• ADA Shakedown Protection

    This article will bring you up to date on the most important elements of the “attorney shakedown protection” bill.

    Attorney shakedown protection:  Several years ago, the Legislature passed  SB 1186, which prohibits pre-litigation “demands for money” by attorneys; puts into place new provisions to prevent “stacking” of multiple claims to increase statutory damages; reduces statutory damages and provides litigation protections for defendants who correct violations; and establishes priorities for the California Commission on Disabled Accessibility that promote and facilitate disability access compliance. Here are some more specifics on the main provisions of the bill:

    • If a businesses is in a location that was completed after January 1, 2008 or any business in California that has received a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) inspection, that business will have 60 days to fix that violation and their statutory damages may be reduced from $4,000 to $1,000—a 75 percent reduction.
    • Small businesses with 25 or fewer employees that have not had a CASp inspection will have 30 days to fix a violation and can see their statutory damages reduced from $4,000 to $2,000—a 50 percent reduction.
    • SB 1186 ends “demand for money” letters from attorneys. Letters can still be sent to a business alerting them of a potential violation or infraction, but that letter can’t include a “demand for money.” Attorneys sending those letters will be required to also send a copy of the letter to the California State Bar, who will examine the letter to make sure it meets the requirements of the law.

    Attorneys will also be required to send a copy of letters sent to businesses to the California Commission on Disabilities (CCDA). They were required to compile a “Top 10” list of violations to be posted on their website by July 1, 2013 and also a list of those attorneys and law firms who are filing the bulk of the lawsuits. SB 1186 provides an avenue for local cities and counties to expand the CASp program in their communities, to help bring local businesses into ADA compliance and develop tools to help educate the business community in expanding ADA access.  (Source:  Cal Chamber of Commerce)

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    About Jeffrey Aran

    Sign law expert serving the sign industry and its customers for over 20 years, providing legal and consulting services to sign users, installers and manufacturers. Based in Sacramento, Practice Areas include Zoning; Land Use; Real Estate; Constitutional Law; Employment; & Business. Admitted to the Bar in 1989. Law Offices of Jeffrey L. Aran 1-888-SIGNLAW.

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