One Size Fits All: Not Just A Good Idea; It's The Law.
At least that's Kimberly Block's interpretation.
The Squeeze Inn, known for huge mounds of melted cheese on its burgers, violates the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, [a] lawsuit alleges.
Kimberly Block, who says she has severly [sic] limited use of her legs, argues she suffered "embarrassment and humiliation" and that her civil rights were violated because of inadequate access inside the Fruitridge Road restaurant.
In addition to its cheeseburgers, the Squeeze Inn of Sacramento California is also noted for its cramped spaces and limited seating. Get it? "Squeeze in." The restaurant is famous, having been featured on Food Network and in a number of other media.
The charm is evidently lost on Kimberly Block, who is suing the Squeeze Inn and its owner, Travis Hausauer, for alleged violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, a well-intended law that has produced an unusually high litigation burden for small restaurants and businesses. But one wonders whether Ms. Block visited the Squeeze Inn last November to order one of its famous cheeseburgers, or to just to get a settlement check, hold the onions.
Why? Well according to a search on Justia, this isn't the first time Ms. Block has suffered embarrassment and humiliation so severe she felt compelled to sue a restaurant. It's the third time this year. While Ms. Block hasn't yet filed enough suits to place her in the company of famous serial ADA litigants like Thomas Mundy, her lawyer Jason Singleton, like Mundy's lawyers at Morse Mehrban, has made an industry out of the act. No doubt Block will get there in time.
Of course if Block's suit is litigated rather than settled or defaulted, there's room for a defense attorney to move here. According to its owner, Squeeze Inn had already altered its patio dining area to accommodate the disabled, making the outdoor area less "squeezy." Did Block ask for a patio seat? Did she order to go?
According to Block's suit, she's a longtime resident of Sacramento who routinely travels into the restaurant's neighborhood for business and pleasure. So the question arises: what did Kimberly Block know about Squeeze Inn, and when did she know it? Hadn't she heard of the diner famous for its packed seating and cramped aisles before she visited?
Or did she visit the restaurant not for a cheeseburger, but for the express purpose of suing it?
Unfortunately those questions may have to remain between Ms. Block and her consience, rather than a jury. The owner says he can't afford the renovations Ms. Block demands (renovations which would, not coincidentally, remove much of the Inn's weird appeal), and insurance typically doesn't cover or defend ADA suits, for which defense costs are high.
So while cheeseburger fans and lovers of whatever funky local character remains in Sacramento may be out of luck, their loss will be Jason Singleton's gain. They'll always have McDonalds.
Update: See comments for more on Jason Singleton, and see this profile of the attorney from 2001.
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