When people think of Lodi the words that pop to mind might be “wineries” or “quaint small town in California.” What they don’t think of is “home to lawsuit abuse.”
Recently, I visited a neighboring State Assemblymember who showed me a letter from a former Mayor of Lodi and a business owner in Lockeford (a neighboring town). He wrote about the rash of ADA compliance lawsuits that have been occurring in the area.
Lockeford, population 3,200, is a town so small that you could miss it if you blinked while driving by. Yet twelve Lockeford businesses have been recently hit with ADA compliance lawsuits, and many businesses in Lodi have also been hit.
After visiting businesses in Lockeford and Lodi, almost every storefront shop owner knew of one or two other businesses that had been hit with an ADA compliance lawsuit. I came to discover that Lodi, Lockeford and Galt, unassuming quaint towns in the middle of California, had been targeted by three big city trial attorneys in the last couple of years who have systematically gone through the towns and sued every business owner for the slightest ADA infraction they could possibly find within their shop.
This scenario repeats itself throughout California: a law firm targets small business owners in a specific area and sues every business it can. The unscrupulous lawyers are counting on the fact that the small business owners are not able to afford the legal fees required to contest these lawsuits, and will settle as quickly as possible, usually for a few thousand dollars. The money goes directly into the pockets of the trial lawyers, and the small business owners pay thousands more to upgrade their facilities to get into compliance. Then the access codes are updated a year later, and the process starts over again.
This kind of outrageous lawsuit abuse is hurting large cities and small towns throughout California, dragging down our economy and costing our communities jobs. That’s why CALA is hosting the kick-off event of the national Create Jobs Not Lawsuits tour in Lodi on February 23, 2012 from 9-10:30 am at the Post Office Plaza at the intersection of Oak & School. Come show your support for California’s small business owners and tell our elected leaders that enough is enough – it’s time for legal reform to put a stop to this nonsense.