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BMD Obtains Dismissal of ADA Title III Suit Against National Outlet Mall Chain

On January 12, 2018, Brennan, Manna & Diamond obtained the dismissal of an Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) lawsuit filed against Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

The suit, which was brought under Title III of the ADA, alleged that Tanger’s Byron Center, Michigan outlet mall contained barriers to access in violation of the ADA’s accessibility requirements. The plaintiff demanded prospective injunctive relief, including a retrofit of the entire mall, as well as expert witness and attorneys’ fees.

BMD moved to dismiss the case for lack of standing. Unlike a conventional suit, where a plaintiff seeking monetary damages must show a past injury to possess legal standing, an ADA Title III plaintiff must show a threat of prospective future harm in order to recover. Typically, this means that the plaintiff must plead (and prove) that he or she has reason to continue to visit the public accommodation in question and will continue to be injured by the facility’s alleged non-compliance with the ADA.

In its opinion granting Tanger’s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, United States Magistrate Judge Ellen S. Carmody held that the plaintiff’s Amended Complaint failed to adequately plead prospective future injury. In particular, the Court noted that “[v]ague and conclusory allegations that a plaintiff intends to return to a location […] are insufficient to maintain an ADA claim.” Applying this standard to the plaintiff’s Amended Complaint, the Court held that his “vague and conclusory statements regarding his alleged intent to return” to Tanger’s Byron Center property “are insufficient.” On this record, the Court found that the plaintiff “failed to sufficiently allege that he will suffer a future injury in the absence of injunctive relief.”

Recognizing the cost that ADA Title III actions pose to owners and operators of public accommodations, BMD’s experienced team of ADA litigators uses a proactive approach to seek the early and cost-effective resolution of cases before proceeding with expensive expert discovery. BMD was proud to obtain this result for Tanger Factory Outlets, one of the largest and most iconic outlet mall chains in the country.

BMD Partners Christopher Congeni and Daniel Rudary represented Tanger Factory Outlet Centers in this case. The citation for Court’s opinion is Saar v. Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc., W.D. Mich. No. 1:17-cv-41, 2018 WL 387962 (Jan. 12, 2018).

Florida’s “Stay-at-Home” Order and What it Means for Businesses

On April 1, 2020, in response to the State’s ongoing efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-91, which is State-wide “Stay-at-Home” Order. The Order goes into effect Friday, April 3, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., and expires on April 30, 2020, unless extended by subsequent order (the full text of the order is available here).

CMS Offers New Stark Waivers and More Flexibility to Health Care Providers Due to COVID-19

On March 30, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued several temporary regulatory waivers to further enable the American healthcare system to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with more efficiency and flexibility. The official publication can be found here: Physicians and Other Clinicians: CMS Flexibilities to Fight COVID-19.

#CancelRent – What’s Next for Landlords?

Across the country, residential tenants, small businesses, and even national retailers such as Cheesecake Factory, Subway, and Mattress Firm have declared war on their landlords by refusing to pay rent on account of the Covid-19 pandemic (“COVID-19”). This has sent shockwaves through the real-estate industry. As of April 1st, residential tenants owe an estimated $40 Billion in rent. Estimates for the commercial sector are not far off. So far, federal, state, and local measures have focused on providing relief to residential and commercial tenants and even to some commercial landlords.

Record Keeping Requirements to Receive FFCRA IRS Tax Credit

On April 1, 2020, the IRS and Department of Labor issued temporary regulations to provide clarity regarding the documents required by employees requesting leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the documentation that employers need to maintain.

Eviction & Foreclosure During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Like most areas of our society, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the business relationships between landlords and tenants and between lenders and borrowers. In most states, non-essential retailers and other businesses have closed their doors and are doing business online, to the extent that they can. Some businesses, like The Cheesecake Factory, have announced that they would not be paying rent at any of their locations for at least a month due to the pandemic. Landlords and homeowners are concerned about being able to pay their mortgages and tenants are concerned about being able paying their rent.