Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat from Sacramento, and Sen. Bob Dutton, a Republican from Rancho Cucamonga, say they are trying to balance the civil rights of the disabled against concerns about a growing predatory litigation practice.
Dutton says small businesses are being threatened with costly lawsuits for failing to improve access for the disabled. The bill would require lawyers to give small businesses at least 30 days' notice before suing for damages.
SB1186 would stop plaintiffs and attorneys from demanding money before they file a lawsuit. At this point, however, the bill does not give businesses a chance to fix the violation to stop the lawsuit.
Some lawmakers are pushing for changes to the bill that would give business owners 90 days to fix the violation.
There are several stories of California serial plaintiffs who target businesses for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. In one investigation, plaintiff James Cohan was seen hiking the same day he went to court claiming he was disabled.
Lawmakers passed SB1186 on a 36-0 vote last Tuesday, just days before the deadline to pass policy bills out of their house of origin. The measure now moves to the Assembly.