Lawsuits by the Disabled: Abuse of the System? (Time Magazine)

“Jarek Molski, 38, is a bit of a legend in legal circles. Disabled in a 1985 motorcycle accident that left him a paraplegic, he has filed 400 lawsuits against businesses under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), alleging access violations. He was dubbed a “hit-and-run plaintiff” in 2004 by a federal judge and barred from filing any more lawsuits. Molski, of course, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which finally rejected his case on Nov. 17 without comment. Molski must now petition the Central District Court of California and all state courts first before filing any new lawsuits. (See the top 10 underreported stories of 2008.)

“Molski may sound extreme, but he is far from the only plaintiff who has filed hundreds of lawsuits under the ADA in California. A significant number of people who sue under the ADA have legitimate grievances and appear to be motivated by a sincere desire for access rather than monetary gain. However, according to David Warren Peters, CEO and general counsel of Lawyers Against Lawsuit Abuse, a small group of opportunists and select law firms are responsible for a huge percentage of the lawsuits. “I’ve seen plaintiffs that make Jarek Molski look like a Cub Scout,” says Peters, whose San Diego–based firm represents and consults businesses and individuals accused of ADA noncompliance across the state and country. One plaintiff, he says, has filed more than 1,000 ADA accessibility suits alone.”

Link: Time

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