A controversial group that’s flooded the Valley with disability lawsuits is now suing the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, claiming that the state has failed to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities (AID) filed the lawsuit on December 7. It’s a direct challenge to the Attorney General in response to the state’s intervention in more than 1,000 of AID’s open lawsuits.
“The Office of Attorney General has never sufficiently conducted compliance reviews in accordance with this law,” AID attorney Peter Strojnik claims in the lawsuit.
Strojnik refused to answer questions about the Attorney General’s lawsuit from ABC15 outside of court Monday. He called ABC15 the “worst media outlet ever,” and told a reporter “I don’t talk to lying reporters like yourself.”
On behalf of AID, Strojnik has filed more than 1,700 lawsuits in the Phoenix area from February to August. Nearly all of AID’s lawsuits allege signage violations in business parking lots, including signs that are inches too low.
An ABC15 investigation exposed AID was demanding thousands of dollars to settle the cases even though a person with disability never visited businesses before suing. The station also uncovered that Strojnik is under state bar investigation and revealed that AID is funded by a man with a history of consumer fraud charges.
AID’s lawsuit against the Attorney General complicates an already convoluted set of legal challenges facing AID and its attorneys:
– In August, the Attorney General’s Office filed a motion to intervene in AID’s open lawsuits filed in Maricopa County Superior Court. A judge granted the motion. On December 8, the state filed a motion to dismiss all open AID lawsuits in state court.
– Several federal judges have also challenged AID’s standing to file lawsuits. (Some of AID’s cases have been moved to federal court).
– AID attorneys Peter Strojnik and Fabian Zazueta have been sanctioned for their conduct. U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake also scheduled a hearing to demand answers about AID and its attorneys’ tactics.
Just weeks after the Attorney General’s Office intervened in the case, AID filed more than 9,000 ADA complaints with the state.
AID’s lawsuit alleges that the Attorney General’s Office hasn’t done anything with those complaints.
The Attorney General’s Office said it wouldn’t comment on AID’s new lawsuit. However, a spokesperson said the state has reviewed the 9000 documents.
“Out of the 9,000 documents dropped off at our office approximately 6,000 appear to be actual complaints,” said Mia Garcia, Attorney General’s Office spokeswoman. “Our next step will be to have (AID) sign and affirm the 6,000 complaints. Only then will the complaints be official ‘filed.’”
The Attorney General’s Office provided the below picture of the complaints AID dropped off.
Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at firstname.lastname@example.org