Disability Law

Judge refuses to award fees to two lawyers with boilerplate ADA complaints, seeks elusive plaintiff

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A federal judge in Brooklyn has refused to award fees to two lawyers who have filed dozens of lawsuits against businesses for alleged violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act, warning the duo that their “tactics will no longer be tolerated.”

U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. ruled (PDF) in a request for attorney fees for Adam Shore and B. Bradley Weitz, the New York Times reports. Shore had had filed an application for more than $15,000 in fees, claiming he and Weitz spent 35 hours preparing a case that resulted in a default judgment against a Subway restaurant.

Johnson had questioned the time spent drafting the complaint, the story says. “It is clear that the ‘drafting’ refers to counsel’s efforts in cutting and pasting old defendants in place of new defendants,” the judge wrote. Johnson also pointed out that the plaintiff in the case, Mike Costello, did not appear in court. “The court’s best efforts have failed to prove that an individual named ‘Mike Costello’ exists, is wheelchair-bound and has visited any of those establishments” sued in eight cases filed by the lawyers on the same day, he said.

Shore had told the court that the plaintiff moved to Ireland, but did not provide a phone number where he could be reached, Johnson said.

“These tactics will no longer be tolerated,” Johnson wrote. “The court will not be shy about informing the appropriate state bar authorities and chief judges across this country should Shore and Weitz unadvisedly continue to litigate in this fashion.”

Shore did not comment when contacted by the Times and Weitz did not respond to a request for comment.

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