CJAC: Civil Justice Association of California

California is ground zero for ADA lawsuit abuse

Posted on 08/09/2016 @ 09:00 AM

In a recent story in the Northern California Record, CJAC President Kim Stone comments on H.R. 241, known as the ACCESS bill (ADA Compliance for Customer Entry to Stores and Services). The bill was introduced in in the House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice in January 2015 by State Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA).

“California has become ground zero for ADA lawsuits,” Calvert said, “home to more federal disability lawsuits than the next four states combined.”

The story notes that, “H.R. 241’s proposed ADA reform in part resembles California Senate Bill 269 introduced by Sen. Richard Roth (D–Riverside) that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on May 10. SB 269 will amend the Civil Code, and the Government Code, changing how construction-related accessibility claims proceed under the ADA, and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act of 1959. The bill allows businesses with payrolls of 50 workers or less to hire a Certified Access Specialist, and with a prior ADA access compliance inspection, receive a full 120 days to fix ADA violations without plaintiffs filing civil penalties.”

Stone notes that if businesses were allowed to fix problems before suit can be filed, two positive things would happen.

“One, the number of extortionate ADA lawsuits would go down," Stone said. "Two, businesses would become more accessible. This would be a tremendous improvement over the situation we’ve got now where many businesses still are not compliant and these lawsuits, in many cases, don’t even help improve access. Until and unless we change the law, we recommend that business owners find and hire a Certified Access Specialist and get their business evaluated. Then we recommend they make any improvements necessary to become compliant with the ADA.”

To read the full story, click here.

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