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The ADA Nazis again at work:

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Bloviating Zeppelin: The ADA Nazis again at work:

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The ADA Nazis again at work:

Just as with pools and lifts for the disabled, the ADA Nazis are back again with their palms outstretched via attorneys looking to fatten their own purses. I also wrote about this regarding a very small lunch stand called the Squeeze Inn, in a depressed area of town, sued behind an ADA issue. It closed that location and had to expend cash to open in another location. This was before, I should note, the entire national economy crashed.

From the Colfax Record website, by Gus Thomson, Auburn Journal Staff Writer:

AUBURN CA - The Weimar Country Store was just barely hanging on before it got hit with a lawsuit from a Carmichael attorney on alleged Americans With Disabilities Act non-compliance, its owners say.
Now the store – a center for the rural community, just west of Colfax – is facing a future clouded with doubt and even more economic uncertainty, said Mike and Carol Gaines.
The couple has owned the store for six years and Carol worked there 22 years before that. It’s the place for locals or travelers pulling off the freeway to buy a lottery ticket or two and a pack of smokes. There’s food and beverages. And Carol admits there’s always gossip to be shared.
“There’s plenty of that,” Carol Gaines said.
Unfortunately for the Gaineses, the talk has revolved around the shaky future of their store after Carmichael attorney Scott Johnson initiated a civil lawsuit in January similar to hundreds of others he has launched in the region on perceived ADA problems.
Johnson didn’t respond to the Journal’s request for an interview but has said in the past that his goal is to have businesses conform with federally-mandated requirements. Critics say that he’s making businesses spend money to settle his lawsuits – usually $5,000 – that could be better spent upgrading facilities. Johnson contends the work should have been done before legal proceedings were started.
For the Weimar Country Store, the lawsuit – plus legal expenses to hire their own lawyer, have an inspector determine what problems exist, and the cost of an upgrade – could be a crushing burden.
“Business has been really slow this year,” Carol Gaines said. “The lack of snow and that impact on the ski business has killed business here.”
Carol Gaines said they always felt the store was ADA-compliant, particularly after state lottery officials inspected the business and OK’d it for selling tickets.
“We’ve had to take a loan out to hire an attorney,” Gaines said. “We have no extra money for this kind of stuff.”
Now the business has had to cut staff hours to make ends meet. And the future is far from clear as the Gaineses move forward on the possibility of thousands of dollars in new, unexpected expenditures.
The store was robbed at gunpoint in late 2010. The take was in the hundreds, they said, not close to what they are anticipating paying Johnson. And the alleged gunman – currently moving through the court system – is facing a prison term of several years if convicted.
The two say they’re irked by the irony.
“It’s criminal,” Mike Gaines said. “Instead of spending money on attorney fees, we should be allowed to put it toward compliance costs.”
Please read the rest of the article, because it does nothing more than document the -- in my opinion --predatory efforts of attorneys who sue smaller businesses on the grounds of ADA "violations."

Scott Norris Johnson, as the article indicates, has already gone against numerous businesses and has essentially, in my opinion, held them hostage by utilizing the very strict wording of the ADA.

Mr Johnson has found and made a quite lucrative business -- estimated at millions of dollars -- by suing SMALL businesses that don't have access to their own attorneys or a bulky cash flow. And he purposely targets those who, in briefcase-speak, cannot predominantly easily "fight back." And isn't it odd how whatever settlements are made, are private and cannot be disclosed? Purposely.

It's interesting, because Mr Scott Johnson has already been the subject of a Sacramento News10 article back in 2010, where he is known to have already filed more than ONE THOUSAND (1,079 suits, specifically, as of 2010) federal lawsuits.

It's also interesting because Mr Johnson was struck by a drunk driver in 1981, making him a quadriplegic. With that in mind, I present the News10 video below:



From the article:
SACRAMENTO, CA - A quadriplegic attorney who has filed more than 1,000 federal lawsuits claiming violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act says he's an agent of change. But his critics choose different words.
Scott Johnson, 47, was disabled by a hit and run drunk driver in 1981. For the past six years, Johnson has been on an ADA enforcement crusade that has potentially earned him millions of dollars. He operates out of his home in Carmichael with a team of legal assistants.
A News10 analysis of federal court records in the Eastern District of California indicated Johnson has been the plaintiff in at least 1,079 ADA lawsuits since 2003. Johnson said he hadn't kept count, but did not dispute the number. He said his average settlement with business owners has been between $4,000 and $6,000.
When you initially think of ADA suits, you think of large business fat cats who refuse to allow guide dogs in stores, don't provide elevators in multiple-story buildings, or tell people in wheelchairs to go somewhere else.

