State Lawmakers Coming Together To Fight Abusive Lawsuits

Lawsuits that are nothing more than a quick cash grab are the target of a group of Republicans and Democrats at the State Capitol.  They are  working together in the hope of solving what they see as a problem for business owners.

Photo by Ryan Harris, KFBK

Many of the suits are aimed at small businesses -- often run by immigrants-- over payroll claims or minor violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act, because the 14 people who file half the cases in California know they can get out of court settlements of several thousand dollars , and because the business owners know it will cost even more to fight them.

 "Two weeks later I had a law suit in my hands."  Jackson restaurant owner Martha Perez after being sued by a man on crutches whom she allowed to use her business restroom.

Martha Perez is owner of Jose's Mexican Restaurant in Jackson.  She says it still hurts her to think about the morning 15 years ago when she got a knock on the door.  Before she even opened that door, a man on crutches who could not walk was asking to use her restroom.  "What person would say no someone who is handicapped?"  Perez let the man use the bathroom, but it was a decision would regret.  "Two weeks later I had a law suit in my hands," she lamented.  "I found the name of this person, and it was the person I had let into my business."

The bills would provide a way to slow the process down to give people the chance to fix the problem - and to put limits on the amount of money and number of suits each person could file.  

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