2 local restaurants settle ADA lawsuits brought by frequent litigants

Daily Post Staff Writer

Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuits filed by serial litigators against the Fish Market in San Mateo and the City Pub in Redwood City have been settled, according to court documents.

The lawsuit brought against the Fish Market at 1855 S. Norfolk St. in San Mateo was settled in November with an agreement between the restaurant and the man who sued, Gerardo Hernandez.

According to the agreement, “corrective work” will be done to the restaurant, including improving the bathrooms so someone in a wheelchair can comfortably navigate them without help. The restaurant will change the bar so that somebody in a wheelchair can be comfortably served there.

The restaurant will also train its waiters to let diners who cannot get up the stairs to the Top of the Market portion of the building to be served on the first floor with the Top of the Market’s menu.



The lawsuit was filed May 8 by Hernandez, who uses a wheelchair. He claimed that his problems with the men’s restroom at the restaurant resulted in a “severe bodily-functions accident.”

During dinner at the Fish Market with his girlfriend, Hernandez needed to use the restroom. In the restroom, the stall he “presumed” was accessible because it had grab bars ended up being too small because the stall door opened inward and made it “difficult or impossible for him to transfer to the toilet,” according to the suit.

Hernandez had a male friend along with him on the date who helped him transfer to the toilet, the suit said. But even with the friend’s help, Hernandez still suffered an accident, according to the suit.

Hernandez said he was “humiliated,” and he and his girlfriend left the Fish Market.

Hernandez has filed numerous ADA suits over the years, online records with the U.S. District Court show. He has sued Canada College, the Canyon Inn in Redwood City, the Dutch Goose in Menlo Park, Final Score Sports Bar in San Jose, Tapioca Express in San Jose, a Round Table and a Dairy Queen.

The Dutch Goose went through an extensive remodel in 2016, costing the business upwards of $1 million after Hernandez’s lawsuit claimed the restaurant wasn’t ADA compliant.



The lawsuit against City Pub, filed in May by Francisca Moralez, was also settled out of court on Aug. 30, according to federal court documents. The terms of the settlement are confidential, according to Tanya Moore, who works at Mission Law Firm in San Jose with Zachary Best, who was Moralez’s lawyer.

Moralez, who uses a wheelchair, claims in a federal suit filed on May 22 that she couldn’t enter the City Pub through the back door because there was no wheelchair ramp at the restaurant, located at 2620 Broadway. She also claims that she could not find a table at which she could sit comfortably in her wheelchair.

She claimed she had to sit at the bar and eat off a plate on a bar stool, which embarrassed her, and also said the women’s restroom door was heavy and difficult to open.

As of August, Moralez had sued 118 California businesses in the past decade.

Because of the nature of the two settlements, it was not known how much the two restaurants had to pay to those who sued them. However, some reports about ADA lawsuits claim that litigants can get as much as $18,000 a suit.