California business owners continue to fall victim to frivolous and malicious lawsuits. How can they protect themselves?
At a recent hearing California State Representative Ken Calvert declared “California has become ground zero for ADA lawsuits,” and is “home to more federal disability lawsuits than the next four states combined.” In fact, KCRA 3 quotes executive director of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, Tom Scott as revealing that “California has about 12 percent of the nation’s disabled but attracts 40 percent of ADA lawsuits.”
Having laws to defend our rights is important. The problem is when unscrupulous individuals and firms begin to use loopholes to victimize innocent business owners. There are insurance scams, renter scams, and now the Americans with Disabilities Act has become responsible for massive and widespread victimization of California investors and businesses.
These lawsuits are hitting restaurants, gyms, sales and rental establishments, senior centers, and all types of accommodations including homeless shelters. The impact or freeloaders looking to make easy money at someone else’ expense can be devastating. Yes, the disabled should have reasonable access. They shouldn’t be discriminated against, and nor should anyone else. Yet, one character alone filed 250 of these suits over the last few years. He doesn’t even in live in California. Other disabled members of the community have reported being recruited to file suits, even against places they haven’t visited. This can mean thousands of dollars per complaint, and hefty legal fees. If the defending business owner wins, they’ve still lost an incredible amount of time, money on legal fees, business, and their reputation and good will in the community.
Some have posed that the answer is to require all businesses to obtain a certification of meeting ADA standards to avoid these suits. Whatever the solution is, one is needed. Otherwise we are facing a sizable risk to the state as it becomes unaffordable for businesses to operate. In turn the disabled will be among the many suffering from a lack of services and talented local professionals.
Utilizing voting rights is one of the most obvious tools as the disposal of California business owners, investors, and entrepreneurs. Of course, changing the law takes time, and the outcome isn’t always perfect. So, what can you do?
Having a great and ethical California attorney on retainer in case of any issues is just good sense. Having your place of business evaluated for accessibility and compliance in advance also seems to be a sound and thoughtful practice. Sadly, these two actions alone may not save you. Small business owners are especially vulnerable to lawsuits. All too often they don’t have the right estate and business structures and documents in place to preserve their finances, and to minimize their appeal as victims.
Be conscious about your privacy. That means watching what you post on social media, using LLCs and other entities to guard your data, and solid accounting which separates your business, investment, and personal finances. Talk to a qualified California lawyer and define a legal plan to keep you safe, serve your customers well, and be sure to be proactive about using your voting rights for what you believe in.
Authored by Titanium Asset Protection
Titanium Asset Protection is an elite asset protection firm with licensed California attorneys on staff who specialize in asset protection, trusts, corporate law, succession planning, bankruptcy, real estate, and tax law. Our team has successfully represented clients to the highest levels of the justice system in fighting to protect them, and their finances, with lead counsel Matt serving as the Ethics Chairman for Le Tip International, The Chapter of Orange for 15 years, being an honored member of the revered Wealth Counsel.