[co-author: Susan Ryan]
Seyfarth Synopsis: Utah businesses are experiencing an unprecedented number of ADA Title III lawsuits.
Utah used to be a good place for public accommodations that did not want to be sued for ADA Title III violations. In 2013, 2014, and 2015 combined, plaintiffs only filed a total of eight such lawsuits in federal court (1, 6, and 1, respectively). In 2016, the number surged to 124, making Utah the seventh most busy federal venue for such filings for that year. In just the first five months of 2017, plaintiffs have filed 125 lawsuits in the Utah federal courts, the highest number since we started tracking them in 2013.
Federal ADA Title III Lawsuits Filed in Utah Federal Courts: 2013-2017: 2013 (1), 2014 (6), 2015 (1), 2016 (124), Jan.-May 2017 (125)
Nine plaintiffs are responsible for the 2017 numbers so far, with one who has filed 57 such suits. Another six plaintiffs have each filed between 9 and 15 cases, and two have only filed one case each. These plaintiffs have been represented by one of six law firms, one of which was counsel in 105 of the 124 cases filed in 2016. Most of these cases appear to concern alleged architectural barriers in public accommodations facilities.
Utah businesses are not likely to experience the level of disability access litigation as their counterparts in California, Florida, or New York, but we are not ruling out that possibility.