This post could also be titled Reason #634 to be scared of doing business in California. In a frightening trend, California passes yet another law giving citizens and their lawyers seeking unearned windfalls to police small, picky violations of regulations by filing large and expensive-to-fight suits (see also sue-your-boss law) From the central Californian Santa Maria Times the story of Jarek Molski, who makes a very good living for himself suing public businesses over tiny, technical ADA violations:
Molski's suit against the Hitching Post in Casmalia alleged a wheelchair ramp was too steep, and the bathroom wasn't accessible because the toilet was a half inch too close to the wall; and the sink was three inches too high, and the soap dispenser was too high.
What do such picayune violations cost? Mr. Molski averages a $20,000 settlement in such cases, though usually demands much more at first. And, by the crazy Unruh law in California, targets get no time to redress these faults before up to $4000 per day per violation can be
extorted sued for.
So is this an isolated incident? Well, Mr. Molski is but one person in the ADA lawsuit business, and
As of Friday, 528 cases were listed under Molski's name in federal civil courts
Without reasonable standards, and with huge gains to be made for picayune rules interpretations, one victim summed it up this way:
"I've talked to about five people in Solvang and Cambria who have been sued twice in the last year," Stricklin said. "They're stuck. Unless you close your doors, somebody else can come along and sue you, and that's why we're fighting. If they can see that we're not going to roll over and settle, they'll think twice about going to trial."
So, I would like to propose my own Unruh II law. I propose that in California, every citizen now has the right to sue any other person they observe violating any sort of traffic law. If you observe someone speeding, doing a rolling stop at a stop sign, failing to signal a lane change or turn, with a burned out tail light, not wearing a seat belt, jaywalking, etc, you may now sue them for $4000 per occurrence.
Coming in future posts, I will propose Unruh III to empower citizens to sue over health code violations, Unruh IV to empower citizens to sue over fire code violations, and Unruh V to sue anyone for any reason if they have a net worth higher than you do.