The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein is calling on the leader of California’s senate to end what she calls “abusive lawsuits filed by private attorneys against small businesses” for minor violations of disabled access laws.
Senator Feinstein, widely regarded as an influential politician, made this request in a letter to Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. Steinberg is said to have written back stating the California Legislature shares her concerns, but thus far no solutions have been agreed upon. Feinstein has warned that if the California Legislature does not act, she will consider introducing legislation responding to this problem with the U.S. Senate.
Many of you reading this will be thinking “what took so long?” Nearly every business-owner knows disabled access lawsuits have been a problem for years now. While the ADA and Unruh Act laws on disabled access were undoubtedly written with the best of intentions, opportunistic individuals have managed to make a killing hunting out businesses displaying the most minor of violations, and then settling with those businesses to the average tune of $5,000.00 to $14,000.00.
Critics of these lawsuits also focus on the serial nature of those who file the majority of the suits. According to a 2006 story in the Sacramento Bee, notorious ADA lawsuit filer Lynn Hubbard, who is not disabled, filed over 1,221 ADA lawsuits. 220 of these lawsuits alone were on behalf of Hubbard’s parents, with the demands totaling over $13 million.
If you have a question on disabled access laws do not hesitate to contact our firm. We have worked closely with certified access specialists in this field, and can help you prevent or correct violations before they result in litigation.