A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has ruled that the Arizona Attorney General’s Office can join a batch of ADA lawsuits filed by a controversial “advocacy” group.
The order was issued Friday by Judge David Talamante and is included at the bottom of this story.
The Attorney General’s Office took made an unusual and unprecedented move late last month when it filed a motion to intervene in lawsuits filed by Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities (AID).
“We do not believe that the people who are filing these lawsuits are concerned for people who have disabilities,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich in an exclusive interview with ABC15. “What they are more concerned about is shaking down businesses.”
AID has filed more than 1700 lawsuits this year alleging violations in Valley businesses’ parking lots under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In many cases, AID has sued businesses and demanded thousands to settle because parking signs were a few inches too low.
"Plaintiff Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities, LLC is flooding this Court with lawsuits, apparently as part of a concerted effort to improperly use the judicial system for its own enrichment," the AG's Office wrote in a recent court filing.
The state intervened in a consolidated case involving more than a dozen businesses who joined together to fight their case. The AG will now be listed as another defendant.
Brnovich said that AID is exceeding its authority by appointing itself as a mass ADA enforcer.
“We as the state’s chief law enforcement officer, we believe that we are charged with enforcing the disabilities act,” Brnovich said.
The state has also filed a motion to consolidate all open cases filed by AID. Judge Talamante has not yet ruled on that motion. But if he does, the Attorney General’s Office said it intends to file another motion seeking to dismiss every case.
Dennis Wilenchik, an outside attorney for AID, has not returned an email seeking comment on their opposition to the AG’s involvement. (Read a copy of AID's opposition to AG's motion)
The group has publicly said that Brnovich is siding with “law breakers” and is making the issue “political.”
Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at firstname.lastname@example.org.