In 2000, Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime del Campo opened La Casita Mexicana, in Bell, California. They wanted to provide a taste of Mexican culture to residents of the predominantly Latino city located just outside of Los Angeles.
Running a small business is difficult and, unfortunately, lawsuit abuse is one challenge faced by far too many small business owners.
One day, Jaime and Ramiro received notice that they had been sued for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The plaintiff, who uses a wheelchair, claimed to have visited La Casita Mexicana and alleged (incorrectly) that the mirror in the restaurant’s bathroom violated the ADA by being too high for customers in wheelchairs.
Jamie and Ramiro were shocked by the lawsuit. They then found out that several neighboring businesses were targeted by similar lawsuits from the same plaintiff, who has filed more than 500 ADA-related lawsuits.
Jaime and Ramiro chose to fight back. They looked at the restaurant’s surveillance video and discovered that the plaintiff had not visited the restaurant on the day he claimed—or ever. When confronted with this evidence, the plaintiff quickly dropped his lawsuit.
What happened to Jamie and Ramiro is a clear example of the toll lawsuit abuse can take on small-businesses owners.