Back in December I wrote that Tanya Moore was in the news because 60 Minutes profiled ADA lawsuit abuse all over the country. In fact, Ms. Moore’s law firm was highlighted as one of the more prolific ADA filers in California.

What happened next? You might be surprised.

Who is the Mission Law Firm?

Perhaps in response to the bad publicity from 60 Minutes, it appears that Tanya Moore has changed the name of her law firm. Or it could just be a coincidence? You will have to make up your mind on that one. But the timing is rather suspicious.

Tanya Moore and her collection of attorneys and professional ADA plaintiffs are now calling themselves the “Mission Law Firm.”

What is the Mission Law Firm’s mission? It does not appear that the name change has been accompanied by any change in focus in the firm’s practice. The Mission Law Firm is still filing plenty of ADA lawsuits all over Northern California.

These ADA lawsuits continue to ravage small businesses throughout the state. Defendants in these cases have to take a careful look at their possible defenses and liability before moving forward with litigation. No matter who is suing, a principled and aggressive approach is required.

I haven’t changed the name of my law firm. I still defend businesses and landowners in these ADA cases. Please feel free to call my firm at (916) 333-2222 if you have any questions about ADA litigation in California.

My phone has been ringing off the hook after 60 Minutes profiled ADA lawsuit abuse on Sunday. The program chronicled the trouble that drive-by ADA lawsuits are causing nationwide, with a special focus on Florida and California.

You can view the whole program here. It is worth a watch.

60 Minutes covered several important aspects of ADA lawsuit abuse, including the outrageous amounts of money that professional ADA plaintiffs are able to make by targeting small businesses. I am impressed that this issue is now receiving the natioanl attention that it deserves.

Tanya Moore is involved – of course she is!

No profile of ADA lawsuit abuse would be complete without looking into the practices of prolific ADA lawyer Tanya Moore.

60 Minutes uncovers Tanya Moore’s efforts to recruit plaintiffs to file these lawsuits. This is very troubling. Most law firms are contacted by potential clients asking for help. In Tanya Moore’s case, it appears that her law firm actively recruits disabled people to bring these lawsuits.

The math is simple: the more lawsuits Tanya Moore and her attorneys file, the more money they can make through settlements.

60 Minutes also uncovers a very interesting fact: two of Tanya Moore’s prior clients are now suing her firm for fraud, alleging that they did not receive money that was promised to them when they started bringing ADA lawsuits.

When does it end?

I get asked all of the time when I think that these laws will be changed to bring some balance back to disability access litigation. With national attention now focused on California’s disabled access laws, it will be interesting to see if the California Legislature takes any real action.

Past reform efforts, as I have discussed on this blog, have not made a dent to ADA filings. Until real reform is enacted, California business owners will have to factor these ADA lawsuits into their cost of doing business.

If you have been served with an ADA lawsuit or need assistance bringing your business into full ADA compliance, please contact my office for a consultation. I can be reached at (916) 333-2222.

A large part of my law practice is defending business owners and property owners in ADA litigation. My office tracks trends in the local courts to ensure that we have a real sense of what is happening in this specialized field.

To state it bluntly: we keen an eye on prominent ADA plaintiffs firms in a manner that is likely unique among defense firms. This intelligence is an important part of the practice, and it lets me share with you inside information about these lawsuits. The volume of new ADA cases that are being filed might surprise you.

Tanya Moore is an ADA Plaintiff’s Attorney in San Jose, California

I have covered Tanya Moore here on the law blog before. Ms. Moore is a very aggressive ADA plaintiff’s attorney. Ms. Moore has a very efficient system in place that churns out numerous ADA lawsuits each month.

The math is simple: the more ADA cases filed, the more money Ms. Moore and her law firm can expect to receive from defendants.

Make no mistake, Ms. Moore and her team of attorneys and paralegals are experts in this field. As a business owner, you do not want to be on the receiving end of one her her ADA lawsuits.

Tanya Moore Has Filed Over 170 Cases So Far in 2016

That’s right. As far as we can see, Tanya Moore’s law firm has filed over 170 ADA-related lawsuits this year. That’s 17 a month for those counting at home.

Ms. Moore utilizes a team of professional ADA plaintiffs in her lawsuits. Common names that we see on her new filings include Arthur Owens, Cecil Shaw, Jose Escobedo, Ronald Moore, Rachel Lobato, and Robert Kalani.

