The Modesto Bee wrote an article over the weekend that chronicles the continuing problems business owners are having over ADA lawsuits.
The author Garth Stapley called my office for comment last week. I was more than happy to help Mr. Stapley with the research for his article. His findings aren't surprising.
Reform Efforts Have Lead Nowhere
Business and property owners call my office every week with news of a new ADA lawsuit. If the California Legislature had truly "solved" the problem of ADA abuse, these people would not be calling.
Instead, the Legislature has passed meaningless reforms that have chipped away at the edges of this problem. Politicians get to pat themselves on the back and issue press releases, all the while real Californians have to deal with these shakedown lawsuits.
In most cases, creative trial lawyers have found ways around some of the "fixes" instituted by the Legislature. A great example of this is the 2012 prohibition on sending pre-litigation demand letters. In response, Plaintiffs simply stopped sending demand letters and now just head straight to court. This in turn raises litigation costs on both sides. Only ADA plaintiffs and their attorneys have benefited from this reform!
ADA is the Law of the Land
As a business or property owner, you cannot count on elected officials in California to solve the ADA lawsuit abuse problem.
Instead, business and property owners must take proactive steps to ensure that ADA laws are followed. A non-compliant business is just asking to be sued these days.
Where to start? I strongly recommend CASp inspections. A CASp inspection will identify any ADA issues. A good inspector will also tell the business owner exactly how to remedy the access violation.
At the end of the day, the ADA is not going away. Nor are serial ADA plaintiffs. Making our businesses as accessible as possible is not only the law, but also makes good business and moral sense as well.
I represent business and property owners all over California that have been sued by predatory ADA plaintiffs. Please call my office at (916) 333-2222 to schedule a consultation to discuss your ADA lawsuit.