Congressman Ken Calvert discusses lawsuit abuse in Corona

A meeting at a Corona restaurant gave Rep. Ken Calvert a chance to talk about his bill to curb frivolous lawsuits against businesses stemming from the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Calvert, R-Corona, joined California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse at the event. CALA contends lawsuit abuse is a “hidden tax” that imperils small businesses and costs jobs.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act was intended to improve access for disabled Americans to help them go about their day, not serve as a vehicle for shakedown lawsuits against small businesses,” said Calvert in a CALA news release. He said he introduced the ACCESS Act to protect businesses from abusive ADA litigation.

Hundreds of businesses in California, including many in the Inland Empire, have been sued by two men represented by Citizens for Disability Access, a San Diego-based law firm. The complaints allege the businesses violate the ADA by not providing legally required access or parking spaces to the disabled.

Here’s a link to a story Press-Enterprise reporter Sandra Stokley wrote about the lawsuits.

Calvert, whose district stretches from Corona to Aguanga, is up for re-election this year. He is opposed by Democrats Kerry Condley, Chris Marquez and Tim Sheridan. Independent political analysts expect Calvert to retain his seat.

California Federal Judge Kills a Baseless Class Action in San Diego, but the Lawsuit Lottery Will Go On

Earlier this year, I appeared on KFMB-TV to discuss an abusive class action lawsuit that had been filed against California Pizza Kitchen and Nestle alleging that the companies were “deliberately poisoning their consumers” by selling frozen pizzas containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.  

I’m happy to have some good news to report: a California federal judge tossed out this proposed class action lawsuit this week, noting that the plaintiff had no facts to demonstrate she had been harmed in any way, nor had she been misled by the product packaging.

This case is a clear example of how the “lawsuit lottery” works in America’s legal system: Plaintiffs such as these to sue large companies in the hopes of scoring an enormous settlement, even when they have weak evidence (or in this case, zero evidence) supporting their claim. 

When our legal system is played like a lottery, we all lose. Companies have to spend money defending themselves from absurd claims, and this raises the cost of every product and service we purchase. In fact, a family of four pays on average more than $3,300 per year in a “lawsuit tax” to cover the cost of lawsuits.

This problem is especially severe in California, home of the “food court" because the huge number of food-related lawsuits filed here. One of the reasons California is the nation’s worst “judicial hellhole” is the relative ease of filing class action lawsuits here.

We need to pass reforms to our legal system to stop this nonsense. Until we do, companies that do business in California will face increased costs due to absurd lawsuits filed by plaintiffs playing the lawsuit lottery. 

Lawsuit Abuse Talk For Local Businesses

Ted Apodaca, editor of News Enterprise, covered our packed CALA small business roundtable in Seal Beach.

His article, "Lawsuit Abuse Talk for Local Businesses" begins:

"California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse held a small business round table discussion on Friday at Spaghettini Restaurant in Seal Beach.

State Assemblyman for the 72nd District Travis Allen was among the guest speakers and Los Alamitos City Councilman Dean Grose and Cypress Mayor Pro Tem Leroy Mills were among those in attendance. Allen spoke of upcoming legislation that could help curb the lawsuit abuse in California, mostly coming as a result of frivolous lawsuits for Prop 65 and American’s For Disability Act violations.

Part of the problem, according to CALA and Allen, is that businesses have no option to fix problems if they are found to be in violation. This has led to what Allen referred to as “shakedown” lawsuits by lawyers looking for a costly settlement from businesses. Allen said that while California has eight percent of the nations population, it has 40 percent of the ADA lawsuit filings.

“Businesses need to band together to be stronger against these frivolous lawsuits,” Allen said.

Read entire aritcle here.

Group Meets in Seal Beach to Help Stop Frivolous Lawsuits

Orange County Register's Seal Beach reporter Annie Zak covered our recent well attended and spirited small business roundtable at Spaghattini -

Here is what she had to say:

Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen spoke to a roomful of small business owners and city officials in Seal Beach earlier this month in conjunction with the group California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse to discuss how to end frivolous lawsuits that end up hurting small businesses, sometimes to the point of closing permanently.

