Would be super interested to hear more about this practice. When I was a young lawyer, we defended one of these. And by “defended,” I mean we immediately realized that there was nothing to argue (the curbs were in fact .25 inches too high in the parking garage) and told client to promptly pay up.
Now I think about it. The little store my family owned back in the early 90s had this 4-5 inch high curb just in the front of the store under the overhang. So we could have been sued for that?
thanks for the reply @Dgoedken, @Jcohen73, @jerosen, @glitch99
Yeah it’s one of the Cali Mills that has been written about by lawyers who write about the ada abuse in california. It seems it started here and moved to other places like FL, AZ, NM, NY and such. The firm has over 10 clients that they use over and over, to send into business to file these cases…but I think it’s gotten to the point that they do not even send in the handicapped clients. They file the case about 2 months after the “visit” so there is no recording or evidence to go check for a visit. There’s been cases in Nor cali and New mexico where attorneys sent in their own “people” then filed claims on behalf of handicapped clients…who sometimes don’t even know about the suit. The handicapped just gets a small $100 for each case the lawyers use them as plaintiff. And the lawyers make out like bandits.
The most frequent advice is to just settle as the ADA law wasn’t being complied with exactly. That would be the cheapest way to get rid of this…
The Fed ADA rules make the rules for biz to follow to encourage opening up biz to handicapped people. The Cali rules and other state rules give set amounts $4000 for each violation in cali.
It’s too bad that they made the ADA rules first yet didn’t have qualified people going around to help biz follow the law, then when all the biz were getting sued, they established the CASp certification and such.
The lawyers claim they are the state’s personal AG trying to get more people to make their biz ADA compliant. Yet they won’t let the defendants spread the word about ADA laws through the non disclosure agreement.
The state Cali here then tried to curb these by telling frequent filers to have a good reason to be there to sue…not just random drive bys. I don’t think this is being followed.
I think the rule should be to first alert the state, city or building inspectors office. The state will cite the biz a fine of $200-1000 depending on the violation and make them fix it. Then pay the handicapped persons a small finders fee if there is a violation. Keep the lawyers out and prevent them from racking up all the fees they want for a violation on a handicapped person. In San Diego the plaintiff got $8000 for a violation at a state owned property and the lawyers got $100K for the long drawn out lawsuit. Also, the lawyers charge like $600 per hour to file these suits and one judge said in a case that these are identical suits that a 1st or 2nd year associate lawyer could have written up. So yeah this ADA abuse case is only a win for the lawyers and not so much for the ADA community. One biz that was sued was a nail salon and the owner was in a wheel chair and she had no problems with accessing the biz.
Yeah the way the lawyers are acting, it’s like their own winning lotto the way the law is written. The lawyers have even gone so far as to send out their own family members to find non compliance and then sue the business using “handicapped” people who they recruit and pay small winnings to. One as low as $50 in New mexico I think.
I saw one case where a guy in so cali went all the way out to Barstow… to a rock shop and a diner. The rock shop said that there were litterally 10s more rock supply biz closer to the handicapped person’s home.
So in Cali they put some state laws into effect recently. AB1152 and SB269. One says that if you are a frequent filer, you need to pay higher filing fee and also write out why the frequent filer was going into this biz and why he was in the area. So basically trying to discourage handicapped people from going out on these “violation finding mission” aka winning lotto finding missions. The second one says if you are a small biz and they come after you for something small like faded signs or small technical violations they can get a pass or something if you fix the problem in 15 days. I’m still reading up on some of these so not fully clear.
In AZ and NV, the state attorney general found a way to stop these frivolous suits by requiring filers to first alert the state so they can go out and inspect the property and fine them directly or something.
I’ve already begun the process to fix the violations. I had a few questions,
In cali they passed a law AB1521 requiring that the frequent filers file to identify themselves as such and pay a higher fee $1000 vs $400. Some lawyer said that the failure to pay this amount is like a failure to pay to file thus not a lawsuit filed correctly. (the plaintiff may have gotten a waiver).
Also, under Cali law AB1521, he needs to fill out the heighten pleading requirements on why he was in the area and such. I’m wondering if he’s required to file this with the suit when it’s first filed in court or later during the suit process.
If we get this thrown out on their mistake to pay or meet the heightened requirements, and we also become compliant before he can refile, can we overcome this suit?
I plan on documenting the problems, fixing and then trying to bring up these issues before being served or contacting plaintiff.
What are your thoughts… and I will say since you are a lawyer, anything you say will not be viewed as “legal advice” and I won’t hold you responsible for anything you say. I’ve been reading some legal advice forums and most have that type of disclaimer to protect themselves.