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

Client Alert

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).


Telehealth Flexibility Updates: HIPAA, DEA, and CMS

The Covid-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) officially ended on May 11, 2023. But what does that mean for telehealth, a field that expanded exponentially during the PHE? Fortunately, many of the flexibilities will remain intact, at least temporarily. This client alert presents a brief overview of the timelines that providers need to follow, but for a more comprehensive review of telehealth flexibilities and when they will end

WEBINAR SERIES RECAP | Ending the Public Health Emergency + Post-Pandemic Check-Up

Some may take the position that the rest of the country already returned to a new “normal” following the COVID-19 pandemic.  But healthcare providers continue to implement COVID protocols and navigate the ever-changing healthcare regulations at both the federal and state levels.  It is important for healthcare providers to take time for a “Healthcare Check-Up” with the start of 2023 and the ending of the Public Health Emergency (“PHE”).

Sharp Rise in False Claims Act Cases - Navigating the FCA Waters

Recently, on April 18, 2023, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the FCA’s scienter, or mental state, requirement. To prove violation of the FCA, the statute requires that a defendant “knowingly” file false claims for payment. The term “knowingly” is defined within the statute to mean a person that acts with actual knowledge, deliberate ignorance, or reckless disregard. Circuit courts are split on how to interpret and apply the knowledge element of the FCA, and based on the Supreme Court’s decision, there will be a large impact on healthcare defendants and their businesses as well as anyone who contracts with, or receives money from, a federal program. A broader interpretation of the FCA would unnecessarily target and stifle healthcare, and other businesses, for simple errors in daily operations. This goes against the intended application of the FCA, which was to prevent fraudulent activity.

Areas of Opportunity in Columbus: Highlights from the Columbus Opportunity Summit

On April 27, 2023 Columbus Business First held its annual Columbus Opportunity Summit, bringing together business and economic development leaders to provide an update on how Central Ohio is preparing for expected growth in the coming years, an issue heightened by the arrival of Intel at its 1,000 acre site in Licking County, just outside of Columbus. The site will be home to two new chip factories with room to grow to a total of eight factories and is a $20 Billion investment.

BREAKING: Biden Administration Has Officially Ended the Two Remaining COVID Vaccine Mandates

As of May 1, 2023, the Biden Administration has officially ended the two remaining COVID vaccine mandates: (1) the Federal Contractor Mandate, and (2) the CMS Healthcare Provider Vaccine Mandate.