February 18, 2005
Abusive ADA Litigation
The ABA website, ABA net, reports a Senior U.S. District Judge Edward Rafeedies' accusation at a hearing last week that the Frankovich Group, a San Francisco law firm, had engaged in "plainly unethical" conduct and a "clear pattern of abuse" in its representation of Mr. Jarek Molski, a disabled man in a wheelchair. Mr Molski had filed approximately 400 lawsuits, almost 200 of them nearly identical, against California businesses since 1998 for alleged violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act. He also declared that Mr. Molski was a "vexatious litigant" who would have to get a judge's permission before filing any more suits under the ADA in the Central District of California.
I agree that the number of cases appears rather large, but I also agree with Washington University law school professor Samuel Bagenstos, when he states,
"The reason why these plaintiffs and these lawyers are able to do what they’re doing," . . ."is that even today, 15 years after the statute was adopted, there is still such widespread noncompliance with [the public accommodations provision] of the ADA."
Although in these many case, Mr. Molski's attorneys did go about enforcing the ADA in a manner that appears questionable, it is frustrating for many that the ADA's architectural barrier provisions have yet to be taken seriously. [bm]
Thanks to Jim Tomaszewski for this article.
February 18, 2005 | Permalink