Los Angeles, CA, September 25, 2012 --(PR.com
)-- Small-business owners have finally scored a victory against the onslaught of drive-by Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits with the signing yesterday by Gov. Jerry Brown of Senate Bill 1186.
“This new law is a significant step towards providing struggling small-business owner’s relief from the numerous lawsuits leveled against them for ADA access issues,” said Darryl LaBate, California Access Consultants. “SB 1186, by Senators Darrell Steinberg and Bob Dutton, ends the practice by attorneys of sending ‘shakedown’ letters to unsuspecting businesses.”
The new law, which goes into effect immediately, prohibits pre-litigation “demand for money” letters, and requires that any intent to sue letter must be sent at least 30 days prior to filing a lawsuit and must include the specific access problems and date of violation so that business owners will know why they are being sued. It also prevents litigants from filing multiple claims to increase monetary damages resulting from return visits to a business with a known problem.
The law also provides 60 days for a small business that has been inspected by a Certified Access Specialist to fix an access issue and cuts the minimum fine from $4,000 down to $1,000. Other small businesses will get 30 days and a minimum $2,000 fine. Previously, California law did not allow any timeframe in which to address a problem. SB 1186 also implements some additional reforms.
“All it takes is one lawsuit to put a small business out of business permanently,” Mr. LaBate continued. “We are pleased and inspired that the Legislature chose to address this enormous problem and that the governor pushed for the reforms.”
A recent study of small businesses in conjunction with Californians Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) showed that more than one-third of small business owners have been sued in the past five years and nearly 6 in 10 have been threatened with a lawsuit during the same period, and more than three quarters of business owners fear that their business will be sued in the next five years. Nearly 40 percent of ADA lawsuits in the nation are filed in California.
California Access Consultants provide business and commercial property owners with affordable ADA compliance inspection services which, ultimately, not only increases awareness in the levels of noncompliance. Good Access is Good Business and Knowing and Planning is Financial Protection. Having a Transition Plan can not only protect your business or property, but will assist you in planning out your future business needs and keeps your money in your property. www.californiaaccessconsultants.com