When CALA Comes to Corona, Corona Really Comes Out for CALA

On Tax Day 2014, more than 60 southern California business owners and operators met at TAPS Fish House in Corona, CA to listen to Congressman Ken Calvert discuss his bill, H.R. 994, the ACCESS Act. This bill is designed to help small businesses avoid abusive lawsuits associated with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

At the event, CALA’s Executive Director, Tom Scott, reminded all guests that, “California is burdened with taxation, regulation, and litigation. A business can manage the first two, but the third can put you out of business.” He didn’t have to say it twice. Many of the small business owners in attendance had been victims of lawsuit abuse.

Next, Congressman Calvert spoke about the ACCESS Act. He stated that, as in many professions, an erosion of basic ethics has taken place in the legal industry. Some lawyers, Calvert said, have positioned their practices solely around profit from abusive ADA lawsuits.

Further, when these attorneys win an ADA lawsuit, they usually receive much more money than the actual plaintiff gets, which is outrageous. The expenses associated with these lawsuits at the national level have significantly increased over the past few decades. The openly abusive nature of these lawsuits contributes to the total cost of tort litigation in the United States, which greatly outweighs that of our fellow countries. Calvert said:

“The annual direct cost to annual tort litigation exceeds $250 billion. 54% goes to lawyers and administrative costs. Measured by a share of GDP, Americas tort system is more than twice as expensive as it was in 1960, twice as expensive as current system in France and Canada, and three times more expensive than it is in Great Britain. This is a huge problem that we need to fix.”

If passed, the ACCESS Act will provide potential victims of abusive ADA lawsuits a chance to fix the alleged villation before a lawsuit can move forward. For example, if a complaint is filed, the recipient will have 60 days to respond to it. If something needs to be fixed, the recipient will have 120 more days to fix it. Congressman Calvert believes that everyone should at least be given the opportunity to follow the law, and fix the problem. This is the heart of the bill.

Enough is enough. Tell your Members of Congress that it’s time to pass the ACCESS Act and help our nation create jobs, not lawsuits.