Marty Orlick, Chair of JMBM’s ADA Compliance & Defense Group, was recently interviewed by ABC7 for a news report regarding the impact of serial ADA litigants on small businesses. The segment focused on a group of businesses in Santa Paula, California, who have been hit with lawsuits alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The significant financial penalties imposed by these lawsuits threaten to close already struggling stores and restaurants.
During the segment, Marty discussed the California Unruh Civil Rights Act which requires businesses and public accommodations to provide equal access to their services and facilities. He explained that the Unruh Act “allows a plaintiff to recover $4,000 per occurrence every time they went to a particular business, or every time they thought of going but they realize there were barriers and they couldn’t get served.” The Unruh Act is often abused by serial plaintiffs who file hundreds of lawsuits every year, each claiming thousands of dollars in statutory damages.
These serial lawsuits can be incredibly damaging for businesses and are the antithesis of genuine legal action by advocates trying to make their communities more accessible.