Sen. Dutton Introduces Measure to Stop ADA Lawsuit Abuse

SACRAMENTO – In his continuing effort to end frivolous and costly lawsuits against California businesses, Senator Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) introduced Senate Bill 1186 today that stops unscrupulous attorneys, using the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), to extort money from businesses.

SB 1186 allows business owners 90 days to fix minor infractions before a lawsuit can be filed. This protects the rights of the disabled while ensuring that small businesses are protected from frivolous lawsuits.

Specifically, the owner of the property must be notified of the ADA violation before a lawsuit can be filed. The property owner will have 90 days to fix the violation. If the violation(s) is not fixed within the 90 days, a lawsuit may then be filed.

Small businesses throughout California have been sued as a result of “drive by” attorneys saying they represent a client claiming that person’s ADA rights have been violated, even though the business owner wasn’t aware of any potential problem. The letter further states that to avoid a costly lawsuit, the business owner must pay the attorney and his client between $4,000 and $6,500.

“This is nothing more than extortion of our business community,” Senator Dutton said. “It’s clear from reviewing some of the letters these businesses have received, they are doing nothing more than driving around looking for a potential minor violation and then strong-arming the small businesses into paying them thousands of dollars to avoid a lawsuit.”

“No one wants to see the rights of anyone, particularly the disabled, violated,” Senator Dutton said. “SB 1186 is a piece of common-sense legislation that continues to ensure ADA is enforced without leading to this modern-day extortion of our business community.”

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