In the small quaint town of Davis, a group of small businesses was hit with abusive ADA lawsuits. In an article titled, “ADA Lawsuits Take Their Toll in Davis,” the Davis Enterprise tells the story about Suresh Kumar, a store owner who was sued by someone who has filed more than two thousand lawsuits.
The Enterprise article talks about how the store owner supports the goals of the ADA, but what frustrates him is that there’s no notice of an alleged ADA violation before a lawsuit is filed. He would have gladly fixed the problem if he had the chance.
For years, we’ve talked extensively on this blog about how abusive ADA lawsuits have burdened small businesses, like Kumar’s, throughout the state. Last year, we finally saw ADA reform when Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1186, which helps stop predatory lawsuits by barring lawyers from issuing threatening letters before litigation. It also can reduce the minimum fine for certain violations from $4,000 to $1,000.
There hasn’t been enough time yet to determine the impact SB 1186 is having on ADA lawsuits. However, to truly help businesses like Kumar’s, the law should allow business owners a small window of opportunity to fix alleged violations before a lawsuit is filed. ADA law is complex, differing federally and from state to state. Often, business owners don’t even know they are in violation of the law until they are served with a lawsuit, or as was the case in California, a demand letter. By allowing business owners time to fix violations before a lawsuit can proceed, we will increase access for all without the additional cost of litigation. Extra money in a business’ pocket can mean extra jobs and/or an increase in goods or services provided.
Simply put, we need more jobs, not more lawsuits.