You don't think of this:
The owner of a Rocklin restaurant who became one of Johnson's more recent targets contacted News10 to complain about the fairness of the lawsuit he was served with in November.
Chris Rubino said he spent $700 to repaint hash marks on the side of a disabled parking spot in front of Rubino's Ristorante. He acknowledged it took him a year to do so after receiving Johnson's first warning letter.
Really? A lawsuit because a small business somehow failed to "repaint hash marks" on the side of a disabled parking spot? Because, after all, this paragraph in the article is the most telling:
Johnson agreed to meet with Rubino to inspect the repainted parking space, but said he would still likely seek monetary damages.

Meaning: you complied, but I'm still going to sue you.

Meaning: it isn't quite all about compliance, it's about "hurting you" and "funding me." Because I can, under the law.

As any lawyer or cop can tell you, there is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. Mr Johnson clearly works under the letter of the law and the spirit be damned.
Johnson offered no apology for making a handsome living suing businesses both large and small, even if it makes people hate him. "I bring change. People resist change," he said.

In response: first, I congratulate Mr Johnson in overcoming his disability as the result of a tragic accident over 20 years ago, in 1981, at the age of 19. He acquired his degree from CSUS [my alma mater as well], then picked up his JD, post accident, from the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, and passed the Fornicalia bar in 1993. This is no small feat. Many kudos, sir.

But I submit that, in my opinion, you are part of the problem and not part of the solution. Yes, you make a "handsome" living, in the millions of dollars, suing businesses that may not be, entirely by the letter, in compliance with ADA issues. And we all know the history of this focus; that much is clear and obvious. You are part and parcel of the reason that small businesses are closing in Fornicalia, and large businesses are fleeing as well.

I say that, again in response, the upcoming AB 1878 is too long in coming.
Assembly Bill 1878 would give businesses 120 days after written notice is received to correct a possible violation before a lawsuit can be filed.

I can and will support that bill and monitor that bill in any and every way possible.
Beth Gaines contends that 98 percent of California businesses are out of compliance in some way and – as the law now stands – can be sued for railing height being off by a centimeter or parking-lot striping not being the right shade of a particular color.

Let me be up front, Mr Johnson: this all smacks of vindictive behavior because of your personal plight. Focused on businesses who had nothing to do with your plight.

From ADACrisis.com:
Attorney:
Johnson, Scott; Carmichael, CA

457 ADA Lawsuits

Document
Just 4 of his initial lawsuits totalled over $115 Million in demands.
How much would it be with 1,000 times more lawsuits?

Mr Johnson's contact info is:
5150 Fair Oaks Blvd
Carmichael, CA 95608
(916) 485-3516

The address itself is a private UPS PO Box complex. A contact is here.

Quantified as a "legal extortionist," he is mostly a one-man suit mill, having shut down a Truckee restaurant, the Donner Lake Kitchen in March of 2011.

Another telling sentence:
The vast majority of the Johnson's targets settle for roughly $2,000 to $6,000 each, and the lawyer puts many of his targets on monthly payment plans.

A monthly payment plan. Imagine that.

Mr Johnson, I know you've suffered. That much is clear.

I still ask: how do you sleep at night?

BZ

10 Comments:

Blogger Well Seasoned Fool said...

Goes to show being handicapped doesn't prevent you from being an asshole. California has a whole industry built around ADA. Google has twelve pages listing consultants of one kind or another.

Having done over 200 of these ADA surveys in 2004-2005, I never found a business that didn't have some violation. For example, cracks or expansion joints in parking aprons deeper then 1/2".

That said, many of the gas stations/convenience stores had so much crap stacked in the aisles the fire departments should shut them down.

Perhaps Mr. Johnson doesn't care that many of the barriers are in place for the safety of the employees from armed robbers. Another example. Restrooms with exterior doors have many dangers.

Tue Apr 03, 07:15:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bushwack said...

ADA FKD us too... Back when the wife was expanding the church. We put in a nice front gathering area. Mind you there's no fence on most of the property but in the front we did decorative iron fencing. And gates to keep the skateboarders out of the area.. We wanted to fence it in. COULDN'T due to ADA regs. We had to install a ramp in front and it had to stay open even at night. Even when NO SERVICE or activity was scheduled or on going.

So we ended up with gates on two sides locked with an open ramp in front to comply... So we had skateboarders screwing up the scenery, gangbangers partying in the front during the night.. with accompanying art work...

Typical case of first step laws getting out of control...

Tue Apr 03, 08:17:00 PM PDT  
Blogger sdkar said...

