One of the biggest issues currently being targeted by the serial plaintiffs is the slope of the accessible parking stall and accompanying accessible aisle. The ADA requires both to be virtually flat. A slight slope for drainage is allowed.
The reason there can be virtually no slope is because loading and unload of a wheelchair could be an issue as the wheelchair could roll away depending on the slope. Another issue and probably the most important is that if there is any slope to the parking stall or accessible aisle, then a wheelchair ramp from a specially designed van will not come in direct and square contact with the ground. As a result, in many cases, the disabled person will not be able to unload into the accessible aisle. For a visual of a specially designed van with a wheelchair ramp, go to www.amsvans.com.
As you can see from the picture on the right, most of the accessible space and accessible aisle are on a steep slope. This will make it very difficult, if not impossible for a disabled person to use this parking stall. To make matters worst, there is a flat area of the parking lot several spaces to the right where the accessible space could be located to meet the requirements of the ADA. I have contacted the building owner and notified them of this issue; however, they have decided not to move the space. Needless to say, this space is a BIG red flag to serial plaintiffs looking to file lawsuits against businesses who don’t meet the requirements of the ADA.
When the ADA was first enacted in the 1990’s, many municipalities were fairly loose in their interpretation of the ADA and allowed a ramp to be located in the accessible aisle as shown in the photograph on the left as a “stop gap” until a curb ramp could be installed at a later date. The thought was to do what they could immediately to provide access to those with disabilities. This practice is no longer allowed and where these ramps still exist, they are subject to a lawsuit as the ADA specifically and accessible shall be virtually flat.states the accessible stall
If your property has a sloped ramp in the accessible aisle as shown in the photograph, I would immediately make plans to remove it and install an ADA approved curb ramp.