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Posts Tagged ‘Court’

Are the Blind, Leading Legally? Ruling on Websites, ADA Puts MH Businesses on Notice

June 29th, 2017 Comments off
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Collage credit, MHProNews.com.

That a wide array of private businesses are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is not a surprise to thousands of manufactured housing industry professionals from coast to coast.

As recently as this month, Fair Housing attorney – Nadeen Green, JD – has published on the subject of accommodations for service animals and the ADA.

But in this recent court ruling, a federal judge in Florida ruled that a business – grocer Winn-Dixie – “must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because the website is “heavily integrated” with the store’s physical location,” the Ballard Sphar Accessibility [Law] Group (BSAG), tells MHProNews.

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Photo credits, BSAG, shown under fair use guidelines.

The legal brief said in part, “This case is notable because it is one of the first, if only, Title III ADA website accessibility cases to go to trial.”

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Photo credit, Cliff Davis Homes. See next caption and commentary below.

Title III of the ADA, which applies only to private entities, prohibits places of “public accommodation” from discriminating in the full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, and facilities on the basis of an individual’s disability. Drafted in 1990 before the internet boom, the ADA lists 11 categories of physical locations that fall under its purview,” Ballard Sphar said.

In Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., the plaintiff alleged that the Winn-Dixie website was inaccessible to blind individuals like him,” said BSAG. “Specifically, he alleged that the inaccessibility of the website prevented him from enjoying features of the website such as accessing digital coupons, using the online pharmacy, and finding store locations.”

BSAG elaborated by saying that “The judge found that the online content, including digital coupons, pharmacy, and store locator feature, were sufficiently connected to the physical stores such that the plaintiff was denied the full and equal enjoyment of Winn Dixie’s goods and services.”

The court ordered an injunction, requiring the parties to confer on a timeline for making the website accessible in conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 criteria, an international standard for making internet content accessible,” the legal group said.

The legal precedent could be far reaching.

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Does your business have to accommodate the public with a handicap accessible ramp? If so, then that or other scenarios may suggest that this new legal ruling may apply to your location(s). Photo credit, the Building Inspector.

MH Industry Impact?

Among the sources that tipped the Daily Business News to this issue is an industry attorney, who does not specialize in such matters, but felt that it could in fact be applied to a variety of businesses in the manufactured home industry that involves public access that falls under the ADA.  Such businesses would be well advised to see how this applies to them, and if their websites’ ought to meet under the ADA – “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 criteria.”  ##

(News, notice as with any news story that involves the law, no legal advice is being given. Rather, industry professionals that deal with the public in a physical location ought to consider if and how the ramifications for such a case may or may not impact their business.)

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.

 

UPDATE: Appeals Court Ruling in MHC Case

May 12th, 2017 Comments off

In a follow up to a story the Daily Business News originally covered in December, a Minnesota State Appeals Court ruled in favor of the new owners of the Lowry Grove Mobile Home Park in St. Anthony, in an ongoing dispute over the site’s future.

The story began back in September, when a group of Lowry Grove residents sued to block the sale of the property, testing a state law that said residents had 45 days to match an offer made on the property.

Homeowners partnered with Aeon Management, a Minneapolis based non-profit management company, to make a matching $6 million offer on June 10, the day of the deadline.

The offer was rejected; the residents sued, and Judge Joseph R. Klein ruled against the residents, writing in part that the statute “…does not grant them an unfettered ability to purchase the park [sic]. They were not deprived on that right because it was never, in fact, granted to them.

According to MPR News, while the appeals court rejected the claim, it did say said the community residents may be entitled to more money beyond the cost of their homes.

Residents did receive news in December that the deadline for closing the community has been pushed from March 15 to June 30, 2017, to allow children in the community to finish out the school year.

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The ruling is a win that provides finality for all parties,” said Traci Tomas, Vice President of The Village, LLC, the new owners of the community.

Interestingly, Alan Arthur, CEO of Aeon, also sees good in the ruling.

The court said residents may be entitled to more compensation,” said Arthur.

Alan Arthur. Credit: MPR News.

Residents will use the compensation process to keep pushing for a purchase and a Minnesota Supreme Court appeal is a possibility. We have options that we will be weighing with the residents and with our attorneys.”

The original story on the Lowry Grove community is linked here.

For more on residents working to purchase their communities, including the Dover Point Cooperative in New Hampshire coming together to buy the Polly Ann Park community, click here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Court Puts Overtime Rule on Hold

November 30th, 2016 Comments off
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Credit: Fox6Now.

U.S. District Court East Texas Judge Amos Mazzant blocked a new rule last week that would have made millions of American workers eligible for overtime pay, and that will be seen as relief for potentially thousands of manufactured and modular housing connected companies, and other businesses too.

A preliminary injunction preserves the status quo while the court determines the department’s authority to make the final rule as well as the final rule’s validity,” said Mazzant.

The ruling grants a preliminary injunction, pushing back an effective date of December 1st for the rule, while Judge Mazzant reviews the challenge to the requirement.

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Judge Amos Mazzant. Credit: Wikipedia.

Twenty-one states challenged the overtime expansion rule that would double the threshold at which executive, administrative and professional employees are exempt from overtime to $47,476 from $23,660.

According to USA Today, the states argue that Congress never intended to set any salary threshold for the exemptions or to allow the threshold to be raised every three years, as the Labor Department’s rule specifies.

This is a victory for small business owners and should give them some breathing room until the case can be properly adjudicated,” said Juanita Duggan, CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business. The federation is challenging the requirement in a separate action.

Credit: IMHA-RVIC.

Credit: IMHA-RVIC.

The Indiana Manufactured Housing Association (IMHA) were among the associations that alerted the industry of the action back in May, saying, in part, “This is a reminder that all employers will have to comply with the changes made to the overtime regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act by December 1st, 2016.

A variety of trade groups, including manufactured housing, was part of the suit that brought about this court ruling.

Unfortunately, for the time being, workers will continue to work longer hours for less pay thanks to this obstructionist litigation,” Christine Owens, head of the National Employment Law Project, which is a worker advocacy group.

Department of Labor officials and worker advocacy groups said the rule would help ensure managers and administrative employees are fairly paid for the extra hours they log and narrow a growing divide between wealthy and low- to middle income households. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.