Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Predatory ADA Access Lawsuits -- SB 1186

In the recent past 12 different bills have been introduced in the California legislature attempting to stop the lawsuit abuse with ADA access cases.  The Legislature has rejected each of those attempts. 

Now United States Senator Feinstein has entered the fray.  She wrote a letter to Darell Steinberg, Senate President Pro Tem, telling him to exercise leadership and get a law passed that stops the abuse.  If the Legislature did not act to solve the problem, Senator Feinstein threatened action on the national scale. 

These ADA lawsuits have been abusive.  Not too long ago, Tanya Moore filed hundreds of lawsuits up and down the Highway 99 corridor against small businesses. 

These ADA access lawsuits shake-down business owners, landlords and tenants for $4,000 per violation plus attorneys' fees for any minor violation of the ADA accessibility rules.  A mirror might hang one inch too high from the floor, a disabled parking plaque might be the wrong color, and voila, the defendants are facing $8,000 in fines.  Of course, fighting it is not worth the battle.  In the end, the defendants lose and end up paying attorneys' fees as well. 

Currently, the Legislature is considering SB 1186.  It can be found here:  It requires plaintiffs to provide a 30-day fix-it notice to defendants before initiating a lawsuit.  This should stem much of the lawsuit abuse.  Most employers would readily fix a technical violation if it was brought to their attention.  However, this won't fix those situations where the cost of improvements might be so substantial that upgrades are not "readily achievable." 

It's also nice to see Senator Feinstein call the almighty Steinberg on the carpet.  If you want to see her letter, here's the link:

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