Articles Posted in Litigation

The Reddy Law Firm LLC is a relatively new law firm that started filing accessibility lawsuits on behalf of various plaintiffs alleging violations of the California Unruh Civil Rights Act and California Disabled Persons Act. Though a relatively new ADA plaintiff’s lawyers, the firm is an offshoot of Potter Handy, from San Diego.  The lawsuits generally reference the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well.

Generally, each of these lawsuits are filed on behalf of one of several serial plaintiffs, who file many similar cases each year. Some serial ADA plaintiffs in California have been known to file hundreds, sometimes thousands of lawsuits each against various businesses.

The Reddy Law Firm has filed Unruh litigation on behalf of these plaintiffs:

  • Meryl Pomponio
  • Orlando Garcia
  • Brian Whitaker

These lawsuits show no signs of stopping. Each lawsuit includes a summons as a cover page informing you that you have been sued and must respond. It also contains the complaint itself, which generally looks something like this: Continue ›

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.

You can watch the full ABC7 news report here.

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Pacific Trial Attorneys, as legal counsel, have filed hundreds of lawsuits for alleged violations of the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, California Civil Code § 51 et seq. and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Based in Newport Beach, CA, Pacific Trial Attorneys is a law firm representing plaintiffs in a large number of accessibility lawsuits against businesses, often focused on website issues.

Generally, these lawsuits are filed by serial plaintiffs through their attorneys. Serial plaintiffs file numerous (sometimes hundreds) of lawsuits, often similar in nature. Pacific Trial Attorneys has historically filed such litigation on behalf of one of these plaintiffs:

  • Cheryl Thurston
  • Brittany Mejico
  • Dominick Martin
  • Rusty Rendon
  • Luis Licea
  • Isabel Rendon
  • Drew Hunthausen
  • Walter Mitchell
  • Anita Ogletree

These lawsuit show no signs of stopping. Each lawsuit includes a summons as a cover page informing you that you have been sued and requiring a response. Next is the complaint itself, which generally looks something like this:

PTA-Complaint

The complaints have often stated in the first paragraph, “As recently recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States, ‘The Internet’s prevalence and power have changed the dynamics of the national economy.'”

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So. Cal. Equal Access Group is a law firm based in Los Angeles, CA that files a large number of physical accessibility lawsuits against businesses and landlords. The attorneys who are part of the law firm include Jason J. Kim, Jason Yoon, and Kevin Hong. Their lawsuits generally allege violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act and California’s Disabled persons Act.

Generally, the lawsuits are filed on behalf of serial plaintiffs, who file dozens or hundreds of nearly identical lawsuits. So. Cal. Equal Access Group often files each lawsuit on behalf of one of the plaintiffs listed below:

  • Lamar Myers
  • Maria Garcia
  • Ignacio Vera
  • Miguel Hernandez
  • Oscar Magallanes
  • Colton Bryant
  • Moises Villalobos
  • Michael Rhambo
  • Ana Ventura
  • Jesus Garcia
  • Dennis Cooper
  • Juan Valencia
  • Nelson Chilin
  • Miriam Maldonado
  • Yeong Lee
  • Marquise Bailey
  • Alvaro Orosco
  • Luz Zendejas
  • Jeremy Holland
  • Guri Gonzalez
  • Yuri Doering
  • Joshua Cuevas
  • Sam Benford
  • Deondre Raglin

Each lawsuit will generally allege that one of the above plaintiffs is physically disabled, that he or she visited the property on a certain date (often several months before filing the lawsuit), and that he or she encountered accessibility barriers that prevented full and equal access at the property. Common barriers alleged include the following: Continue ›

The prevailing wisdom in Americans with Disabilities Act litigation is that defendants who successfully prevail in ADA and Unruh Civil Rights Act lawsuits cannot recover their attorneys’ fees or defense costs. This prevailing wisdom compels most businesses to settle, rather than pursue a meritless case to summary judgment or trial. The tide may just be changing as more courts are awarding successful defendants their attorney’s fees and defense costs.

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As we recently posted, a JMBM client was awarded over $100,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs in two separate cases. The first award of fees and costs was against high frequency litigant Orlando Garcia, and the second award was against the law firm representing him, the Center for Disability Access. Garcia and the Center for Disability Access appealed the awards; however, our clients will nevertheless seek to enforce the judgments pending the appeals. Continue ›

Recently, at least three attorneys who formerly worked for Center for Disability Access (AKA Potter Handy, LLP) branched off and founded a new firm called Seabock Price, APC. The founding attorneys are Amanda Seabock, Christopher Seabock and Dennis Price. The new law firm is based in Pasadena, California.

