Sometimes things are not as they seem. We all understand that the Americans for Disability Act has improved accessibility for persons with disabilities over the last two decades. However, what we don’t know is that the manipulation of a detail of a good thing can be a really bad thing.
Eric Holder and our Department of Injustice has determined that every community, school and hotel pool must have a permanently fixed pool lift for each body of water, so 1 for pool and 1 for hot tub. Since September 2010 when guidelines for “recreational facilities” were issued, most people in the swimming pool industry thought that one portable lift would be enough for both bodies of water. As of January 31, 2012, the DOJ clarified that is not enough and that compliance is necessary by May 15, 2012. There are an estimated 300,000 public pools and spas in the country that need to comply and less than 5,000 pool lifts were sold in the U.S. in 2011. With only a FOUR month window given from DOJ to comply, there is no ready source to provide an adequate number of pool lifts to meet this demand, despite desperate efforts by manufacturers to design and produce them. Even those who tried to comply by purchasing portable lifts in 2011 will not be in compliance now. Manufacturers have been working round the clock to develop retrofit solutions to “fix” their lifts to pool and spa decks.
There is danger of government legislation without industry consultation. These same recreational facilities were just required to comply with a mandated public safety upgrade, VGB legislation, which made pool drains safer – at a cost of $5,000 to $10,000 . Each of these lifts cost between $3,000 and $10,000 and installation can add $5,000 to $10,000 to the total. In addition to the lack of foresight regarding production or availability, expense certainly was not taken into consideration-even during this downturn in the economy.
As the perfect storm swirls, voila! – an instant payday for unscrupulous trial lawyers whose only objective is to file lawsuits for immediate settlements, otherwise known as legal extortion. The point is not whether the case could be won or not by the property with the pool. The point is that it would cost the property tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to win the lawsuit so it is cheaper to simply pay the parasitic leech to go away. I refer to this perfect storm as a campaign contribution payback because the trial lawyers generously donated more than $45 million to President Obama’s campaign in 2008. In defense of the trial lawyers though, at least they are getting a return on their investment with those campaign contributions. But then again, isn’t that why they donate in the first place?