Recent Legislation Isn’t Slowing Down the Number of Filings

Over the years, the California Legislature has passed several laws intended to rein in the abuse of ADA laws throughout the state.

I can see no appreciable drop in filings related to these new laws. In fact, I would estimate that new lawsuit filings are higher than ever. Someone should ask Tanya Moore if her business has been impacted by these new laws. My guess is that she would say “no.”

Especially concerning to me is the fact that leaders in the California Legislature are keen to pat themselves on the back when they pass ADA-related reform legislation. What is left unsaid is that, notwithstanding several laws being enacted in the last few years, California business owners continue to struggle with these predatory lawsuits each and every day.

Have you been served with an ADA lawsuit or demand letter? Don’t go it alone. Please call my office at (916) 333-2222 so that I can explain how this game is played.

A large part of my law practice is defending business owners and property owners in ADA access lawsuits. One of the first questions I am asked is whether the defendant should contact their liability insurance provider regarding coverage for the lawsuit. I have heard mixed results.

Most ADA Lawsuits Don’t Trigger Coverage

In my experience, I have found that most liability policies have declined to accept liability in these ADA access-related lawsuits.

Most ADA lawsuits are plead as federal civil rights cases. If you carefully read your insurance policy section on exclusions, you will find that civil rights lawsuits are almost always excluded.

Deductibles often are a problem too. Depending on your deductible, it may or may not make financial sense to go through your insurance company. Each ADA case is different, and a good attorney can advise you regarding your exposure to liability at the very outset of one of these cases.

Not All Hope is Lost

I recently was involved in an ADA lawsuit where the liability carrier ended up taking the case. The grounds were very narrow.

In the lawsuit, it was alleged that employees of the business had done something that caused the ADA access violation. The carrier decided that this act would fall under the employee liability provision of the insurance policy.

A common employee practice may be an employee unlawfully denying access to a service animal. This is much different than architectural barriers or signage issues that almost never trigger coverage.

Always Tender the Case to Insurance

You never know what your insurance carrier will do with your ADA lawsuit until you ask. If you are served with an ADA lawsuit, I see no harm in tendering the case to your insurance carrier for defense. The worst that can happen is that they say “no.”

I represent business owners and property owners all over Northern California in ADA lawsuits. Please contact my office at (916) 333-2222 if you have any questions about how to proceed with an ADA claim or notice of litigation.

We are just over halfway through 2016. ADA lawsuits continue to be a massive problem for small business owners in California. I decided to take a look at how many ADA lawsuits Scott Johnson has filed so far this year. The number may surprise you.

Scott Johnson Sues All Over Northern California

Many people that Scott Johnson files numerous lawsuits in the Sacramento area. But recently Scott Johnson has been branching out.

From Manteca, Stockton, Modesto, and now even the Bay Area, Scott Johnson is getting around. Business owners in the Sacramento are are generally familiar with Scott Johnson and his modus operandi. But folks in the San Joaquin Valley and Bay Area are now just starting to get a taste of serial ADA litigation.

So Far This Year, Scott Johnson Has Filed 136 ADA Lawsuits

Looking at both the Eastern District of California and the Northern District of California, I can find 136 Scott Johnson ADA lawsuits. On average, that’s around 20 lawsuits each month.

Keep in mind that there are often multiple defendants in each of these ADA lawsuits. Scott Johnson will sue the business owner as well as the landlord. I can estimate that over 300 defendants have been sued by Scott Johnson over frivolous ADA claims this year so far.

Don’t Fall Victim

Business owners in California must be proactive about ADA compliance. Inspect your property along with a CASp inspector to ensure that your property meets the applicable standards. Complying fully with the ADA is the only realistic way to avoid ADA litigation. I can refer you to a qualified CASp ADA inspector if you cannot find one that fits your needs.

I represent business owners and landowners all over Northern California in ADA lawsuits. Please call my office at (916) 333-2222 to discuss your options if you are facing an ADA lawsuit.

2016 is another year where California businesses continue to suffer from ADA-related litigation in the state and federal courts.

As I have discussed before, the real problem with the ADA are some California-specific laws. Each year there are several efforts to curtail ADA abuse in California, but no meaningful relief has been delivered yet. Or has it?

