Squeeze Out

UPDATE: Bee reports that Squeeze Inn owner will move rather than try to fight lawsuit.  Let’s just hope it’s not to Roseville.

handicapped-adaChalk this one up in the category of “money grubbing, litigious douchebags ruining all of our fun.”  From the Bee:

Aficionados say the burger sold at the Squeeze Inn is perfection (including me), the consummate marriage of bun, ground meat and melted cheddar cheese. But a disabled woman has filed suit, saying the one-time coffeehouse with 450 square feet of space at 7918 Fruitridge Road (left) is anything but perfect. She says the kitschy confines where photos of fishermen, fighters and racers abound break federal law and violate her civil rights.

Here’s the really, really shitty part: the owner of the ‘Squeeze, Travis Hausauer, says that to make the fixes would cost so much that he’d be better closing his doors.

All the facts in the case, from the identification of the lawyer, Jason Singleton, as a wheelchair chaser who goes around finding small businesses that don’t meet all ADA guidelines then finding handicapped people to file suit against them, to the “victim” Kimberly Block, who is apparently a vegetarian (ok I made that up), make this case a grade-a shitball. But it brings this whole issue into regional and — thanks to that loud-mouthed Fieri guy — national focus.

Here’s what should happen and here’s what will happen: What should happen is that these type of ADA code issues be brought before the city or county and not be resolvable by lawsuits. If a disabled person has a problem with a business, they should complain to the city or county, an inspector would go out, issue an order to upgrade the property and/or fine the business. What will happen is that this case will be settled out of court, the lawyer will take the bulk of the settlement, and the “victim” will go about her tofu-eating life.

The totally tiny Squeeze Inn
The totally tiny Squeeze Inn

What should happenis that a high-priced civil litigator who is a fan of the beloved cheese halo around the Squeeze with Cheese will take on the case pro-bono and shred the a-hole attorney who brought the suit, forever garnering the nickname “The Crutch-buster.” What will happen is that another a-hole will be hired by the ‘Squeeze and will go for a quick settlement, perpetuating this nonsense.

What should happenis that Guy Fieri would use his television notoriety for the forces of good and do a special on small businesses and the abuse of ADA regulations and focus on businesses that do right by their customers of all abilities, maybe even start a defense fund for the ‘Squeeze, or at least give their case some national attention. What will happen is that the Food Network won’t touch a controversial issue with a ten-foot spatula, and will totally ignore the issue.

What might happen is that materials, labor, and know-how will be donated by the various contractors, heavy equipment operators, and general construction guys that have held down stools at the legendary burger joint since well before TV got a hold of it. Then the same guys build a horribly graded driveway to the d-bag attorney’s house, taking time only to pause and dip their nuts in the setting concrete so that Jason Singleton Esq. can see what it means to have real balls.

We can always dream, can’t we?

26 thoughts on “Squeeze Out”

  1. There should be some criteria that grandfathers in older places or establishes a formula with certain levels of ADA accommodation based on business volume, square footage, and other variables.

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  2. I always thought that there was a grandfather clause too. I was under the impression that unless a certain amount of improvements were made to a space, the ADA rule didn’t apply unless it was constructed at the time the law passed.

    Maybe it’s like the FCC, you can do whatever you want until someone complains.

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  3. Next time your suggestion to a problem is a new law or regulation think of this example. Whenever you trade liberty/freedoms for forced equality/safety you get neither. Who donates more to the people who put the details in to laws(politicians) than the attorney’s lobby? Not many. What did/does Obama, the Clintons, and Gray Davis do for a living? They were/are al attorneys? Imagine the perks that would be written in if most Republican leaders were all Ice Cream men. MMMMM mandatory soft serve at all gas stations.

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  4. Would that be self-serve soft-serve like in the college dorms? That would be awesome (so long as there was complimentary hand sanitizer I could use after pumping gas and before getting the soft serve. Could we have that codified, please?) 🙂

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  5. Hey no need to insult vegetarians. She is not one, so that is uncalled for. We don’t insult you for killing defenseless animals. Well maybe a little. 😉

    Kidding, but really, just stick to the case. You have a point without the insults.

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  6. All available options (fight, close, move, settle with the extortionists) will require money.

    It would be cool if an established local website (hint hint) was able to setup a page to collect money and pull together resources for whatever comes next for these folks.

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  7. Hold on now, this place is a treasure, yes, but not a charity. They’re a business and if we want to help support them, we’ll support their business by eating their awesome hamburgers. But I, for one, wouldn’t feel comfortable collecting money for some non-charitable enterprise, but that’s just me.

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  8. Sac Bee commenters have posted her address, and are trying to organize some sort of on-site protest.

    I’m thinking of heading over there this afternoon, and sue the hell out of everyone when I slip on their drool and throw out my back.

