Peter Panken Quoted in Article, “Wheelchair Lawsuits Bedevil UWS Merchants”

Crain's New York Business

Peter Panken, a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice, in the New York office, was quoted in an article titled "Wheelchair Lawsuits Bedevil UWS Merchants."

Following is an excerpt:

About once a week, a customer in a wheelchair will ring the bell at Gotham Food, a deli on Columbus Avenue. Owner Nicholas Parliaros will answer the door and pull out his temporary, foldable ramp. But his makeshift system for serving disabled customers makes him an easy mark for aggressive attorneys looking to sue businesses that are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Mr. Parliaros said he was slammed with a lawsuit and is now facing $30,000 in legal fees. ?...

"These lawyers find someone to be a plaintiff and go down the streets looking for low-hanging fruit," said labor and employment attorney Peter Panken, who spoke Tuesday morning to the concerned business owners.
Installing a temporary ramp costs in the range of $120, Mr. Panken said. The problem is in the legal fees. "You will hear fees like $10,000 or $20,000," Mr. Panken said. "And what has the lawyer done? He has a standard form complaint and he has taken two paragraphs to describe the particular store involved. It's an hour of work."