“We don't want to live in a society that is abusive in our legal environment,” said Allen, insisting that legal change needs to be a bipartisan effort.

Article Tab: Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen and Maryann Marino, regional director of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, at the small business roundtable discussion on Aug. 9.
Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen and Maryann Marino, regional director of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, at the small business roundtable discussion on Aug. 9.

Tom Scott, president of the California branch of CALA, said that though legitimate suits are filed against businesses, there is also a lot of misuse.

“It's not just about lawsuit abuse. I'm more interested in what litigation costs,” Scott said. “Legal reform, to me, has to be talked about in the same breath as taxes (and) regulation.”

The group's message was that money saved on litigation could be used to save and create jobs, citing that if a mom-and-pop business uses all its money on a lawsuit and has to shut down, its employees are hurt, as well.

Read the entire story and learn how you can get involved here

 

OC Register "Law No Curb to ADA Suits"

Frank Mickadeit, Orange County Register's, long time and popular columnist attended our California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse Small Business Summer Roundtable event featuring Assemblyman Travis Allen at Spaghettini Restaurant in Seal Beach last Friday.   

 

His column on August 8 "Law No Curb to ADA Suits,"  begins with:  

 

"Last fall's Assembly Bill 1186 was supposed to cut down on lawsuit abuse by the predators who target small businesses for violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act and its California counterpart.

 

That's not happening, says one of the state's prominent ADA defense lawyers. On Friday, I found myself seated next to David Warren Peters at a luncheon sponsored by California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse.

 

As regular readers know, I've written extensively about a small number of disabled people - some of them ex-cons - who travel around the state filing scores of lawsuits for things like mismarked handicap parking spaces and bathroom mirrors that are too high. In California, there was a minimum $4,000 bounty per lawsuit, plus attorney fees.

 

Peters had told me back in September when the bill passed not to get too excited about the reforms.

"It's a long bill, but two reforms stood out."

For those with an OC Register subscription, you can read his entire column here.

Editorial: Controlling lawsuit abuse

Our view: Everyone deserves a chance to correct a situation that's in violation of the law.
 
There's no argument that legislators at the state and national level are law-happy, creating more rules and regulations than anyone could ever remember.
 
But when it comes to creating laws that are enforced by lawsuits, something has to change. Whether it's an environmental or workplace regulation, or as we found out last week, something stemming from the Americans With Disabilities Act or chemical-identifying Proposition 65, lawsuits have turned into enforcement tools.
 
California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, plus legislators state Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, and U.S.Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, were in town last week to throw their weight toward more corrective, rather than punitive, actions.
 
They cited problems with U.S. laws that encourage lawsuits to be filed without corrective goals. There are a number of attorneys in California who have found the laws allow them to sue without resulting in any change in the condition.
 
These attorneys sue because they can see violations and know they can make money from them. They may not have a client, and they don't try to correct the situation.
 
That's plain wrong.
 
The event last week was to point to California legislation that is helping discourage those kinds of actions,although not erasing them totally.
 
On the other hand, the Americans With Disabilities Act has been around for a couple of decades, and most people should be aware its purpose is to ensure accessibility for everyone, among other elements.
 
That's only right.
 
A building owner or business may not know what's in the ADA law and what isn't, which is why trained and certified analysts are available, who know the law, can spot problems and make recommendations to correct the situation. Those professionals are called CASps — certified access specialists — and they know the law.
 
The threat of a lawsuit can make things happen quickly, but the fairest way is to first point out the problem and then allow time for it to be resolved.
 
If action isn't taken, then moving toward a more outright strategy seems appropriate.
 

CALA Supporters Discuss Prop. 65 Lawsuit Abuse with KCRA

KCRA broadcast a story about CALA's press cofnerence prior to its Day at the Captiol on March 13, in which over one hundred CALA supporters discussed the need for legal reform to improve California's economy with California's legislators. Speakers included California CALA Executive Director Tom Scott, Civil Justice Association of California President Kim Stone and small business owners Martin Diedrich and Joe Derian, both of whom have been sued under Prop. 65.

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