A campaign by the Israel Accessibility Association against the misuse of disability badges by their family members / Accessibility Israel / Leo Burnett
In recent years, there has been an increase of thousands of percent in the number of representative proceedings submitted to the courts and which deal with accessibility issues.
Such procedures are opened serially, usually by the same parties who copy the same claims from procedure to procedure.
What these procedures have in common is that their submission does not require a significant investment in checking the business and its conduct in the field of accessibility.
In order to submit them, a brief review of the website of the business is sometimes sufficient, when the applicant does not physically come to the place at all.
Another issue common to these requests is the exemption from paying a court fee.
As of 2018, an obligation to pay a fee was established for submitting applications for the approval of class actions, however applications on accessibility issues are not required to pay a court fee, and rightly so in my opinion.
However, it seems that the combination of granting the exemption from paying a fee, together with the ease and speed of producing a cause of action in this type of procedure, has created an absurd situation in which countless applications are submitted in an assembly line as they are copied from one another.
For the most part, most of these proceedings end in compensated withdrawal arrangements that include fee payments and compensation to the plaintiffs.
This is not a binding precedent, but it can direct the way/ShutterStock
Despite various initiatives, so far the aforementioned state of affairs has not been settled by the legislator, so the solution to the problem remains in the hands of the courts, which have the power to award compensation and fees, only in cases where there is a real benefit to the public, thus creating the right path for filing these types of claims In appropriate cases only.
After years of legislative inadequacy in which requests of this type became the most common requests in the world of class actions, the District Court in Tel Aviv recently issued a ruling under which it consolidated a series of class actions in the field of accessibility.
In those proceedings, filed by The same applicant and the same lawyers, the applicant was "interested" or "searched" on the Internet for businesses in various fields: from medical services, through businesses in the field of fashion to building pergolas.
In relation to all those businesses, the applicant claims to have encountered various violations of the accessibility regulations.
The applicant put the estimated damages to the public at amounts ranging from NIS 1.6 million to NIS 7.8 million in relation to each procedure.
Further to this and even before the submission of an answer, departure arrangements were drawn up, where in all of them it was agreed upon the payment of fees and remuneration to the petitioners in sums amounting to several thousand shekels.
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Attorney Eitan Brosh. The court ruled that a lawsuit can only be filed after prior application to the business/Nicky Westefahl
In the judgment given in relation to all those requests in a consolidated manner, the court referred to the fact that these are not material violations of the accessibility regulations, and that these can be corrected by drawing the attention of the violator.
The fact that those businesses quickly fixed the deficiencies pointed out by the applicant after submitting the applications, testified in the eyes of the court, that if they had drawn their attention to this matter prior to submitting the application, they would have acted in exactly the same way.
The court referred to the fact that these are applications submitted against small businesses and to the heartache and expenses caused to small businesses against which a procedure of this type was initiated and even stated, as a matter of principle, that prior to the submission of applications dealing with the issues of the lack of publication of an accessibility statement, the lack of publication of accessibility arrangements and the lack of publication of coordinator details Accessibility, the person submitting the request is required to make a prior contact with the business he wishes to sue.
In light of its principled position, the court approved the applicant's departure from those proceedings, but rejected the parties' agreements regarding the payment of NIS and compensation, with the exception of a payment of NIS 1,000, which reflects the cost of sending a warning letter.
In my humble opinion, the same elegant solution of the court that provides an answer Part of the state of affairs that has arisen due to the large number of requests in this area, it is also appropriate to apply it in relation to other deficiencies in the field of accessibility that can be resolved easily and quickly after appropriate notice, before submitting an application to the court.
Although this is a ruling that does not establish a halacha, it does not bind other district courts and serves As a guiding judgment for the magistrates' courts, it is clear that this is an important judgment, which has the purpose of directing the way for the many procedures filed in this field and perhaps filtering between those that are worthy of discussion and examination and those that have no real benefit.
The author is a partner in the Arnon law firm, Tadmor-Levi and an expert in the field of litigation and class actions
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