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IE lawmaker aims to stop alleged ADA lawsuit abuse

March 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A California state senator has introduced a new bill to stop alleged abuse of lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A year-and-a-half ago, Eyewitness News did a story about Alfredo Garcia, a man in a wheelchair who has filed more than 500 lawsuits. Last November, we caught up with James Cohan, who has filed more than 170 lawsuits.

State Sen. Robert Dutton of Redlands says it's become common, after minor violations, for attorneys to demand money from companies under threat of a lawsuit.

Dutton says that's extortion, and he's introduced a bill to protect business owners.

"Gives small businesses a 90-day window to fix the minor infractions that they're being accused of violating, to get those fixed before you go forward with litigation," Dutton said.

Dutton and his supporters say the bill would allow small businesses to spend money on handicapped access and other accommodations, instead of paying to handle lawsuits.