Seabock Price has been filing disability discrimination lawsuits against businesses and landlords in California. Generally, these lawsuits are filed on behalf of serial plaintiffs who have filed many nearly identical cases for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, and/or the California Disabled Persons Act.

The lawsuits are generally filed on behalf of one of the following plaintiffs:

  • Rafael Arroyo
  • Dolores Lara-Fierro
  • Christopher Langer
  • Raul Uriarte Limon
  • Dwain Lammey
  • Martin Vogel
  • Anthony R. Gandara
  • Breanna Ballard
  • Jose Madriz
  • Tonia Sartin

From what we have seen, these cases are usually filed in Superior Court for the State of California, County of Los Angeles. The lawsuits can be filed in other counties as well. These lawsuits generally allege that the plaintiff is disabled and visited the property or business but encountered barriers to access, such as issues with the accessible parking slope, signage, path of travel to the entrance, checkout counters, bathrooms or other features. The complaints  generally look something like this: Continue ›

The Center for Disability Access (AKA Potter Handy, LLP) has filed thousands of lawsuits on behalf of serial plaintiffs for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, and/or the California Disabled Persons Act.

The lawsuit is generally filed on behalf of one of the plaintiffs listed below:

  • Scott Johnson
  • Brian Whitaker
  • Antonio Fernandez
  • Orlando Garcia
  • James Zarian
  • Nehemiah Kong
  • Luis Marquez

Most commonly these days, the lawsuit is filed in Superior Court for the State of California – often the County of Los Angeles. Sometimes the lawsuits are filed in other counties in the state. The lawsuit will allege that the plaintiff is disabled and visited the property but encountered barriers to access. The complaint will generally look something like this: Continue ›

JMBM-ADA-300x169Recently, JMBM reported that it successfully defended a website accessibility lawsuit on behalf of its client Zarco Hotels, against serial plaintiff Traci Morgan. In that case, the court awarded Zarco Hotels $55,414.84 in compensation for its attorneys’ fees and costs.

JMBM and Zarco Hotels have prevailed again. On July 11, 2023, a different court awarded Zarco Hotels attorneys’ fees and costs related to a separate ADA lawsuit regarding hotel reservations.

Garcia v. Zarco Hotels, Inc., Case No. 21STCV00023 (Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles) involved claims by serial plaintiff Orlando Garcia, who has filed hundreds of similar lawsuits against businesses in California. The same law firm, Potter Handy, LLP (AKA Center for Disability Access) represented Morgan and Garcia in both cases.

Garcia alleged that the Hollywood Hotel’s reservation requirements did not comply with the ADA because the website did not provide enough information about the physical accessibility features of the hotel. See our article on this issue here: ADA Requires Hotels To Describe Accessibility Features On Website. Continue ›

Manning Law, APC has been filing hundreds of lawsuits on behalf of serial plaintiffs for alleged violations of the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, California Civil Code § 51 et seq. and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Manning Law, APC generally files each lawsuit on behalf of one of the plaintiffs listed below:

  • James Rutherford
  • Anthony Bouyer
  • Poupak Barekat
  • Rebecca Castillo
  • James Shayler
  • Jennifer Carbine
  • Perla Mageno
  • Carmen John Perri
  • Gabriela Cabrera
  • Jesus Torres

The lawsuit will generally allege that one of the above plaintiffs is physically disabled, that he or she visited the property on a certain date (often several months before filing the lawsuit) and that he or she encountered accessibility barriers that prevented full and equal access at the property. Common barriers alleged include the following:

  • Accessible parking slopes exceed requirements
  • Paths of travel slopes exceed requirements
  • Incorrect or missing signage
  • Lack of accessible dining surfaces
  • Inaccessible sales counter
  • Inaccessible entrance

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Wooden book cases holding a variety of green and red legal texts.
Unruh Act Background

While many people are familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Unruh Civil Rights Act often receives less attention. Yet it has become the focus of thousands of lawsuits against landlords and businesses in California.

The California Unruh Civil Rights Act is a state law in California that prohibits discrimination based on protected categories, including sex, race, religion, and disability status. Also known as the Unruh Act, it was named after the former California Assemblyman Jesse M. Unruh, who authored the bill and successfully fought for its passage in 1959. The act was codified as California Civil Code sections 51, et seq.

The Unruh Act requires businesses and public accommodations to provide equal access to their services and facilities. This includes physical wheelchair access, sign language interpreters, and under some theories website accessibility for the blind, among other things. Continue ›