ADA Reform Bill Watered Down
By Todd Roberson on 06/21/2012 @ 01:00 PM
We regret to report that the ADA reform measure joint-authored by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Senator Bob Dutton - SB 1186 - has been significantly weakened in the latest round of amendments, which were made yesterday.
Previously the bill would have prohibited issuing a demand for money to a building owner or tenant prior to the filing of a complaint and would require an attorney to provide a document that notifies the recipient of any violation at least 30 days prior to filing a claim.
Those provisions have now been removed.
So at this point basically the bill would just require a commercial property owner to state on a lease form or rental agreement if the property being leased or rented has been inspected by a certified access specialist.
Looks like the wait for some relief from ADA litigation may continue...
SB 1186 - ADA Reform Measure - Approved by State Senate
By Todd Roberson on 05/30/2012 @ 05:00 PM
We are happy to report that Senate Bill 1186, joint-authored by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Senator Bob Dutton, was passed by the State Senate yesterday on a 36-0 vote.
This bill is a small step forward in the fight against abusive disabled access lawsuits. As currently written the bill would prohibit issuing a demand for money to a building owner or tenant prior to the filing of a complaint and would require an attorney to provide a document that notifies the recipient of any violation at least 30 days prior to filing any claim.
CJAC has long supported reforming California's laws regarding disabled access lawsuits. By no means does this bill fix the problem entirely and it does not provide an opportunity to fix violations before a lawsuit can be filed, but the bill is step in the right direction.
The bill will now be considered by the Assembly. We urge all who are interested to contact their Assemblymembers and ask them to support the bill. We will continue to update you on its progress.
Finalists Selected in Wacky Warning Labels Contest
By Todd Roberson on 05/23/2012 @ 05:00 PM
Five finalists in this year's Wacky Warning Labels Contest have been selected! They are:
- An electric razor for men that warns “Never use while sleeping.”
- A 7-inch decorative globe that comes with the warning: “These globes should not be referred to for navigation.”
- A “Laptop Steering Wheel Desk” that cautions: “Never use this product while driving.”
- A Neck Pillow made for children that warns: “Keep product away from infants and children.”
- An electric skillet that warns: “Caution: griddle surface may be hot during and after cooking.”
Read more here and be sure to vote!
Recap of a Very Busy Day in the Judiciary Committees
By Todd Roberson on 05/08/2012 @ 06:00 PM
There was a lot of action in both the Assembly Judiciary Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee hearings today, which included lengthy discussion of ADA lawsuits and how to stop those who are exploiting the law for financial gain.
Most significantly, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a compromise ADA reform measure - SB 1186 - with only one "no" vote. The bill is joint authored by Senate President Darrell Steinberg and Senator Bob Dutton and is still a work in progress. But the authors have stressed that they aim to stop the practice of drive-by plaintiffs extorting settlement payments.
While there is a lot of negotiation still to come over the bill, it was encouraging to see a recognition on all sides that there are indeed bad actors abusing the law.
The committee did reject a proposal by Senator Mimi Walters - SB 1163 - that would have provided 120 days to fix ADA violations before a lawsuit can be filed.
Also, the committee unfortunately voted to approve SB 1528 by Steinberg. This bill is also still a work in progress but threatens to overturn the California Supreme Court's ruling last year in Howell v. Hamilton Meats. That ruling held that an injured plaintiff can only recover damages in the amount that was actually billed for medical treatment rather than the retail rate that medical providers could charge an uninsured patient for that treatment. There will be intense debate over this bill in the months ahead.
Meanwhile in the Assembly Judiciary Committee, a bill essentially identical to Walters' proposal - AB 1878 by Assemblymember Beth Gaines - was also rejected.
The committee also voted to water down AB 2282 by Assemblymember Bill Berryhill, which originally would have limited the plaintiffs bringing ADA lawsuits to those who were actually harmed by the violation. The bill will now refer this issue to the California Commission on Disability Access for further study.
On a separate note, we are pleased to announce that a CJAC-sponsored bill - AB 2274 by Assemblyman Ricardo Lara - passed out of the committee without any no votes! The bill requires a vexatious litigant to obtain court approval for additional filings when they have fired their attorney. Currently, vexatious litigants only need to retain an attorney at the outset of a case to avoid having to get court approval for their filings.
Day at the Capitol a Great Success!
By Todd Roberson on 04/27/2012 @ 05:00 PM
This past Tuesday we held our 2nd annual "Day at the Capitol" with the California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. Thanks to months of preparation by CJAC and CALA staff we had great turnout and excellent programs! The day's activities included:
- A luncheon attended by over 80 participants who got to see a 15-minute clip of a soon-to-be-released documentary film called "Wheels of Fortune" that examines abusive ADA lawsuits in California. The film is being made by Peter Spirer, an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker. The luncheon also featured a victims' panel that included business owners and medical professionals who discussed the impact of frivolous litigation on their lives.
- Visits to 35 state legislators' offices in the Capitol, where our participants shared their experiences with lawsuit abuse and discussed our priority legislation for the year.
- A public forum on the south steps of the Capitol, which featured Senator Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) and included testimony on the impact of ADA, Proposition 65, and other types of lawsuits.
- Our annual legislative reception to close out the day, the highlight of which was an appearance by Governor Jerry Brown! The Governor talked with a number of our attendees who told him of their difficulties with abusive lawsuits. The reception was also attended by dozens of legislators and legislative staff.
We are very pleased with how the day went and are grateful to those who took part!