessees, and managers of museums, stadiums, theatres, hotels, retail stores, parking garages, restaurants, physician offices, office buildings, car washes, fitness centers, banks and financial services centers and more.
We have defended and amicably resolved claims or litigation brought by the Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, as well as comparable state agencies and private litigants regarding ADA or Fair Housing matters in more than 30 jurisdictions. Our practice also includes assisting and resolving both routine and non-compliance inspections required under state or local accessibility laws. Most importantly, we know how to prevent accessibility claims and satisfy the needs of disabled residents, guests or customers by designing or modifying buildings and other facilities in compliance with the Fair Housing safe harbors and Design Manual or the ADA’s Standards for Accessible Design. Locke Lord’s labor and employment attorneys know how to apply the various accessibility codes to new and proposed construction as well as how to apply the “readily achievable” standard to buildings existing prior to the enactment of the ADA. We have also assisted clients by employee training, accessibility-related policies, assigning accessibility compliance in transactions, evaluating accessibility issues within assets under consideration for purchase, and responding to and negotiating with accessibility experts.
We invite you to bring your most challenging accessibility issue of any nature to our experienced team, and we will help you determine an appropriate resolution.
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