SB 269 Was Just Signed Into Law

SB 269 is a law introduced by Senators Richard Roth and Andy Vidak. SB 269 makes certain changes to the Unruh Civil Rights Act, purportedly to help reduce the sting of ADA lawsuits on small businesses.

The bill was introduced February 29, 2016 and was ultimately signed into law by Governor Brown May 10, 2016. As an “urgency” bill, the new law takes effect immediately.

SB 269 Will Help With Lawsuits Over “Technical Violations” of the ADA

One major problem with ADA lawsuits in California is that they are often based upon very minor technical accessibility issues — think faded parking lot pain, incorrect sign placement, etc.

SB 269 states that a defendant will have 15 days to correct these technical violations from the date of the service of an ADA lawsuit or ADA violation notice. If these technical violations are corrected in the appropriate time, an ADA plaintiff will not be eligible for monetary damages.

The List of “Technical Violations” is Rather Short

SB 269 defines “technical violations” as the following:

  • Interior signs, other than directional signs or signs that identify the location of accessible elements, facilities, or features, when all such elements, facilities or features are accessible.
  • The lack of exterior signs, other than parking signs and, directional signs (including, signs that indicate the location of accessible pathways or entrance and exit doors when not all pathways, entrance and exit doors are accessible).
  • The order in which parking signs are placed or the exact location or wording of parking signs, provided that the parking sign is clearly visible and indicates the location of accessible parking and van-accessible parking.
  • The color of parking signs, provided that the color of the background contrasts with the color of the information on the sign.
  • The color of parking lot striping, provided that it exists and provides sufficient contrast with the surface upon which it is applied is reasonably visible.
  • Faded, chipped, damaged or deteriorated paint in otherwise fully compliant parking spaces and passenger access aisles in parking lots, provided that it indicates the required dimensions of a parking space or access aisle in a manner that is reasonably visible.
  • The presence or condition of detectable warning surfaces on ramps, except where the ramp is part of a pedestrian path of travel that intersects with a vehicular lane or other hazardous area.

Don’t get me wrong — SB 269 is a good start. By eliminating the ability for ADA plaintiffs to claim $4,000 damages for items on the “technical violation” list, some California businesses should be able to get their property fixed and avoid expensive payouts if they are on the ball.

How SB 269 Could Have Been Better

The underlying premise of SB 269 is right on point: businesses should be granted a reasonable timeframe to bring their property into compliance once served with these shakedown lawsuits. If the business does not comply, then the ADA plaintiff should be allow to proceed with a case for money damages.

This bill is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, I do not anticipate any bills that will tackle ADA/Unruh abuse being passed in California any time soon. This problem will persist until the Legislature listens to their constituents who continue to have to deal with these shakedown lawsuits.

Please contact my office at (916) 333-2222 if you have been served with an ADA lawsuit in California. My law firm can defend your business from start to finish and help you avoid future litigation as well.

Prolific ADA lawsuit filer Tanya Moore is back in the news for continuing to extort small businesses up and down California for alleged violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

About a week ago ABC 30 highlighted the often unfair tactics that ADA plaintiff’s attorneys use to obtain settlements from unsuspecting business owners and landlords.

Specifically, the news report uncovers what many in the ADA community have suspected all along: plaintiff’s lawyers direct their clients to visit specific businesses with the sole intent of later suing that business. Of course the Plaintiff’s lawyers deny this practice, but enough has been uncovered over the years to support this outrageous claim.

The “private right of action” in the original ADA law was intended to allow aggrieved disabled people to force business owners to comply with disability access laws. California legislators have taken the ADA one step further by enacting California-specific laws that automatically award $4,000 to an ADA plaintiff — wether or not the disabled person was actually injured or not.

It is this automatic award of $4,000 in damages that has spawned thousands upon thousands of these ADA lawsuits throughout the state. Until the Legislature acts to remove these unjustified monetary penalties, businesses will continue to be plagued by these lawsuits.

ADA plaintiff’s lawyers are unapologetic about their role in the system. They can point to specific points of law that have been upheld numerous times by California appellate courts validating their strategy. Just like everybody else, they are out to make money — and they have discovered a specific law that lets them earn millions of dollars per year in settlements.

There are ways to fight back against these greedy ADA attorneys. The most important step that you can take is to ensure that your property is 100% ADA complaint. After all, the ADA is the law of the land.

