The Daily Pilot published CALA Southern California Regional Director Maryann Marino's letter "The Helm: A Victim of Lawsuit Abuse." Here is what she said:
"The reforms the California Legislature put in place three years ago to mitigate the problems of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) abuse are not working (Re: "Costa Mesa Bar Sued in ADA Compliance Lawsuit," July 8). Despite the California Commission on Disability Access' best intentions, small-business owners are still facing abusive ADA lawsuits.
U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-San Diego) has recognized this issue in federal ADA lawsuits, and has introduced H.R. 881, the ADA Notification Act"
Click here to read the entire letter.
If you are in the Central California area, tune into KJWL or KYNO to hear our Central California Regional Director, Julie Griffiths. She's the voice behind public service announcements that will run on those two stations between July 11 and July 17.
CALA supporter George Coles' commentary "Out of Control ADA Lawsuits Need Reforms" was published in the San Diego Union Tribune. Here is what he had to say:
"Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, has introduced reform legislation which would change all that. HR 881, the ADA Notification Act of 2011, would require that before a lawsuit could be filed under the ADA, the claimant would have to send the business a letter identifying the problem and providing a brief opportunity to fix it. Most businesses will promptly fix the problem because they can use the same money they would spend on litigation to make improvements. If they ignore the complaint, they realize they almost certainly will end up in court.
Experts estimate that close to 100 percent of ADA lawsuits could have been prevented if a reform like HR 881 had been passed years ago."
Click here to read the guest column.
A commentary from CALA Co-Chair David Houston and California Restaurant Association President and CEO titled "Regulations and Abusive Lawsuits Drive Companies Out of California" was published on May 26 in the San Jose Mercury News. Here is what they said:
"With the economic downturn squeezing budgets worldwide, companies are consolidating and streamlining their operations to save money. Few places in the country have been hit as hard as California. One would think our legislators would be hard at work to establish an environment that attracts businesses and creates jobs. But Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns Carl's Jr., tells a different story.
His company is considering moving its headquarters from Ventura County to Texas and to halt expansion in the Golden State. Three hundred new Carl's Jr. restaurants are scheduled to be built in Texas, while none are planned in California. The reasons? Litigation and regulation.
In California, restaurants are on the hook to comply with a slew of other regulations, such as parking regulations. This adds hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of opening a business. According to Puzder, it costs about $250,000 more to open a restaurant in California than in Texas. That was not a typo. It costs a quarter of a million dollars more to open a restaurant in California than Texas.
Even after businesses have gotten off the ground, California's regulations continue to pigeonhole business owners in how they operate. For example, California 's strict work rules classify general managers as employees, requiring that they take breaks at specified times, harming their ability to manage the business effectively. Puzder said he has had to fire managers who insisted on working more hours than the state allows.
The reason managers would have to be fired for working hard is that it makes businesses vulnerable to litigation. With more than 1 million lawsuits filed every year, California is one of the most litigious states in the country, and its countless regulations make business owners a magnet for abusive lawsuits. No matter what type of business you are in, it seems like there is a lawsuit waiting for you.
If you own a restaurant and your bartender chooses to forgo a break to collect extra tips, you can be sued for wage-and-hour violations. If your trash can is moved by someone else in your store, you can be sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you try to bring renewable energy to the desert, you can be sued by environmentalists and unions. Is it any wonder that many owners are deciding doing business in California is not worth it?"
Read the complete commentary here.
"Micigan Leads the Way," says Maryann Marino in her recent letter to the Orange County Register. Her comments regarding "Calfiornia's Loss, Michigan's Gain" were published on May 23rd. Here is what she had to say:
"California should follow the lead of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and enact policies to attract and retain Golden State businesses and the jobs they create.
Unfortunately, the California Legislature still doesn’t get it. Just last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard a bill that would stop vexatious litigants – frequent filers of frivolous lawsuits – from filing dozens of cases every day against businesses without ever having to prove actual injuries, go before a court or even face a court challenge. The bill failed to pass out of committee, signaling to businesses that California’s leaders still don’t get the connection between job creation and a sour business climate.
As the Register reported, 70 companies left California during the first three months of this year. And those are just the ones that we know of and do not include those that just shut down altogether. As long as California continues to be an easy place to file lawsuits, businesses will continue to leave."
Read her comments here.
David Houston, CALA Co-Chair's commentary "Lawsuit Happy Climate Needs Fix" was recently published in the Los Angeles Daily News. Here is what he had to say:
Vexatious litigants often target small businesses where the cost of a legal defense far exceeds the cost of a settlement. At least one judge has called such actions a "racket." These suits are generally based on technical violations where there is little evidence of any harm, and no one is hurt.
When there are no court challenges from defendants, vexatious plaintiffs are free to file dozens of cases every day without ever having to prove actual injuries or go before a court. Sadly, such settlements mean that many actual violations go uncorrected, allowing repeat vexatious litigants to go from one target to the next without ever being challenged and without actually improving anything except their own personal fortunes.
Current law allows a judge to label somebody a vexatious litigant if the person is representing himself. We must close this loophole to allow judges to designate vexatious litigants even if they are represented by an attorney. Then, they would have to ask the court for special permission before filing more lawsuits.
Legal reforms such as curbing vexatious litigants can be a spark that helps drive California's economic recovery forward. We need more jobs, not more lawsuits.
You can read the entire article by clicking here.
Tom Scott, Executive Director of California CALA, wrote a letter to the editor to the Sacramento Bee in which he calls for California to pay more attention to what its business leaders are saying about its business climate. Here is what he had to say:
"Anytime you see a CEO of a large company come forward and say there is something wrong with your state, people should listen. Andrew Puzder should be applauded for stepping up and making people realize that regulatory and legal reform are critical to California's future. If you have to spend $20 million fighting trial lawyers, that is $20 million that is not creating jobs and building a business.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry warned California two years ago that it had to tackle big issues like taxes, regulations, education and legal reform if it was going to be able to compete. Since then, we are batting 0 for 4."