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Avoiding Serial Litigants: San Francisco's Accessible Business Entrance Program

2 hours of Continuing Education Credits were issued for DSA CASp Certification Renewal, International Code Council (ICC), and LU/HSW Continuing Education Credits for the American Institute of Architect (AIA).

A Certificate of Attendance cannot be issued to individuals who did not attend the live webinar session. 

You may self-report to AIA, DSA, and ICC for continuing education credits.

WEBINAR | 9:00 am - 11:00 am PDT

In San Francisco, serial litigants have continued to file claims against small businesses for violations of the American with Disabilities Act despite its 30-year existence. For San Francisco, this has been an especially difficult issue in a city with many hills and steep streets and narrow and crowded sidewalks. Despite state and city ordinances mandating owners to inform tenants about whether accessibility issues have been made before leasing or renting, the “drive-by” claims continued. A city supervisor, frustrated by the lack of awareness in her district, created a mandatory, first in the nation, San Francisco Building Code ordinance requiring every building owner whose building housed a “public accommodation”, with certain exceptions, have their main entrances surveyed by a CASp or design professional. The Accessible Business Entrance Program has started the process of making entry to thousands of public accommodations more accessible and at the same time making their goods and services available to a wider segment of their community.


  • Lessons learned from enforcement of the ABE project: Code compliant versus useable;
  • Provide tools to take home and apply to their own communities to improve accessibility and commerce;
  • Foster discussion of the benefits of putting hard-earned dollars into businesses and not lawsuits;
  • The five (5) most common non-compliant elements of doorways and on-site parking.


Arnie Lerner, FAIA, CASp, has been practicing within the preservation and disability access communities in the San Francisco bay area for the past 38 years. Mr. Lerner is a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) with the state of California and as such has served as an expert and is experienced in reviewing a variety of buildings for compliance with applicable state and federal construction-related accessibility standards. The firm has won design awards related to accessibility in a diverse range of projects including the historic Alameda County Courthouse, the Del Mar Theater in City of Santa Cruz, and the Haas Lilienthal House, a national treasure with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Mr. Lerner serves as a member of the San Francisco Access Appeals Commission, the SF Codes Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Education and Outreach Committee of the California Commission on Disability Access.

Richard (Rick) Halloran recently retired as a Senior Building Inspector for the City and County of San Francisco Department of Building Inspection. He served the Supervisor for the Technical Services and the Disabled Access Divisions. Rick has served on the CALBO access committee and currently teaches accessible housing for CALBO. He currently serves on the California Commission for Disability Access checklist committee and is a Commissioner on the San Mateo County Commission for Disability Access serving as the chair of the ADA compliance committee. For the last 14 years, Rick has taught a 3 unit 16 week college courses on State and Federal Accessibility Regulations for the built environment at the College of San Mateo. When not teaching, Rick is currently working as a consultant and owner of City CASp Consulting in San Francisco.

2020 Summer Webinar | Friday, July 10, 2020, from 9 am - 11 am PDT