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ADA Defense & Compliance Lawyer Alert: New Regulations Now in Effect

2 October 2010

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The U.S. Attorney General has signed into law important revisions to the Department of Justice’s Regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The new 2010 Standards impose both technical requirements, (e.g. the specifications a property must meet to be fully accessible), and scoping requirements (e.g. the number of rooms or elements in a facility which must be fully accessible).

Hotel owners will need to review their facilities to ensure they are in compliance with the 2010 Standards and retrofit where necessary to meet them. Developers of new hotel properties will need assurances from their design and construction companies that the new obligations and restrictions are being worked into their plans.



ADA Alert: New ADA Regulations Now in Effect

Marty Orlick and Jim Abrams | JMBM Global Hospitality Group®

On July 23, 2010, the U.S. Attorney General signed into law important revisions to the Department of Justice’s Regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act. The new regulations also include substantial and far reaching revisions to the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), which are now known as the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards). On September 15, 2010, the new Regulations/2010 Standards were published in the Federal Register, thereby triggering two important implementation periods.

Compliance with the new Regulations will be required commencing on March 15, 2011, with the exception of (1) the new obligations of hotels to modify their reservation policies relating to individuals with disabilities, and (2) the 2010 Standards; these two components become mandatory one year later, on March 15, 2012. However, compliance with the 2010 Standards is permitted as of September 15, 2010, and any public accommodation or commercial facility that is newly constructed, altered, or undergoes “readily achievable barrier removal” prior to the March 15, 2012, effective date of the 2010 Standards should include consideration of the new standards and incorporate them as appropriate.

The new DOJ Regulations/2010 Standards affect all U.S. hotels, financial institutions, shopping centers, retail stores, recreational facilities, and other properties such as restaurants that are a classified as a “public accommodation” or a “commercial facility” under the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

The new 2010 Standards impose both technical requirements, (e.g. the specifications a property must meet to be fully accessible), and scoping requirements (e.g. the number of rooms or elements in a facility which must be fully accessible).

Existing property owners will need to review their facilities to ensure they are in compliance with the appropriate standards (either the 1991 or the 2010 Standards) and retrofit where necessary to meet them. Developers of new hotel properties will need assurances from their design and construction companies that the new obligations and restrictions are being worked into their plans. Among other things, the 2010 Standards will require that most recreational facilities and the primary path of travel in employee work areas be accessible –and this is just the tip of the iceberg. The 2010 standards may well require changes to ATM machines and other bank facilities.

Similarly, all public accommodations must review their policies and procedures, auxiliary aids and services, and operations to be sure that they comply with the new Regulations–including the new rules regarding service animals and the obligation to admit disabled individuals who use Segway® PTs– when they become effective March 15 of 2011.

The U.S. Department of Justice is enforcing ADA compliance through audits, voluntary compliance programs and, in some cases, through lawsuits. In some states, like California, accessibility advocates and their plaintiff lawyers have brought ADA lawsuits against thousands of California businesses, including hotels.

You can avoid the surprise of an ADA lawsuit by acting early to bring your properties into compliance.

The new ADA Regulations can be downright confusing to navigate alone. Please call on us to help interpret the Regulations and understand how the new Regulations and the 2010 Standards will affect both the physical and operational aspects of your business.
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MO.jpgMartin H. Orlick is one of the top ADA defense and compliance lawyers in the country, having helped clients with more than 450 ADA cases for hotels and other businesses. He is also is a senior member of the law firm’s Global Hospitality Group®, a partner in the real estate department, and a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL). For more information about ADA compliance and defense, contact Marty Orlick at 415.984.9667 or morlick@jmbm.com.

Abrams%20Jim%20resized%20for%20web.jpgJim Abrams is a senior member of the JMBM Global Hospitality Group® and the former President and CEO of the California Hotel & Lodging Association. Jim has advised hundreds of lodging operators about, and written and lectured extensively on, all aspects of accessibility laws that apply to the hospitality industry. For more information, contact Jim at 415.398.8080 or jabrams@jmbm.com.

This is Jim Butler, author of www.HotelLawBlog.com and hotel lawyer, signing off. We’ve done more than $60 billion of hotel transactions and have developed innovative solutions to unlock value from troubled hotel transactions. Who’s your hotel lawyer?

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Our Perspective. We represent hotel lenders, owners and investors. We have helped our clients find business and legal solutions for more than $60 billion of hotel transactions, involving more than 1,000 properties all over the world. For more information, please contact Jim Butler at jbutler@jmbm.com or 310.201.3526.

Jim Butler is a founding partner of JMBM and Chairman of its Global Hospitality Group®. Jim is one of the top hospitality attorneys in the world. GOOGLE “hotel lawyer” and you will see why.

JMBM’s troubled asset team has handled more than 1,000 receiverships and many complex insolvency issues. But Jim and his team are more than “just” great hotel lawyers. They are also hospitality consultants and business advisors. For example, they have developed some unique proprietary approaches to unlock value in underwater hotels that can benefit lenders, borrowers and investors. (GOOGLE “JMBM SAVE® program”.)

Whether it is a troubled investment or new transaction, JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® creates legal and business solutions for hotel owners and lenders. They are deal makers. They can help find the right operator or capital provider. They know who to call and how to reach them.