Wednesday Nov 16 2011
Editor's View: Lungren targeting predatory ADA lawsuits
By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River, has introduced legislation that could help plug the loopholes allowing abusive lawsuits to target businesses for a perceived lack of access. Areas in Folsom have been the target of Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits, including the city of Folsom. It’s part of what prompted the major redesign of Folsom’s historic Sutter Street. Our sister paper, the Auburn Journal, had a report penned by reporter Gus Thomson in their paper last week. Lungren’s bill would require an attorney’s notice of legal action to be specific enough that business owners would know how they violated the act and what actions they must take to bring their facilities into compliance. Business owners would provide a written response within 60 days outlining improvements they would make to comply with the ADA. They would then have 120 days to make improvements. “Too often these lawsuits are filed and the accuser takes the settlement money and moves on down the road,” said Lungren, who previously served as state attorney general. “Access for the disabled does not get fixed because the business owner has spent his money on the lawsuit.” The business owner loses out, disabled Americans still can’t patronize the place and only the people bringing the suit profit, he said. Tom Scott, executive director of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, said abusive ADA lawsuits do nothing to improve access for the disabled. “By establishing a short window of time for businesses to fix alleged ADA violations without legal action, we can help rid our courts of lawsuits motivated by greed,” Scott said. The Auburn Journal’s major focus of their story, as well as a recent series of stories, has been on the excessive amount of lawsuit threats sent to Auburn area businesses. But Auburn isn’t alone. Remember the lawsuit filed against Folsom High School? According to the Auburn Journal, 67 Auburn businesses are currently defending themselves against ADA?lawsuits. I’ve added the Auburn Journal’s story to folsomtelegraph.com. How many in our area have been targeted? If you have a business in Folsom or El Dorado Hills that has been the target of ADA?lawsuit threats, I want to hear about it. Call me so we can tell your story. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (916) 351-3753. Patriotism on parade On Friday, I had the good fortune of helping judge the Wayne Spence Memorial Folsom Veterans Day Parade. There were more than 2,500 participants and 60 entries. Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Junior ROTC students, historical re-enactors and service clubs marched, rode or danced down the parade route. Folsom resident, and News10 anchor Cristina Mendonsa also served as a guest judge this year. It’s always great to see the TV?folks outside their studios and in the communities they serve. It was a special day since Nov. 11 also happens to be Cristina’s birthday. As always, the parade is a great reminder of the small town charm Folsom still embodies. Telegraph Managing Editor Don Chaddock can be reached at email@example.com or at (916) 351-3753. His column publishes weekly.