The CASp program was created pursuant to Senate Bill 1608 to promote and increase compliance with accessibility laws by providing equal public access in places of businesses to individuals with disabilities. One of the primary purposes of this Bill is to reduce unwarranted litigation that does not advance the goal. Partner has CASp on staff that can perform disabled-accessibility reviews and provide a CASp certification for your property. A CASp is a person who has been tested and certified by the State of California to ensure the individual is knowledgeable of state and federal accessibilities laws and regulations and possesses the expertise to promote access to facilities for persons with disabilities.
Some of the provisions of SB 1608 that apply to the business owner include the following:
- Improved clarification in the law to help reduce unwarranted damages and attorneys’ fees;
- Encouragement of building owners to obtain an accessibility review by a CASp professional to ensure compliance of their property;
- Establishment of a process for building owners who obtain a CASp certificate and report to be eligible for a 90 day stay and Early Evaluation Conference (EEC) with the court. The early evaluation conference will be to resolve the dispute between the two parties to deter frivolous cases and to evaluate avenues for early settlement. A stay is a temporary suspension of the accessibility claim. The benefit to a temporary stay is that attorneys will not be able to engage in motions, discovery, or other activities that incur expensive attorneys’ fees.
It should be noted that only businesses that have received the CASp certification before a complaint is filed are entitled to request the 90 day stay and EEC. If it is still beneficial to obtain a CASp certification to prevent future unwarranted litigation on your property. A CASp certification does not always imply that the property is in full compliance with the law, rather it shows that efforts are being made to provide a compliant facility.
Typical services include:
- CASp report and certificate which includes an accessibility evaluation of the facility, a detailed report of items not in compliance with construction related accessibility standards, and schedule for removing barriers;
- Pre-construction plan reviews to verify that the design is in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and/or local accessibility codes before construction begins;
- Site inspections to verify a facility meets all applicable federal, state, and/or local accessibility codes after it has been constructed;
- Barrier removal plans identifying barriers within an existing facility and recommendations for removal;
- Construction observation during barrier removal;
- Consulting in the development of strategies for on-going proactive architectural barrier removal plan and protection against lawsuits, minimizing owner liability;
- Design services provided at any point in the design or construction process to assist in the preparation of accessibility solutions for drawings, details, and specifications;
- Accessibility seminars to educate and answer questions on accessibility standards and provide insight into accessibility issues within the building and construction industries.