La Mision restaurant fighting "unfair" disability discrimination lawsuits

La Mision restaurant fighting "unfair" disability discrimination lawsuits

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - The longtime owners of a popular Midland restaurant are facing a series of legal complaints stemming from alleged failure to comply with accessibility guidelines under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

La Mision, located at 1008 S. Big Spring St., is accused of discriminating against visually impaired customers by failing to provide Braille menus, according to court documents obtained by NewsWest 9.

A plaintiff in a separate case claimed the design of the restaurant's front entrance failed to meet the needs of customers in wheelchairs, owner Bertha Ramirez said.

"These lawsuits are not fair," she said Friday in an exclusive interview with NewsWest 9. "This is all [the result of] somebody looking for ways to use [the ADA] to make some quick money off of us."

No customers, employees or other individuals were injured on restaurant property as a result of the alleged compliance issues, according to Ramirez.

"I understand [facing a lawsuit] if someone [had gotten] hurt," she said. "Did you fall? Sue us... But this all came out of nowhere... [We had] no warning and nobody complained to us about [any ADA compliance issues]. Nobody said a thing."

Her daughter, La Mision manager Christina Cooper, said "about 10 other nearby businesses" were also slapped with similar lawsuits.

The woman who served her with legal papers revealed the same man was behind every case, according to Cooper.

Plaintiffs' attorneys listed in court documents provided by Cooper and Ramirez could not be reached for comment.

The family's own attorneys, Allen Stroder and Richard Alvarado, also did not return calls for comment.

"This is not the way to... take advantage of [disability] laws," said Ramirez.

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