Local Legislators Introduce Bills to Reform ADA Lawsuits

TurlockCityNews.com

Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) and Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced) introduced their first bills for the 2015-16 Legislative Session on Dec. 1 with the purpose of reducing the number of frivolous lawsuits related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) so businesses can stay open while working to comply with access laws.

“Get-rich-quick lawsuit schemes that cause businesses to close, reduce hours, or lay off employees violate the spirit of ADA and should not be tolerated,” said Olsen.

Olsen described the proposed bill (AB 54) as a commonsense solution that would protect businesses and employees while requiring compliance to access laws.

Construction-related accessibility standards change regularly, which can make it difficult for small businesses to maintain compliance. The bill would provide businesses the opportunity to resolve ADA violations within 60 days, so long as the construction-related accessibility standards related to the specified violation have changed within three years.

“These well-intentioned measures are meant to give everyone equal access, but they’ve been abused by a select group who shakedown our local businesses for a quick buck,” said Gray. “People have lost their jobs, and businesses have shutdown, because the law has a loophole that is being exploited.”

Gray’s measure, AB 52, would aim to significantly reduce or eliminate statutory damages if a small business corrects violations within 180 days.

“Well-intentioned businesses in California need relief from what can be extortionate lawsuits over technical or minor ADA violations. This bill will reduce lawsuits and will improve access – it's a win-win,” said Kim Stone, President of Civil Justice Association of California.

Additional cosponsors to the proposed pieces of legislation include: Senators Tom Berryhill (R- Twain Harte), Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), and Andy Vidak (R-Hanford), and Assemblymembers Bigelow (R- O'Neals), Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield), Devon Mathis (R-Visalia), Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), Henry Perea (D-Fresno), and Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield).

AB 54 and AB 52 are awaiting assignments to policy committees. 

Comments 4

  1. Protect small Businesses says:

    Remember the Barnwood! Ok, for those that don’t, it was a very nice restaurant in Ripon next to 99. They had to close the doors and good people lost nice jobs because of things like the Handicap ramp on the wrong side of the Parking stall, and a private banquet room that only had a staircase access, not an elevator. Lot’s of wonderful folks lost their jobs and livelihood.
    REMEMBER THE BARNWOOD!

  2. Lynn T says:

    How about those business who have sloped parking lots and get Excused by ADA for being not in compliance, because there are handicapped parking located 5 stores down. Being mobility impaired, you can bet I rely on close by parking. Check out Valley View Center on Geer. Not all of us are out for lawsuits, Kristen. Some of us just need disabled parking near the store we visit. Please, I ask of you to just see for yourself. Please walk in my shoes.

  3. oh please says:

    like these legislators have anyones interest involved except lining their pockets. if these lawsuits were so damaging – why were they enforced, and why are turlock business leaving?

    dear city council – the productive people are moving out of turlock. your good old boy clubs like the Turlock Downtown Association will not revive downtown with even more second hand shops. you kow tow to low paying, part time employing, corporate box stores that provide no tax dollars – on the contrary – you give them tax breaks to displace independent business, then their low paying jobs cause all they employees to be on EBT, and a host of other government benefits rather than providing a tax base. these corporations have no loyalty to Turlock, only to profit and stock holder. meanwhile – local business business that have been loyal are shutting down because of your caustic behavior.

    you guys are going to run out of office soon enough. a dark horse candidate who has nothing but contempt for your shenanigans, skilled in community building, and youtube channel with thousands of subscribers, will be coming to take you all down.

    here is your notice you gaggle of rats – your time is ending….

  4. Billy says:

    Mings Restaurant in Los Banos had to close their doors after many decades because of these regulations

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