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Olsen’s bill would close loophole in predatory ADA lawsuits targeting cities

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POSTED February 5, 2013 12:43 a.m.

SACRAMENTO ––Assemblymember Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, has introduced AB 223, which would permit local governments a window of 30 to 60 days to correct any American Disability Act violations before a lawsuit could be filed.

 Last year’s SB 1186, which became law Jan. 1, provides businesses a framework for notification and a window of up to 60 days in which businesses can address any ADA violations.

 “Local governments were not included in last year’s meaningful ADA reform, which now makes them even more vulnerable to frivolous lawsuits,” said Olsen who also represents Manteca and Ripon. “AB 223 will extend the same time window that businesses now have to local governments, which will curb “get-rich-quick” schemes that make greedy lawyers and false victims wealthy at taxpayers’ expense.”

 Last year, Yuba City had to pay $15,000 to West Sacramento resident George Louie, a prolific ADA violation plaintiff, to prevent him from bringing any other suits in the city. Louie has filed over 1,000 ADA-related claims against small businesses and local governments.

 As in SB 1186, AB 223 would require an attorney to provide local governments with a written advisory for each demand letter or complaint for any construction-related accessibility claim. It also requires any complaint to be verified by the plaintiff, and prohibits a demand letter from including a request or demand for money.

 “Including local governments in the solution to frivolous ADA lawsuits will restore the integrity and original intent of the American with Disability Act, save taxpayer money and ensure ADA modifications to happen in a timely manner,” said Olsen.

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