Two downtown Nashville establishments and a hotel are being sued for allegedly not complying with disability standards.
Michael McGrath, who has muscular dystrophy and uses a powered wheelchair, filed lawsuits against Robert’s Western World, B.B. King’s Restaurant and Blues Club and the airport-area DoubleTree Hotel on Thursday.
The complaints allege that those places of business don’t follow Americans with Disabilities Act standards pertaining to access issues.
According to the lawsuit, the DoubleTree Hotel has an insufficient number of handicap parking spaces, ramps that don’t have handrails and steep curbs in the parking lot.
McGrath, who serves on Tennessee’s State Rehabilitation Council, also claims B.B. King’s and Robert’s Western World have several access obstacles and noncompliant bathrooms.
“I never sue for personal financial gain. I just want the businesses to make the changes to prevent further discrimination of people with disabilities,” McGrath said in an email to The City Paper.
“People with disabilities are consumers and we spend money too. If we cannot get in your shop, you are missing out on business.”
McGrath filed five similar lawsuits against restaurants and the University of Tennessee in the Eastern District of Tennessee over the past three years. Two of those cases were settled out of a court, with a stipulation that the establishments make changes pursuant to the ADA.
That act, signed in 1990 by former President George H.W. Bush, stipulates that “public accommodations” must be made by “commercial facilities,” or otherwise be considered discriminatory.
“McGrath has now and continues to have reasonable grounds for believing that he has been and will be discriminated against because of the Defendant’s continuing deliberate and knowing violations of the ADA,” the lawsuit states.
ADA complaints can be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division or filed via lawsuit in federal court, according to the DOJ website.
“Some people say, why don’t you just write a letter. Letter writing campaigns rarely work and are often ignored,” McGrath said. “Again, the ADA is not new. It's been a law for 20 years. It’s time to start following the law.”
Management at the places named in the suit had not return calls to The City Paper as of Friday afternoon.