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ADA Defense Lawyer: JMBM wins second ADA lawsuit for Zarco Hotels, bringing total defense awards to $113K

25 February 2024

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Last year, JMBM secured a legal victory for our client Zarco Hotels after they were accused of ADA violations by a serial plaintiff. Our strategic approach led to a dismissal of the claims and compensation awarded for legal fees. In the article below, JMBM partner Stuart Tubis examines the case details and outlines the practical steps businesses can take to defend themselves against meritless lawsuits.

JMBM wins second ADA lawsuit for Zarco Hotels,
bringing total defense awards to $113K


Stuart Tubis, JMBM’s ADA Compliance & Defense Group

Recently, JMBM reported that it successfully defended a website accessibility lawsuit on behalf of its client Zarco Hotels, against serial plaintiff Traci Morgan. In that case, the court awarded Zarco Hotels $55,414.84 in compensation for its attorneys’ fees and costs.

JMBM and Zarco Hotels have prevailed again. On July 11, 2023, a different court awarded Zarco Hotels attorneys’ fees and costs related to a separate ADA lawsuit regarding hotel reservations.

Garcia v. Zarco Hotels, Inc., Case No. 21STCV00023 (Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles) involved claims by serial plaintiff Orlando Garcia, who has filed hundreds of similar lawsuits against businesses in California. The same law firm, Potter Handy, LLP (AKA Center for Disability Access) represented Morgan and Garcia in both cases.

Garcia alleged that the Hollywood Hotel’s reservation requirements did not comply with the ADA because the website did not provide enough information about the physical accessibility features of the hotel. See our article on this issue here: ADA Requires Hotels To Describe Accessibility Features On Website.

However, Garcia failed to recognize that the Hollywood Hotel’s website and reservation system exceed compliance with the ADA; JMBM’s ADA Compliance and Defense team, led by Stuart K. Tubis, Esq. and Martin Orlick Esq. showed that it provides more information than the law requires about ADA accommodations at the hotel. Still, Garcia refused to dismiss the lawsuit, despite evidence showing that the claims lacked merit.

In our practice, we find that ADA plaintiffs will often press forward with lawsuits, even when they lack merit. This is likely because many defendants find it easier to settle the case and pay the plaintiff rather than defend themselves in court.

Zarco Hotels was not intimidated, and filed its motion for summary judgment on July 15, 2022. Facing a losing battle, Garcia finally dismissed the lawsuit on October 6, 2022.

ADA Defendants Can Be Awarded Attorneys’ Fees

Despite winning the case, Zarco Hotels incurred the expense of attorneys’ fees and litigation costs by defending itself against the frivolous claims. Fortunately, the ADA allows for the award of attorneys’ fees and litigation costs to a prevailing defendant when the plaintiff’s claims are “frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation.”

So Zarco Hotels filed a motion for defense attorneys’ fees and costs on November 29, 2022.

The Court agreed with Zarco Hotels and found that Garcia’s claims lacked merit. Because he pursued them anyway, Zarco Hotels incurred attorneys’ fees and costs that should be recouped. As the Court pointed out in its July 11, 2023 opinion:

“The Court finds that this action was frivolous, thus meriting fees.”

“The Court here finds that the clarity of the DOJ Guidance should have intimated to Plaintiff and counsel that the accessibility information they sought against Zarco Hotels in the Complaint went far beyond that information reasonably needed to inform Plaintiff Garcia of Zarco Hotels’ ability to accommodate Plaintiff’s accessibility needs. Accordingly, the Court finds that Zarco Hotels is entitled to attorney’s fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §12205.”

The Court ordered Orlando Garcia to pay Zarco Hotels $57,604.90 within 60 days of the Order.

Between the two cases, this brings the total award of attorneys fees for Zarco Hotels to $113,019.74.

You Can Win Serial Plaintiff ADA Cases

If your business is sued for violation of the ADA and California Unruh Civil Rights Act, be aware that you can win the case and recover your costs. We all recognize the importance of accessibility for society. We all either need accessibility today or are one accident or illness away from needing accessibility accommodations. However, there are career plaintiffs filing thousands of nearly identical lawsuits against as many businesses as possible. They are bound to make mistakes.

It might be simple to settle the claims, pay the plaintiff, and move on, even if the claims lack merit. But if the allegations are untrue, you can also fight the case, win, and receive an award from the court.

Case citation: Garcia v. Zarco Hotels, Inc., Case No. 21STCV00023 (Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles)

You can download a copy of the Court’s Order here.

For more details on this case, please reach out to Stuart K. Tubis, Esq.


Stuart K. Tubis is a partner attorney at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP and a member of JMBM’s ADA Compliance & Defense Group. Stu counsels businesses and landlords on the full spectrum of ADA compliance issues and represents their interests in litigation and Department of Justice investigations. He has a background in technology, which helps in resolving the growing area of website accessibility issues. Contact Stuart K. Tubis at 415.984.9622 or

Picture of Jim Butler

This is Jim Butler, author of and founding partner of JMBM and JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group®. We provide business and legal advice to hotel owners, developers, independent operators, and investors. This advice covers critical hotel issues such as hotel purchase, sale, development, financing, franchise, management, ADA, and IP matters. We also have compelling experience in hotel litigation, union avoidance and union negotiations, and cybersecurity & data privacy.

JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® has been involved in more than $125 billion of hotel transactions and more than 4,700 hotel properties located around the globe. Contact me at +1-310-201-3526 or to discuss how we can help.

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