Published on: Monday, March 19, 2012

Is ADA Reform Possible?

 
 

By Tom Scott
Executive director at California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA)

You no doubt are aware that there is a group of trial lawyers running around the State of California filing lawsuits against small businesses and even cities are that not compliant with the American with Disabilities Act. The California Commission on Disability Access has spent more than three years trying to get its house in order with little or no progress – and the lawsuits continue to be filed.

Lawyers Against Lawsuit Abuse has stated that there have been approximately between 25,139 and 34,763 ADA/access lawsuits filed in California just over the past few years.

We all want access. Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse just believes we can get access without litigation. These shakedowns are not benefiting anyone. They are simply putting people out of business or costing thousands of dollars.

Any reasonable person could look at the situation in California and say enough is enough. We need to fix this problem now and stop the lawsuits. However, that is not happening and the question you have to ask is why? Is it just politics or is it the hammer lock that trial lawyers have on Sacramento?

If 98 percent of businesses are non-compliant that tells me that there is something wrong. Either the law is confusing or there is no easy way for a business to know if it is or is not compliant. If it was the other way around we would be the first to tell the two percent of non-compliant businesses to get in line and stop violating the law.

So once again, this year in the Legislature we see a stream of bills being offered up as a way to try and stop the lawsuits and increase compliance with the ADA. All of these bills will have to go through either the Assembly Judiciary Committee or the Senate Judiciary Committee. In the past, both of these committees have not been very interested in this kind of legislation. They believe SB 1608 that was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2008 should be given a chance to work and that nothing more needs to be done.

This is not the case. SB 1608 has had more than three years to work and nothing is happening. Nothing will happen. SB 1608 is only supposed to study the ADA litigation issue and present a report to the Legislature within the next two years. It will not stop the lawsuits.

Please get involved with CALA and help us stop these abuse ADA lawsuits. We need to be creating jobs, not lawsuits.

 

Tom Scott is executive director at California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, a nonpartisan grassroots organization. Scott serves as chair of the Folsom (Calif.) Chamber of Commerce BIZPAC and vice president of the State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind. Prior to joining CALA, Scott held various positions with Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, former state Sen. John Seymour (R), former U.S. Sen. Pete Wilson (R-Calif.), and in the U.S. Department of Commerce. Mail | Web | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

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