Small Business Owners Ask for Legal Reform

It’s no secret that businesses are leaving California for states like Texas that have become more business friendly by passing measures such as legal reform. With unemployment in California the second-worst in the nation, trailing only Nevada, this year’s Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week (October 3rd to 7th) is more important than ever.

Those who are fighting to keep business alive in California recently gathered in San Diego at a CALA-led roundtable with Assemblyman Martin Garrick to talk about how bad lawsuits are costing good jobs in this state. Nearly 40 business owners were eager to share their owner personal experience of frivolous litigation and offer solutions as to how we can mitigate lawsuit abuse. Time and time again, they said that the Legislature needs to act quickly to stop California from losing jobs – approximately 4.7 businesses leave California per week for other pro-business states.

During the roundtable, many business owners shared their stories of how lawsuit abuse stopped them from creating jobs in California. One attendee stated he was ready to create six jobs for his established public relations firm, but because of the legal climate, he will locate them in locate them in Nevada instead of California.

Another spoke about how her two-story store in historic downtown San Diego was sued for Americans With Disability Act (ADA) violations, even though it had been covered by a grandfather clause exempting it from the ADA specifically for the purposes of historical preservation. While the suit eventually was dismissed, it cost the business owner $10,000 in legal fees to fight it, and the lawsuit was so ridiculous that the judge admonished the lawyers for filing it.

Assemblymember Garrick was part of the California delegation that traveled to Texas to learn how that state created 165,000 jobs over the last three years while California lost 1.2 million. One thing that the delegation learned is that Texas’ legal climate, unlike California’s, is designed to make it easier to start or expand a new business and hire new workers.

On October 7, CALA is holding a town hall in Orange County, at which Senators Bob Huff and Bob Dutton will field questions and talk about lawsuit abuse with local business owners. If you want to be heard and be part of the town hall go to www.cala.com and sign up.

What’s clear is that California needs the Governor and Legislature to protect our small businesses from unfair lawsuits. We need them to quickly implement reforms that will create jobs and stimulate the economy. According to the Pacific Research Institute, one tort reform in California creates 141,000 jobs. What is it they don’t understand about the connection between lawsuit abuse and job creation?

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