As we previously detailed here, here, and here, an obscure California law has allowed some opportunistic plaintiffs’ lawyers to turn the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into a weapon targeting small businesses.
Now, we have learned that an entire California town has become the target of such abuse.
The Manteca Bulletin in Manteca, CA reports that “more than three dozen businesses in Manteca had been served with ADA lawsuits,” including two restaurants — the Barnwood Restaurant and Main Street Inn — that are being forced to close their doors as a result of the lawsuits.
“Jeri Heath, owner of the Main Street Inn, said two of the ADA attorney’s staffers were in her store this week for a second time checking her parking area and bathrooms,” reports the Bulletin. “She said one secreted a camera at her side attempting to conceal her efforts at taking pictures of the layout of her store.”
In a previous story, the Bulletin reported that “Scott Johnson, the Carmichael lawyer behind the Manteca ADA lawsuits, has filed more than 3,000 such lawsuits.”
CBS Sacramento reports that Daniel Kaiser, a state certified access specialist who is disabled himself, has no greivance with how the city’s businesses operate.
“People in town are more than happy to accommodate individuals if you just talk to them.”
Now, the city of Manteca and local businesses are fighting back.
As KCRA-TV reports, the Manteca City Council held a workshop for an overflow crowd of local business owners on how to comply with the ADA. In addition, the Bulletin reports that the city is turning to state and federal legislators to request reforms that would prevent this type of lawsuit abuse.
“For a small business, they can’t afford it. So it’s frightening the number of businesses we might lose based on these lawsuits,” said Brad Sungluck, Manteca’s senior building inspector. “Some [buildings] are 100 years old, and that’s where the majority of the lawsuits are, in that area downtown where they have old buildings.”