Legislation has been introduced to take the profit out of lawsuits for violations of the ADA or Americans with Disability Act. California leads the nation in those compliance lawsuits.
A small business can face crippling awards in lawsuits for failing to provide enough handicapped parking, narrow hallways, or inaccessible bathrooms even if the person filing the lawsuit never entered the building.
Congressman Jerry McNerney of Stockton has introduced a bill to allow businesses 90 days to correct ADA problems before a lawsuit can proceed.
"They face potential lawsuits, they face fines, been a struggle, some of these businesses actually have to close doors or lay off some of their employees," says McNerney.
According to CEO of the Lodi Chamber of Commerce Pat Patrick, small businesses in San Joaquin County have been particularly hard hit.
He says, "There were 7,500 ADA lawsuits filed in the State of California and other 49 states combined there were only 2,500."
McNerney says more than half of the ADA lawsuits in California were filed by just two lawyers.