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Handicapped Chasidic Jew Sues NYC Businesses That Are Not Handicap Accessible


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6/6/2011
Gerry Oginski
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There is something to be said for standing up for one's rights. In fact, that's what I do as personal injury and medical malpractice attorney every single day. However, there comes a time when bringing a lawsuit reaches ridiculous proportions. Here's what I mean.

Zoltan Hirsch, a double amputee in a wheelchair, goes around the five boroughs of New York looking for stores that do not allow handicapped access. When he finds such a store or business, he takes a photograph and immediately notifies his Florida-based lawyer who then contacts an investigator and begins an immediate investigation.

Within the last year, Mr. Hirsch has filed 87 federal lawsuits seeking damages and legal fees. In each of the lawsuits, he claims actual damages of only $500. However, his attorney is entitled to receive fees which, according to the New York Post, can reach $15,000 per case. One lawyer who is defending a business in a case brought by Hirsch said that Hirsch's lawyer appears to be exploiting the Americans with Disabilities Act which specifically allows the payment of lawyer fees.

It is perplexing why Mr. Hirsch is only seeking $500 for limited access to various stores and business. In fact, in the Sunday New York Post, dated June 5, 2011, the report actually questions the validity of some of his lawsuits. For example, they do not believe that Mr. Hirsch, an Orthodox Jew, would ever frequent a strip club. Hirsch Says he's entitled to do whatever he chooses. Another questionable claim, reported by the Post, was against a seafood restaurant that serves nonkosher food. Being an orthodox Jew, he would never eat such food. He also brought a claim against a spa salon that specializes in giving pedicures. The New York Post raised the question of how a double amputee could realistically ever frequent such a business.

So, is this handicapped crusader bringing these claims to fight for handicapped victims who simply cannot gain access to the stores, or is there some hidden agenda in bringing 87 lawsuits within one year? The answer is not clear cut, nor does the New York Post answer the question though they raise certain innuendo. We will know the answer when the courts decide the validity of his claims.


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