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Arizona Attorney Suing Businesses Over ADA Violations — Again

An Arizona attorney who sued hundreds of local businesses for violating state protections for those with disabilities is back at it.

Peter Strojnik, who represented a controversial nonprofit called AID, has so far filed 59 new lawsuits against local hotels and motels on behalf of a man from Casa Grande for a range of violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

This comes not longer after Strojnik settled a long running legal battle with the Arizona Attorney General over more than a thousand lawsuits against Arizona businesses for allegedly violating the Arizonans with Disabilities Act. That deal restricts the group from filing anymore such lawsuits in state court, but it does not prohibit Strojnik from suing in federal court under the ADA.

“It’s an industry wide problem. I don’t know if I can sue the whole industry or what. I don’t think I can,” Strojnik said.

He argues these new lawsuits are “to make sure the hotels once and for all start complying with the ADA.”

Strojnik said the cases are no longer associated with AID and that he is no longer doing them pro-bono, which he said he did when representing the nonprofit.

Representing more than a dozen of those hotels is Lindsay Leavitt, an attorney with Jennings, Strouss & Salmon. Leavitt also fought Strojnik in court over the last spate of lawsuits.

He said his clients are frustrated, especially those that have been sued before for similar issues.

“In some of their cases, this is the second or third time they’ve been sued by a serial plaintiff, each of the serial plaintiffs is represented by the same attorney,” Leavitt said. “They’re getting hit up what it seems like every year.”

Pushback from the business community over the lawsuits even prompted state lawmakers this past legislative session to change state law so businesses have an opportunity to correct violations before being sued. Those changes only apply to the state law, though.

Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.