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  9. Finally! The internet being put to good use– to terrorize wheelchair bound women. Tho it might be funny to ask to use HER bathroom, and slip while in there…

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  10. I don’t get one thing about the ADA.

    So, if I was, say, Asian, and I couldn’t be a member of a private club, I couldn’t sue, right? because it’s a private club and they can discriminate if they want, even if race is a protected class.

    But a private restaurant is not allowed to be restrictive to members of a protected class? or are the disabled “more” protected than religious/ethnic groups?

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  11. this is the problem with America. Do you believe for one second that this woman eats there? The system of so called law here is broken and needs to be fixed. All this does is cost the taxpayers money one way or another. now we lose the squeeze, it is what it is, don’t like the access go eat some where else. Kimberly Block and Singleton are crooks.

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  12. Moe- a private restaurant holds itself out as open to the public. If you want to rent a room in your house out, you actually CAN discriminate as to race/gender/religion/handicap. But if you own an apartment complex (“open to the public”), you can’t.

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  13. Dipping balls into the cement….where do you come up with this stuff?! LOL! I got the humor in your vegetarian statement…but most vegetarians don’t have a sense of humor (so serious). oooops.

    I am hoping those construction workers will donate their time…and I hope Block Head falls off a cliff in her wheelchair, and takes that Singleton with her.

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  14. Hey Nick, FYI: the ADA was signed into law by Bush I, so your rant against Democratic lawyer/politicians and attempting to link them with the ADA rings hollow. Because if you’ve ever worked in politics you’ll know, whether a Democrat or Republican, that going to law school is the one piece of advice you’re always going to get from pols. Another is to know what you’re talking about so as not to sound ignorant.

    The ADA was purposely written and passed into law with NO enforcement mechanism. This means the only way to enforce its provisions is by filing suit. Unfortunately, this has lead to situations we are witnessing now. It’s kind of like a monopoly, when you’ve got a market cornered there’s no way in hell you’re voluntarily going to give that corner up. Not without it being pried away from you by regulation, new statute, or competition.

    Without judging as to whether this is right or wrong, this behavior from lawyers shouldn’t be surprising, any smart businessman would exploit all of their tools in order to maximize the bottom line.

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  15. Hey Mezzicun- the ADA doesn’t allow for anything but an injunction and attys fees. California’s Unruh act DOES allow for a monetary award in an ADA claim, which is why California has such a problem with these suits. And Unruh had a big fat D by his name. So you do sort of sound ignorant.

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  16. I’m cutting and pasting this editorial to the Bee I read this morning. First off, I’m so glad she isn’t going to visit us but really, does anyone want to go in on a response letter with me? Sounds fun!

    Re “Suit may drive out the tiny Squeeze Inn” (Page A1, July 10): I have been following this from Colorado, and reading the online comments. The attitude displayed by the temporarily able-bodied is, quite simply, sickening. The obscenities, the personal attacks and the pure vitriol displayed because people with disabilities want to have the same access to public businesses is repellent.

    The owner of the Squeeze Inn has to obey health, fire and building codes. He also needs to obey the Americans With Disabilities Act requirements. This is a law that has been in place for 19 years! It isn’t new, difficult or expensive. There are tax incentives, and there is no requirement to go out of business.

    A bell outside with a sign inviting people with disabilities to ring for service would have done the job. Adding the phone number so that they could call from their car would also be helpful. This is neither hard nor expensive. It does require thought and consideration.

    I was looking for a place to vacation. After reading all this nauseating hatred against people with disabilities, complete with promises by business owners to close if they see me coming, I most certainly won’t be coming to Sacramento! I doubt that I am the only person with disabilities staying away, either.

    – Sharon Campbell, Pueblo, Colo.

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  17. I’m sure Pueblo has a TGIF or Taco Bell that Sharon would enjoy, wihout having to come all the way to Sacramento’s TGIFs and Taco Bells.

    A “bell” outside won’t work- what about the blind? How are they supposed to find the freakin bell? And what if you are blind and deaf? Once you find the bell, how do you know it has been rung?!? Where do you hang the bell– High for the people with bad backs, or low for the wheelchair bound? Ditto posting your phone number- what about the blind? Or people without hands? How are they supposed to dial?

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  18. Mezzicun: “The ADA was purposely written and passed into law with NO enforcement mechanism.”

    Yep- at the federal level. In California, when you combine the ADA with the Unruh Act (1959), a plaintiff gets all kinds of financial incentive to make “I can’t access the business” claims. Your description wholly omitted that aspect. And that made you sound ignorant of the impact of a federal law on California business. Particularly on a Sacramento blog.

    Unruh is still a D. Leave it to a D to penalize small business owners and ultimately put them out of business. I hope you like Taco Bell and TGIF, because that’s all you’ll have left. Maybe you should “know what you’re talking about so as not to sound ignorant.”

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