Access for All

     I’m sympathetic to the handicapped. Really I am.
     They should have access to what everyone else has if at all possible. It’s only fair.
     But, as in so much consumer or stockholder litigation, it seems as if there are a few people – and/or their lawyers – who take advantage of legal protections.
     It seems – and I stress the word seems – like some lawyers just want to collect money from unsuspecting businesses instead of helping the handicapped.
     In Los Angeles, for example, there are a few lawyers who have filed hundreds of lawsuits – big batches of them at time – against small businesses for failing to provide some sort of handicapped access.
     The same plaintiff names come up over and over again. These are handicapped people who get around a lot more than most of us. Some of them seem to have gone door to door in their neighborhoods looking for frustration.
     And there are many kinds of frustration.
     One that caught my eye in a recent batch of suits was this:
     “At all times herein mentioned, (Plaintiff) has been hearing-impaired.
     “On or about August 19, 2010, while patronizing said place of public accommodation, Plaintiff requested that Defendants provide him with captioning to the television set they provided for customers’ entertainment, but Defendants failed and refused to do so. As a result, Plaintiff was denied use and enjoyment of the television programming. The foregoing constitutes violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.”
     Some people might think not hearing the TV is a good thing.
     Can’t wait for the suits on behalf of the near-sighted….
     
     SECURITY CRUTCH. Yet another amazing scene at the courthouse in Torrance, California last week. I got to witness a security guard insist on laying a guy’s crutches on the conveyor belt and running them through the scanner.
     I would have asked why but I was too busy laughing.
     
     CHANGING DEMOGRAPHIC. I guess it was bound to happen, but it was still startling to see.
     I spotted a lawsuit last week filed on behalf of Juan Doe.
     The face of America is changing.
     It got to me wondering, though, why there are so many John and Jane Does. After all, they are fictitious names, so why not have some fun and be creative with them? Come up with a name that suits your client.
     Like Crybaby McFartypants or Guy Boring.
     You’ll make your case memorable.
     
     THAT WACKY WIKI. Since just about everybody else has been ranting about WikiLeaks, I guess I should say something too.
     Yeah, I’m a sort-of journalist, so my knee-jerk reaction is that letting people know about stuff is good.
     But wouldn’t you rather not know about stuff?
     Imagine not knowing about global warming, mass starvation, multiple wars, nuclear weapons in Pakistan, disease in Africa, and Mel Gibson.
     Wouldn’t you feel a whole lot better?
     WikiPlugs, anyone?
     By the way, I love the irony of the WikiLeaks supporters shutting down other people’s websites. Maybe we can get those guys to work on global ignorance.

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