If you have been served with a notice of an ADA lawsuit, don’t delay. Please contact my office at (916) 333-2222 and I will be happy to discuss your options for dealing with ADA litigation.

How many people did you sue in November of this year? The answer is more than likely “zero.” However, prolific ADA plaintiff / attorney Scott Johnson has filed seven lawsuits just in this month alone.

These seven lawsuits were all filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. That is the federal court that covers the Sacramento area along with the central valley and other parts of Northern California.

As an ADA attorney in Sacramento, I watch the federal court docket quite closely for new ADA cases. My law firm likes to know who is doing what in the Sacramento courts, especially as it relates to ADA lawsuits.

Our data shows that most of these ADA lawsuits quickly settle. We can find one Scott Johnson case in the last three years that actually went to trial before a judge. Unfortunately the defendant in that case lost. The parties are now fighting over the amount of attorney’s fees that the defendant is required to pay the plaintiff’s lawyers — a decision is expected in January of 2016.

ADA litigation continues to be a problem for small business owners throughout the Sacramento area. I continue to advise all business and property owners to have their facilities inspected by a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) to determine what improvements, if any, are needed. A modest amount of money invested in prevention can save you a substantial amount when you compare with the costs of litigation.

Are you being sued for ADA access issues in Northern California? Please call my office at (916) 333-2222 to discuss your options. Don’t settle until you have talked to an attorney!

There were a handful of ADA-related bills introduced in the California Legislature this year. Just two actually went the distance and ended up on the Governor’s desk. This blog is about Senate Bill 251, a bill that the Governor vetoed.

SB 251 contained several important provisions that would have helped California business owners deal with shakedown ADA lawsuits. Here are several parts of the bill that would have become law but for Governor Brown’s veto.

120 Day Exemption from Liability The bill would have exempted a defendant from liability for minimum statutory damages if the business owner obtained a CASp report within 120 days and made improvements to fix any issues raised in the CASp report. This would have only applied if the CASp report was completed prior to the initiation of a lawsuit.

Expedited Local Review of ADA Building Plans The bill would have also required local planning agencies to expedite the review process for for plans submitted to remedy an alleged accessibility problem. This would have been an immense help because often times local planning agencies can be a roadblock to a business owner scrambling to remedy an ADA problem in response to a lawsuit.

New Tax Credit for Business Owners Also of importance to business owners, the bill would have created a tax credit specific to expenditures on access-related improvements. This would have helped soften the blow associated with being served with an ADA lawsuit. Bringing a building into compliance can be quite costly depending on the type of work needing to be done.

Sadly, none of these helpful ideas will become law. On October 10, 2015, Governor Brown vetoed SB 251. The sole reason for Governor Brown’s veto was the fact that the bill created a new tax credit. This is unfortunate because several other great ideas to help reduce the impact of ADA lawsuits were taken down along with the tax credit.

If you have been served with an ADA lawsuit in Northern California, please contact me to discuss your options. I can be reached at (916) 333-2222.

Scott Johnson, notorious abuser of the Americans with Disabilities Act, has filed over 60 lawsuits in Sacramento federal court so far this year.

While Scott Johnson is not the only person filing ADA lawsuits in California, he is certainly the most well-known in the Sacramento area. Having filed literally thousands of lawsuits over the years, he keeps the federal court system clogged with his copy-and-past complaints.

Although 60 lawsuits from January to August may sound like a lot, I get the sense that Scott Johnson has slowed down his filings over the summer. Nearly all of the 60 lawsuits were filed from January to March. Maybe Scott went on vacation or had a change of heart?

Not likely. Scott Johnson filed a small handful of lawsuits in June and July. So he clearly hasn’t seen religion and gave up his ways.

As I have written about extensively in the past, these ADA lawsuits can be ruinous for business owners in Sacramento. Attorney’s fees, expert inspection costs, and the ultimately extortion/settlement payments can add up quickly.

Some of my clients decide to fight back, while others make the business decision to just pay a settlement and move on. There is no right answer in terms of what to do after being served with lawsuit papers.

The most important thing to do is avoid being sued in the first place. There is no reason to be caught off-guard these days. I strongly recommend that you hire a CASp inspector to find out what, if anything, is wrong with your property so that you can make the appropriate repairs.

Don’t be a victim to these greedy ADA lawyers. Call me if you have any questions about what to do before or after an ADA lawsuit. My number is (916) 333-2222.