South Florida businesses big and small are under siege from a handful of litigious advocates for the disabled who are using a bold, sue-’em-all strategy to enforce social change and collect piles of legal fees. Plaintiffs, including a half-dozen non-profit corporations and associated individuals, have filed more than 600 federal suits in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. They are using the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to demand better access to public accommodations for the handicapped.

Nearly all those cases, generally brought by a few disabled people acting as surrogates for others they say have complained about inaccessible buildings, were filed in the last 2� years. The filing rates are snowballing: More than half the cases were opened this year, according to court records.