This story was originally printed in the Post on Jan. 24.
BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
The attorney who sued the Dutch Goose in west Menlo Park and the Canyon Inn in Redwood City, claiming that they didn’t meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, is now suing Nazareth Ice Oasis in Redwood City.
The lawsuit has caused the rink at 3140 Bay Road to close its upstairs grill, Nazareth’s Asset Management Director Michael Ohayon confirmed.
Marva Samuel, who uses a walker due to her osteoarthritis and a degenerative disc disease, visited the ice rink on Nov. 18 with her family, according to the suit.
In the suit, Samuel says she and her granddaughter wanted to eat at the upstairs grill, but found out there was no elevator to get her upstairs.
Samuel asked an employee if there was a way to get up the stairs, when the employee told her that the stairs were her only option, she said “What about the Americans with Disabilities Act?” the suit claims.
The employee allegedly said that the building was immune to the ADA because it was built before the law started.
Samuel’s family members ended up shuttling food from the upstairs grill to her, as she stayed on the rink’s first floor.
“As a woman who prides herself on her independence, having to rely on her grandchildren to help feed her was embarrassing,” the lawsuit states.
Ohayon said that the interaction captured in the lawsuit does not sound like anything the rink’s employees would say, nor is it what Nazareth instructs employees to say when they get similar questions.
Closing rink a possibility
Ohayon said that keeping the grill open and installing an elevator is “cost prohibitive,” but since Samuel also says that the bathrooms, parking lot and bleachers in the downstairs view area are inaccessible, Nazareth has to determine what to do with the rink — spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix it up, or closing it.
Samuel’s attorney, Oakland-based Pail Rein, is the same lawyer who with another client, Gerardo Hernandez, sued the Fish Market in San Mateo, Canada College, the Dutch Goose and Canyon Inn, among many others.
Rein and Samuel have also sued a gym in Antioch.
The Dutch Goose went through an extensive remodel in 2016, costing upwards of $1 million, after Hernandez’s lawsuit claiming the restaurant wasn’t ADA compliant.
In the lawsuit, Hernandez claims he visited the Dutch Goose on May 16, 2013, and had difficulty getting around. He claims to have even suffered “an extremely humiliating bodily functions accident” when he couldn’t get to the men’s room at the Dutch Goose.
And this isn’t the first time that Nazareth has faced an ADA lawsuit. On Feb. 8, quadriplegic attorney Scott Johnson filed a lawsuit against Nazareth’s 76 gas station, at 275 El Camino Real.
Rein and Johnson have filed numerous lawsuits in the state, according to online U.S. District Court records.
In 2015, 70% of the ADA suits filed in California were brought by just six law firms, according to the Northern California Record, a website funded by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.