By Chris Palamountain

In the past 3 months, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina has dismissed no fewer than 8 cases brought by Denise Payne and the National Alliance for Accessibility, Inc., an organization that Ms. Payne co-founded.  Ms. Payne and her organization sued at least 84 businesses in this judicial district based on a single visit to the area in June, 2010.  Each of the lawsuits alleged violations of Title III of the ADA. 

In two cases, the court found that these plaintiffs had no standing, despite allegations that Ms. Payne had visited the sites previously, travels to North Carolina on business occasionally, and intended to visit the sites again on trips to North Carolina planned for particular months within the next year.  The Court focused on the fact that Ms. Payne’s Florida residence was “more than seven hundred (700) miles away” from the defendants’ facilities and her lack of “definitive plans” to return to the facility that was the subject of the suit.  The Court found the allegation that Ms. Payne planned to visit Cary, North Carolina again in May 2012 and would return to the facilities in question at that time was insufficient, noting that the case was indistinguishable from four other cases filed by the same plaintiffs that had been dismissed wherein Payne had also alleged nothing more than a planned May 2012 visit to Fayetteville, North Carolina and her desire to visit the establishments in question on that visit.