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January 2nd, 2011

ADA Litigation Kills Another California Small Business

The Sacramento Bee reports the latest small business closure resulting from yet another abusive disability access lawsuit.  As the Judicial Hellholes report explained, California is notorious for such predatory litigation premised on technical violations of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

The San Francisco independent bookstore owner who was forced out of business said of the wheelchair-bound professional plaintiff, he ” is picking off small business owners like grapes on a vine. . . .  This is vexatious litigation, and the city has to be made aware that its commercial landscape is being damaged by this.   . . . Small businesses are really being hurt.”

These lawsuits stem from a California state law that effectively provides the right to seek damages for technical violations of ADA architectural guidelines, a right not afforded by the federal law itself.   A relatively small number of California attorneys have made a livelihood of such litigation, making extortionate claims that range from the lack of a restroom grab bar to a restaurant chair temporarily blocking an aisle. Such shakedown lawsuits take a harsh toll on small businesses, even when business owners do all they can to quickly address accessibility issues.

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