Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Vexatious Litigant

Not being an attorney, I had never heard the term before. In my opinion, that fits Dixon resident Ron Wilson to a tee. On one side, Murillo's Mexican restaurant in Vacaville, which has fantastic food by the way, and on the other side, Ron Wilson.

But isn't Ron a champion of the disabled? Not a chance.
Dixon resident Ron Wilson, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair, sued Murillo's on Aug. 3, 2005, claiming he was discriminated against and the restaurant didn't comply with ADA rules.

Wilson has filed more than 66 ADA lawsuits since 2000.

..And many in the disabled community are outraged, because they believe the lawsuits tarnish their image. Money that could be spent on compliance goes to a few disabled individuals who file the vast majority of lawsuits and keep the settlement money for themselves.

Quite simply, people in both the business community and the disabled community say the current system to enforce accessibility for the disabled is broken.

Wilson knows a hole in the 'Feel Good' ADA law when he sees it, and seems to be on a quest to tear the hole open large enough to drive armored car through. The one he fills up with his out of court settlements. The good people on the Vacaville Chamber of commerce, and its task force have had enough of Wilson, they want him declared a vexatious litigant.

The task force hopes to have Wilson deemed a vexatious litigant, which is a person who files frivolous lawsuits. If it succeeds, Wilson would have to obtain approval from a federal judge before he could file future lawsuits in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California System, where the Murillo case is being tried.

If Wilson is deemed a vexatious litigant he will still be able to sue without a judge's approval in all other federal districts, according to Karen Stephenson, Murillo's attorney.
I will have to eat at Murillo's next time I am in Vacaville, I love to donate to a good cause, especially when they have such good Chili Verde.


Sam said...

I hope they deem him a "vexatiouis litigant". I eat at Murillo's quite often, love it. Thanks for writing about this!

Craig DeLuz said...

The problem goes much deeper than this on litigant. In California, violation of any civil rights law can result in a $4000 penalty per infraction per day. And an infraction can be as minor as a dissabled pparking place being four inched too small or a towel rack being three inches too high.

There is an entire industry that has emerged to make money off of suing small businesses, esspecially resturants. Several months back the News & Review did a really good piece on this issue.

Last year Asm. Tim Leslie introduced a bill to curb such lawsuit abuse. Needless to say it didn't go anywhere. But it was a good piece of legislation that would have addressed this problem.