There is a way to stop guys like this. And that is to beat them at their own game. The article say he drives around in his Ford van looking for lawsuits to file. Well, since he makes his living driving, take that away from him. I bet if a slew of people who drove in front of Scott slammed on their brakes in order to avoid hitting a stray animal that darted out in front of them just as Scott was looking into a business parking lot for violations instead of keeping his eyes on the road, a rear end collision would probably occur. Now, the poor guy who properly and legally stopped his vehicle in order to avoid an accident became the victim of a person who is more focused on looking at businesses to sue instead of keeping their eyes on the road. That's a lawsuit. Also, that's 3 points on your driver's license. Well, it this happens enough times where this horrible driver who refuses to be careful, accumulates 12 points, he loses his license for a year. If he is caught driving with a suspended licence, arrests and jailtime will eventually ensue. Plus, there are the lawsuits from the victims he rear ended and eventually, auto insurance companies will refuse to insure your automobile. Also, after a certain number of accidents in which the same driver is at fault, it could be determined that this person is a permanent safety risk to others on the roadway and could result in permanent suspension of his driver's license.

It's all in the law.

It's the action of 99% of lawyers like this that give the 1% a bad name.

I went to law school and I can tell you first hand...most lawyers are jerks. It's one of the main reasons I am not a lawyer today.

Wed Apr 04, 08:20:00 AM PDT  
Blogger ∞ ≠ ø said...

Nazis in the Weimar? Say it isn't so.

So if the hash marks go on the passenger side that means the driver would back in to the spot. Correct me if I am wrong but is that not what motor vehicle law prefers, back to park forward onto the road?

As to Mr. Johnson, I was watching Magnum Force the other day and it occurred to me that.........;)

Wed Apr 04, 09:16:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Average American said...

Sickening ambulance chasing dirtbag! Just like damned near every other scum sucking lawyer in the country. Some day he will pick on the wrong little guy and get a serious case of lead poisoning, or at least that is what he deserves!

Wed Apr 04, 09:53:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Average American said...

Sickening ambulance chasing dirtbag! Just like damned near every other scum sucking lawyer in the country. Some day he will pick on the wrong little guy and get a serious case of lead poisoning, or at least that is what he deserves!

Wed Apr 04, 09:56:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Leticia said...

Talk about taking advantage of innocent business owners, and to hear that some were even shut down. How does that scumbag live with himself?

And then setting up payment plans. It almost sounds like he's part of the Mafia.

Those people complied with his complaint and still have to fork out money, which they probably, don't really have.

He is targeting small business owners who are more than likely desperate to keep their doors and then have to deal with an extortionist on wheels.

What disgusting behavior. I honestly hope someone will beat him at his own game. You can tell he is an arrogant piece of crap.

I am sorry that he did suffer a horrific accident, but that is no excuse to take out his anger and frustration on innocent business owners.

Wed Apr 04, 03:13:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

WSF: quite true. Interesting to note your insight into the issue and thank you for this.

Bushwack: let me one UP you on that. When I supervised our EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations Course) for my department, that was a site where we trained cops and firefighters to drive vehicles: cars, fire apparatus, box medics and authority motors. Emergency responders, in other words. We taught them basic driver training skills, emergency response and pursuit skills.

I had to put in a stupid WHEELCHAIR RAMP to the classrooms in order to comply with ADA. That cost the departments and the JPA involved THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of dollars -- paid by TAXPAYERS.

You know of any COPS and FIREFIGHTERS in WHEELCHAIRS that are emergency responders??

sdkar: that's nice to think about, perhaps, but that's not the proper way to go. The real way to go, the only effective and long-lasting way to go is via LEGISLATION limiting tort payoff, limiting monies made by attorneys, and instituting the LOSER PAYS program.

∞ ≠ ø : Nazis and Weimar -- damn mister, I didn't think of that. Nicely done.

AA: I sure as hell don't recommend that. I believe that legislation is the best, longest-lasting answer.

Leticia: he's got a personal axe to grind, that much is patently clear. In my humble opinion.

BZ

Wed Apr 04, 03:39:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

BZ,
As you know, my husband is in a wheelchair and will be in that wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Therefore, there are some places that he cannot access. We accept those limitations. No bitching.

But I WILL bitch about one this we've had a lot of difficulty with: medical office buildings that have been retrofitted to comply with ADA regulations but STILL are virtually unusable, particularly when I, 60 years old and with chronic back problems, try to get my husband into those buildings and into those buildings' bathrooms.

You might say, "Find another doctor." Well, that isn't so easy!

Thu Apr 05, 11:40:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Catherine Moore-Barry said...

You know, this all point to what is wrong with politics and government these days... it's a monopoly run by corrupt lawyers for corrupt lawyers. It's always about the money and not caring how it comes in so long as it's in their bank accounts. ADA is just another protection racket.

Sun Apr 08, 01:43:00 PM PDT  

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