SACRAMENTO - Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, R-Rocklin, and Assemblyman Don Wagner, R-Irvine, and organizations against lawsuit abuse, announced Monday their efforts to end frivolous lawsuit abuse.
Gaines has introduced legislation that will give business owners a 120-day grace period to get the ball rolling on reaching compliance through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) without the threat of a lawsuit. The bill will be heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee Tuesday where dozens of business owners are expected to attend. Assemblyman Wagner is a principal co-author of the bill.
"The unfortunate reality is that there are individuals who are capitalizing on the complex access regulations enacted by the state and federal government for personal benefit," Gaines said. "Businesses can be sued for thousands of dollars for simple faults such as a railing height being off by a centimeter or parking lot striping not being the right shade of a particular color."
"Business owners in California spend far too much time and money defending themselves from lawyers hoping to extort a windfall from them," said Assemblyman Don Wagner. "These lawsuits only serve to make it more difficult for small businesses to operate and create jobs in California."
Gaines has also introduced a measure that requires the State Architect to compile a list of state and federal ADA laws and identify where any conflict.
Predatory lawsuits have forced many businesses throughout the state to move, or relocate in the well-known case of Sacramento's Squeeze Inn.
Shortly after introducing her ADA reform measures, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to State Sen. Darrell Steinberg encouraging him to advance legislation that will end these indefensible ADA lawsuits.
"I hope my colleagues across the aisle can join with me in a bipartisan effort to spare our small businesses from these frivolous lawsuits," Gaines said. "Lawsuit abuse and more regulations are not leading to greater access and compliance, which was the intended purpose of the state and federal access laws. While there is a need to preserve the right for a person to have access, there is a corresponding need to create opportunities for a business to give people access to do what the original laws intended - create more access."
Assemblywoman Beth Gaines represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes portions of Placer, El Dorado, Sacramento and Alpine counties.
Assemblyman Don Wagner represents the 70th Assembly District, which includes the Orange County communities of Irvine, Lake Forest, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Tustin and surrounding areas.