A double-amputee from Brooklyn has sued nearly 200 businesses in the last seven years for failing to accommodate customers in wheelchairs—which some see as abusing the legal system while others classify as fighting for fellow citizens with disabilities.
Zoltan Hirsch, age 37, has filed 195 claims since 2010, the New York Post reported Saturday. The businesses are reportedly located across New York, ranging from restaurants to bodegas to optometrists.
An attorney who defended a bar against another disabled serial litigant noted that most businesses settle to avoid paying prolonged legal fees.
“Why would somebody pay $100,000 in legal fees to go to trial when they can pay a fraction of that and be done with it?” Dennis Kearney told the Post. He said that he suspects that lawyers and their clients split the attorney’s fees, which can cost $20,000.
However, Kenneth Shiotani of the National Disability Rights Network said that such lawsuits were often the “most effective enforcement mechanism” to ensure that businesses are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.