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California Governor Signs ADA Tort-Reform Bill Into Law

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Big news out of California relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Governor Jerry Brown signed an ADA tort-reform bill on Tuesday, May 11 giving small businesses enhanced protections against frivolous ADA lawsuits.

That new bill, Senate Bill 269, takes effect instantaneously. Now, businesses that have fewer than 50 employees will benefit from extra time to fix any ADA violations they are made aware of before they are hit with fines from the state. If they are sued for these infractions, businesses would also have an additional 15 days to address any violations named in the suit.

The bill was written by Sen. Richard Roth (D-Riverside), who described the bill as a “major victory” for citizens and business owners of California that was passed through a bipartisan effort in the state legislature.

According to lawmakers, the new reforms outlined in the bill will give business owners more of a chance to address minor violations that often fetch at least a $4,000 fine. Minor violations often occur in bunches, which means they can quickly become extremely expensive for small business owners whose companies do not have much cash flow. Examples of some of these minor violations that are often included in lawsuits include improper or missing ADA signage, missing or weathered handicap parking lines, sidewalks painted the wrong color and more.

California has been the country’s hotbed for ADA lawsuits since the law was initially signed in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush. Approximately 40 percent of all ADA cases filed across the United States have been filed in California since that time, and a few attorneys and people with disabilities have made their careers off of overzealous litigation. One man, who is paralyzed, has filed more than 80 ADA lawsuits in California in 2016 alone.

This new bill will help to put a stop to these lawsuits that are only intended to cause damage to small businesses and help to avoid putting well-meaning small business owners out of work.

For more information about getting the ADA signage you need for your business, contact our team at Erie Custom Signs.

Filed Under: ADA News

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