The New York Post reports that a man has sued or sent demand letters to 49 businesses for alleged lack of accessibility for the disabled:
He wouldn’t say how much Matatov has collected in settlements but boasted that 10 business have made their entrances accessible in response to his demands.
Steven Kirkpatrick, a lawyer for the trendy women’s clothing store AYR in Soho, said he agreed to settled Matatov’s case for less than the $50,000 demand.
Kirkpatrick said he has noticed an upsurge in such disability suits in recent years.
“It’s easy money for lawyers,” he explained.
Critics, meanwhile, said the lawsuits do little to improve the lives of people in wheelchairs.
“Multimillion-dollar cookie-cutter-claims like these have nothing to do with increasing access for the disabled,” said Tom Stebbins, director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York.
“The court system is being exploited to bully small businesses into paying out settlements.
“It’s extortion, plain and simple,” he added.