Articles Posted in Abusive Litigation

Mass-produced ADA litigation: Plaintiff and his lawyer sanctioned

The end to sue-and-settle “drive bys”?

A couple of weeks ago, a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge granted a business owner’s motion for sanctions under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 128.7 against a plaintiff who has filed many ADA cases against Southern California businesses.

A “professional plaintiff” that has filed more than 400 nearly identical lawsuits against hotels, restaurants and other businesses in California may have to find a new line of work. The U.S. Supreme has let stand a prior ruling that this serial plaintiff, and his lawyer, cannot file ADA lawsuits without first obtaining the court’s permission.

On November 17, 2008, the United States Supreme Court let stand a key Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that a “serial plaintiff” and his attorney, who had filed more than 400 lawsuits against California businesses, could not file repeated Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) lawsuits against business owners without first obtaining court permission. In all but one of the 400 cases, the businesses settled out of court, avoiding substantial defense costs and time needed to fight the litigation.

A federal judge in Los Angeles called these litigation tactics “extortion” and based on trumped up claims of injury. The United States Supreme Court refused to grant a hearing to review the appellate court’s highly extraordinary ruling in the case, Molski v. Evergreen Dynasty Corp., 08-38, which found the plaintiff and his attorney to be “vexatious” for filing over 400 virtually identical ADA lawsuits in federal court.

The ruling is important because the lower courts found that the lawsuits were filed for improper purposes, even though barriers to accessibility existed at many of the businesses. Continue ›