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Woman has filed more than 200 Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits

She's filed more than 40 in Kansas alone
Posted: 6:56 PM, Jan 24, 2017
Updated: 2017-01-24 20:56:08-05

There are thousands of Americans with Disabilities Act-related lawsuits filed across the country, including in Kansas and Missouri.

The 41 Action News Investigators found one Kansas woman who's filed 286 ADA lawsuits in eight different states.

She's had 46 in Kansas alone in the last few years and at least one in Missouri.

RELATED: Bond measure may help KC better comply with ADA

Guadalupe Adams lives near Wichita. She has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.

The lawsuits she's filed have been against businesses, including retail stores.

Attorney David Calvert has defended more than a dozen of those suits. He said they're typically settled for court costs, legal fees and a promise to fix whatever compliance issues there are.

ADA compliance isn't just an issue of lawsuits against private businesses.

Recently, Kansas City Mayor Sly James argued one reason voters need to pass the $800 million infrastructure bond in April is because of the 2012 unfunded agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to comply with ADA at numerous public areas.

"It's better than $50,000 a day in fines, and we need to understand we are under a legal obligation to comply with that settlement agreement from DOJ, period, end of story," James said.

More than 7,500 ADA lawsuits have been filed across the country since the beginning of last year. Many of them have been filed by the same people like Adams.

Calvert said under federal law, the people suing can't make any money, but the lawyers are. He said the one exception is California where state law allows the people suing under ADA to collect $4,000.

Calvert also said many serial lawsuit filers are represented by the same attorneys.

For example, Adams has been represented by Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania attorney Pete Monismith on her lawsuits.

The 41 Action News Investigators were unable to reach Monismith or Adams for comment.

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Andy Alcock can be reached at anderson.alcock@kshb.com.

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