Lawsuit claims The Jacksonville Landing not accessible to disabled man

by: Jenna Bourne, Action News Jax Updated:

A paraplegic man claims in a federal lawsuit that The Jacksonville Landing is violating a federal law meant to protect people with disabilities.

The lawsuit accuses five defendants of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act: the City of Jacksonville, Jacksonville Landings Investments, Chicago Pizza & Sports Grille, Sleiman Enterprises and HOA Restaurant Holder, which owns Hooters.

In the lawsuit, Carlos Brito claimed he wasn’t able to access the public bathrooms on the first floor, second floor, in Hooters, or in Chicago Pizza.

The Miami man said he also found handicap parking spots and ramps out of compliance with the ADA during his June 5 visit.

“Well, I think that’s very sad. And I definitely think that everyone should be able to come out and enjoy this beautiful environment, and the people, and the energy out here equally,” said Cameron Smith, who works at The Landing.

Managers at Hooters and Chicago Pizza both told Action News Jax they did not know anything about the lawsuit, which was filed last week.

“Private businesses are responsible for ensuring ADA compliance in their facilities. In this case, that would be Sleiman Enterprises,” said City of Jacksonville spokesperson Tia Ford.

Sleiman Enterprises leases The Landing from the City of Jacksonville.

The Jacksonville Landing’s General Manager, Janice Lowe, said a consultant comes out “as needed” to evaluate ADA compliance.

“I don’t think it’s enough unless every person who would like to come and visit this area is able to do that,” said Smith.

Over the past few months, an Action News Jax Investigation uncovered dozens of new ADA lawsuits in Jacksonville.

The Miami attorney who filed Brito’s lawsuit filed another ADA lawsuit the same day on behalf of a second Miami client, Doug Longhini, who visited Doubletree by Hilton Riverfront Jacksonville.

Attorney Alfredo Garcia-Menocal declined Action News Jax’s request for an interview.

Garcia-Menocal said Brito and Longhini would not speak about their cases either.

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