California Law Bans Predatory ADA Lawsuits Against Businesses

September 21, 2012

A new law will protect California businesses, especially small-business owners, from frivolous lawsuits filed under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Wednesday he signed SB1186 by Democratic Senate leader Darrell Steinberg and Republican Sen. Bob Dutton.

The bill takes aim at predatory lawsuits related to the federal law. It bans so-called “demand letters,” in which lawyers threaten to sue over a possible violation unless a business pays thousands of dollars to settle.

It also prevents lawyers from stacking multiple claims for the same violation as a way to increase payouts.

The law, parts of which take effect immediately, also reduces damages for businesses that fix unintended violations within two months. The law preserves the right for plaintiffs to sue businesses for full liability for intentional violations.

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