Law offers relief from ADA lawsuits

August 10, 2016

California small businesses no longer will be at the mercy of “predatory lawyers” if they correct American with Disabilities Act violations identified by an access specialist with 120 days.


State Senator Cathleen Galgiani, D-Patterson, was among a group of lawmakers that drafted legislation recently signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown that addresses ADA lawsuits.
Senate Bill 269 also protects businesses after the changes are made by making it impossible to file a lawsuit in state court.


In addition, businesses owners would have 15 days to make minor corrections without any penalties.


Three years ago more than 30 Manteca businesses were targeted with lawsuits by a Sacramento attorney using a state law that allows individuals to sue businesses that are out of compliance and obtain compensatory damages.


One business after spending in excess of $10,000 to make changes to comply was then slapped with a lawsuit that — legal then under state law — that could award the man who filed the ADA compliance complaint against her more than $100,000.


Several Ripon concerns were targeted as well including partners that bought the Barnwood restaurant from John Mangelos who opted to shut down instead of face costly improvements and legal costs.
A good number of the targets of Carmichael-based lawyer Scott Johnson’s 3,000 lawsuits throughout Northern California over the years have been forced out of business from Lake Tahoe to the Bay Area to Sacramento with punitive damages approaching six figures.