Ed Driscoll

The Gift That Keeps On Giving--To The Lawyers

Jennifer Roback Morse looks at Bush #41’s gift that keeps on giving, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the ramifications of which continue to spiral out of control, especially for small business owners:

Alpine, California, is a peaceful rural community that lies at the foothills of the Viejas Mountains, east of San Diego. Bordering the Cleveland National Forest, this friendly village hardly seems a likely setting for a show-down over free enterprise, disabled rights and lawsuit abuse.

Mike McKany, owner of Alpine Liquor, received a letter informing him that he was being sued for three counts of violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He was informed that three different aggrieved customers were suing him for damages of $10,500 each. The letter, from attorney Theodore Pinnock, offered him the option of settling if he called that day. The attorney offered to begin negotiating down from the $10,500 for each count, as long as the first payment was received by the following Monday.

McKany was puzzled by the alleged violations. Two years ago, California Lottery officials had assured him that he met the requirements of the ADA. His business had to be in compliance with ADA as a precondition of being allowed to sell California lottery tickets. The suit alleged that Alpine Liquor