ADAPT of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project held a press conference today announcing the filing of 29 lawsuits against establishments across Texas, including Austin mainstays like the Alamo Drafthouse and Threadgill's. The complaint ? Not complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The ADA, signed into law by Pres. George H.W. Bush in 1990, promises protection against discrimination based on disability. According to ADAPT, the defendant establishments are in violation of the act due to their inaccessible locations.
These lawsuits follow a similar series of ADA violations filed by ADAPT last year. Of the 29 suits, 16 are new complaints, while 13 target companies that were named last year, including Threadgill's.
ADAPT say most of the complaints address problems that could be fixed at minimal cost.
David Wittie, ADAPT national organizer and a plaintiff in the suit against two Alamo Drafthouse locations in Austin, says ADAPT is going to give these institutions the easiest, cheapest means of complying. “Its cheaper to just fix the problem,” Wittie says, “whether they want to spend a few hundred dollars getting lower tables or lowering a counter, or if they want to spend a few thousand dollars on attorneys’ fees. It’s going to be up to them.”
KUT News contacted the Alamo Drafthouse and Threadgill's. Both companies say they were unaware of any ADA-related lawsuits against them.
Wittie stressed that these lawsuits come from a desire to support these businesses.
“We want to be part of the community, we want to be part of their business,” he said. “We want to give them our money. It’s that simple. And if they don’t want to take our money, we’ll take them to court.”