Predatory lawsuits outlawed
September 20, 2012
For decades, ambitious attorneys for disabled people have been reaping an easy windfall by filing lawsuits willy-nilly against businesses for failing to comply with handicapped regulations. (Sacramento Bee)
Critics called the practice abuse, and California now officially agrees — Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Wednesday reducing potential liability for disability access violations, and allowing time for defendants to correct problems without financial penalties.
The bill, SB 1186 by Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) also bars attorneys from issuing pre-litigation “demands for money.” The measure passed with bipartisan support.
“The whole point of our state and federal disability access laws is to remove barriers for the disabled, giving them full and equal access to businesses like everyone else. Up until now unfortunately, it was often cheaper and quicker for business owners to settle out of court than to remove those obstacles,” Steinberg said in a prepared statement.
“(My bill) will instead provide more incentives to fix the violations and enhance accessibility. After many months of working with business and disability rights advocates, this compromise applies common sense to difficult issues.”