Feinstein Wants California Legislators To Curb Abusive Lawsuits Over ADA

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Senator Dianne Feinstein is urging California legislators to address the problem of so-called “drive-by” lawsuits that are filed against business owners in the state.

Feinstein said she is concerned that lawsuits filed under the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act are threatening the viability of some small businesses.

The unique California law allows a $4,000 charge per violation per day for businesses found in noncompliance with the ADA.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

Senator Feinstein said shakedown tactics are often used by lawyers, who get small business owners to pay a settlement for them to walk away from the case.

“This does not benefit the disability community because it’s just, you have to pay me or I’m going to sue you,” said Feinstein. “So they pay and the lawyers gone. You don’t know whether it’s actually remedied or not.”

Feinstein recently wrote a letter to Senate President Pro tem Darrell Steinberg urging support of a bill that would give a 90-day grace period from the time a violation letter is received before a suit could be filed.

A similar bill last year that would have granted a 120-day reprieve failed to pass.

“I think people who encounter an infraction like this should be given an opportunity to cure it, to stop it,” said Feinstein.

The senator warned that she would consider introducing legislation in the U.S. Senate if California lawmakers fail to take action.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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  • unknown

    OH old age wicked witch shut-up

  • Blacque Jacques Shellacque

    One question to ask Feinstein: Did you support it when it was first passed?

  • Carlos

    Nobody foresaw the degree to which shyster lawyers could exploit the system. That said, the ADA should never have been made retroactive on private property. I’m not talking public property, or public transportation, even new construction should have ADA requirements. But to make it retroactive on private property only unduly burdens small business owners. The ADA requirements are so precise and unyielding that even properties of big corporation have many technical faults, but notice the shyster lawyers never go after them? They only pick easy targets like mom and pop stores where they can intimidate and extort money from the owners.

  • Wayne

    Feinstein actually thinking of doing something decent? I am quite blown away. The ADA is very easy to abuse and it is sad to see these small mom and pop shops get hit by a suit because perhaps a doorway was off by an inch, or because a “therapy horse” was not allowed in. This state seems to coddle more and more morons, breeding in an entitled society.

  • paul

    All businesses should comply with the ADA law. Plain and simple. If the owners of the businesses were disabled, they would make damn sure they had accessible entrances/exits at their place of work. When Feinstein is in a wheelchair, she’ll regret her efforts to pass this legislation.

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