Posts tagged ‘Jarek Molski’

13 Identical Litigatable Injuries Sustained in One Week

Patterico has a link to this interesting account of a week in the life of Jarek Molski, who makes a living from filing ADA suits (emphasis added):

For example, in Molski v. El 7 Mares Restaurant, Case
No. C04-1882 (N.D. Cal. 2004), Molski claims that, on May 20, 2003, he
and significant other, Brygida Molski, attended the El 7 Mares
Restaurant for the purposes of dining out. Molski alleges that the
restaurant lacked adequate handicapped parking, and that the food
counter was too high. After the meal, Molski attempted to use the
restroom, but because the toilet's grab bars were improperly installed,
he injured his shoulders in the process of transferring himself from
his wheelchair to the toilet. Thereafter, he was unable to wash his
hands because of the lavatory's design.

Although this complaint appears credible standing alone, its
validity is undermined when viewed alongside Molski's other complaints.
In Molski v. Casa De Fruta, L.P., Case No. C04-1981 (N.D. Cal. 2004),
Molski alleges that he sustained nearly identical injuries on the exact
same day, May 20, 2003. In Casa de Fruta, Molski alleges that he and
significant other, Brygida Molski, patronized Casa de Fruta for the
purpose of wine tasting. On arrival, Molski was again unable to locate
van accessible parking. Once inside, Molski again found the counter to
be too high. After wine tasting, Molski again decided to use the
restroom, and again, injured his upper extremities while in the process
of transferring himself to the toilet. Thereafter, he was once again
unable to wash his hands due to the design of the lavatory.

This was, apparently, not the end of Molski's day. In Molski v.
Rapazzini Winery, Case No. C04-1881 (N.D. Cal. 2004), Molski once again
alleges that he sustained nearly identical injuries on the exact same
day, May 20, 2003. Molski, again accompanied by Brygida Molski, claims
he visited the Rapazzini Winery for the purpose of wine tasting. Again,
Molski complains that the parking lot lacked adequate handicapped van
accessible parking. Upon entering the establishment, he discovered that
the counter was too high. After tasting wine, he again needed to use
the restroom. In the course of transferring himself from his wheelchair
to the toilet, he injured himself yet again. Thereafter, he was again
unable to wash his hands due to the lavatory's design.

The Court is tempted to exclaim: "what a lousy day!" It would be
highly unusual "” to say the least "” for anyone to sustain two injuries,
let alone three, in a single day, each of which necessitated a separate
federal lawsuit. But in Molski's case, May 20, 2003, was simply
business as usual. Molski filed 13 separate complaints for essentially
identical injuries sustained between May 19, 2003 and May 23, 2003. The
Court simply does not believe that Molski suffered 13 nearly identical
injuries, generally to the same part of his body, in the course of
performing the same activity, over a five-day period
. This is to say
nothing of the hundreds of other lawsuits Molski has filed over the
last four years, many of which make nearly identical allegations. The
record before this Court leads it to conclude that these suits were
filed maliciously, in order to extort a cash settlement.

Runaway ADA Lawsuits - and My Proposal

This post could also be titled Reason #634 to be scared of doing business in California.  In a frightening trend, California passes yet another law giving citizens and their lawyers seeking unearned windfalls to police small, picky violations of regulations by filing large and expensive-to-fight suits (see also sue-your-boss law)  From the central Californian Santa Maria Times the story of Jarek Molski, who makes a very good living for himself suing public businesses over tiny, technical ADA violations:

Molski's suit against the Hitching Post in Casmalia alleged a wheelchair ramp was too steep, and the bathroom wasn't accessible because the toilet was a half inch too close to the wall; and the sink was three inches too high, and the soap dispenser was too high.

What do such picayune violations cost?  Mr. Molski averages a $20,000 settlement in such cases, though usually demands much more at first.  And, by the crazy Unruh law in California, targets get no time to redress these faults before up to $4000 per day per violation can be extorted sued for.

So is this an isolated incident?  Well, Mr. Molski is but one person in the ADA lawsuit business, and

As of Friday, 528 cases were listed under Molski's name in federal civil courts

Without reasonable standards, and with huge gains to be made for picayune rules interpretations, one victim summed it up this way:

"I've talked to about five people in Solvang and Cambria who have been sued twice in the last year," Stricklin said. "They're stuck. Unless you close your doors, somebody else can come along and sue you, and that's why we're fighting. If they can see that we're not going to roll over and settle, they'll think twice about going to trial."

My Proposal

So, I would like to propose my own Unruh II law.  I propose that in California, every citizen now has the right to sue any other person they observe violating any sort of traffic law.  If you observe someone speeding, doing a rolling stop at a stop sign, failing to signal a lane change or turn, with a burned out tail light, not wearing a seat belt, jaywalking, etc, you may now sue them for $4000 per occurrence. 

Coming in future posts, I will propose Unruh III to empower citizens to sue over health code violations, Unruh IV to empower citizens to sue over fire code violations, and Unruh V to sue anyone for any reason if they have a net worth higher than you do.