LAST UPDATE: January 28, 2013
Newsfeed Articles and Updates are posted the moment they become available.

New Drive By Lawsuit Law (Second in a Series)


Senate bill 1186 signed by Governor Brown will help end ADA accessibility law suits early. Thousands of ADA accessibility law suits have been filed by less than a dozen California attorneys in the las...

Category: Lawsuit Law,

Senate bill 1186 signed by Governor Brown will help end ADA accessibility law suits early. Thousands of ADA accessibility law suits have been filed by less than a dozen California attorneys in the last five or six years. These lawsuits sought to take advantage of the California Civil Right law which sets statutory damages of four thousand dollars ($4,000) for each event of discrimination. Under these laws businesses open to the public could face a four thousand dollar ($4,000) penalty for each time a “Drive By” serial ADA plaintiff came to the property.

A California business is considered to have violated the civil rights of a disabled person if the business premises which are open to the public are not accessible. To be accessible business premises must comply with detailed accessibility requirements contained in both State and Federal law. Most businesses in California do not meet all of the current accessibility requirements.

Under Senate Bill 1186 a property which was built or altered under a building permit could request an Early Evaluation Conference (EEC). At the EEC the judge or other court officer can review the case to see if the matter can be settled early and without the payment of substantial damages and without affording the
plaintiff the chance to run up a large attorney fee claim. If you are sued for violation of ADA access laws, act immediately and contact our office at 1(916) 660-1916.

LAST UPDATE: January 13, 2013
Newsfeed Articles and Updates are posted the moment they become available.

New Drive By Lawsuit Law (First in a Series)


Senate Bill 1186 signed by Governor Brown on September 19, 2012, will help businesses sued for ADA accessibility issues. The new law limits damages.   Before SB1186 became law, any property whi...

Category: Lawsuit Law,

Senate Bill 1186 signed by Governor Brown on September 19, 2012, will help businesses sued for ADA accessibility issues. The new law limits damages.
 
Before SB1186 became law, any property which did not comply with applicable accessibility requirements faced statutory damages of $4,000 for each event or occurrence of discrimination. Court opinions have held that an event or occurrence of discrimination is a visit to the property by a disabled person. It has been very common for defendants to make multiple trips to the same property in order to increase their damages claim.
 
SB1186 reduces the minimum statutory damages to $1,000 per event of discrimination when a defendant has obtained a CASp report and corrects the alleged construction related accessibility violations within 60 days of being served with the lawsuit.
 
A second provision of the law provides a reduced damage amount of $2,000 for each event of discrimination when a defendant corrects all construction related accessibility violations within thirty days of being served the complaint when the business qualifies as a “Small Business Defendant.” A small business defendant is any business which has twenty five or fewer employees and no more than 3.5 million dollars in annual gross receipts.
 
To benefit from the new law, a business needs to hire a Certified Accessibility Specialist (CASp), have an accessibility evaluation done and begin the process of completing upgrades and alterations to bring the property into compliance with California and Federal ADA access requirements. The new law should help discourage access lawsuits because the reward for filing suit will be less for any property which has hired a CASp and completes the alterations with the time identified in the law.