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Sam, Attorney at Law
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 27011
Experience:  More than 20 years of experience practicing law.
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Handicapped Access - Small Claims Court - In the State of

Customer Question

Handicapped Access - Small Claims Court - In the State of Michigan can someone use Small Claims Court to sue the owner of a business that does not provide correct Handicapped Access. Either no ramp or ramps are too steep. The State of California provides this within their Small Claims Court System and I would like to know if our State provides this. The judgement would be for $5,000 and if the problem is corrected within 30 days then the judgement would be $1,000.
Thank You. ***** Gate
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Sam replied 1 year ago.

Hello Carol

This is Samuel. I suggest the Michigan small claims is not the proper court. As you can see from the Michigan statute below, small claims is reserved for recovery of money. That would not include any punitive damages, which is what you would be seeking.

I suggest you would need to file in the District Court.

600.8401 Small claims division; creation; judge; jurisdiction.

Sec. 8401.

A small claims division is created in each district as a division of the district court. A judge of the district court shall sit as judge of the small claims division. The jurisdiction of the small claims division shall be confined to cases for the recovery of money in which the amount claimed does not exceed the following:

(a) Beginning September 1, 2012, $5,000.00.

(b) Beginning January 1, 2015, $5,500.00.

(c) Beginning January 1, 2018, $6,000.00.

(d) Beginning January 1, 2021, $6,500.00

(e) Beginning January 1, 2024, $7,000.00.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good Afternoon, My server has been down. I want to be sure you understand what I'm trying to say. This is not a Landlord-Tenant question - It is an American Disability situation - the access to buildings is the problem - many of the businesses in small towns still are not accessible and since it is a Federal law does the State of Michigan provide a private person to sue in Small Claims Court or the State not allow this? Thank You. If you would provide your address - I will send you a check. The site would not accept the password ***** put in. P.S. Example: I went to a funeral visitation and the ramp was so steep I could not get into the Funeral Home, they also did not have any parking spaces available.
Expert:  Sam replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. Carol. There is no law under the Disability Act that requires a business to add or renovate and already existing handicap access if it causes a hardship onto the business. Now, if that business is going to do any renovations on the building at all then they would be required to add handicap accessibility up to the law and code. And while any new structures are mandated to have the up to code handicap accessories those buildings that were already in existence before 1990. The already existing buildings have been "grandfathered in" as long as there are no renovations done to the building.

As to suing someone, there is no special designee to assist with that. You can file on your own or find a local attorney to help you.

Expert:  Sam replied 1 year ago.

You can contact the Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service and discuss with someone there. 1-***-***-****. That agency works with the disabled in the state of Michigan.

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