Heads up, Monterey Peninsula business owner. A wheelchair-bound disabled man who has filed more than 800 lawsuits alleging violations of the Disability Access Act has targeted more than a dozen mom-and-pop shops in Salinas, and the Peninsula may be his next target.
Since July 5, Orlando Garcia – with the help of a San Francisco law firm that prosecutors in two major cities accuse of “shaking” the business – has filed 13 civil complaints in Monterey County Superior Court.
Garcia and his attorneys alleged that Salinas stores, bakeries, laundromats and other small businesses he visited earlier this year had inadequate or non-existent handicap parking, high counters, tight door handles and other barriers that made it difficult for him to visit.
Represented by the Center for Disability Access, a division of the Potter Handy law firm, Garcia and his attorneys pride themselves on their ability to litigate.
“In the year prior to the filing of this complaint, Garcia filed approximately 634 lawsuits alleging violations of construction-related accessibility standards,” according to a July 19 complaint filed by Garcia against the owners of La Mariposa Bakery & Deli in Salinas.
This is from Kelly Nix, “Serial ADA Plaintiffs Target Salinas Stores,” Carmel pine conesAugust 26-September 1, 2022.
This is a front page story. What I find refreshing about it is that even though it’s a news story, it doesn’t miss its punches. It’s like using the term “news analysis”. The New York Times Uses. but times Editors would never have the guts to run a story like that.
Here is another interesting part:
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon and former San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin claim that Potter Handy’s scheme is to consolidate the litigation courts, so that they thwart repeated attempts by the California legislature to end abuse of the ADA lawsuits.
The trick is to “falsely” claim standing in federal court, Gascon and Boudin said, thereby avoiding the strict requirements to file a claim under the state’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, while requiring small businesses to pay “heavier damages available under the Unruh Act.”
Note the names Gascon and Boudin, two of the most disliked California district attorneys in recent history, indeed San Francisco voters recently recalled Boudin.
The strategy is not intended to comply with federal and state civil rights and accessibility laws, prosecutors say in the lawsuit. “This is a scam perpetrated by unethical lawyers who have abused their status as officers of the court,” according to [to] Case of Gascon and Boudin.
That even Gascon and Boudin are on board with this is a somewhat hopeful sign.