Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Death of a Julian Business

Media attention in Southern California has recently focused on threats by San Diego attorney Theodore A. Pinnock to sue the entire community of Julian, CA over alleged handicapped access violations. As result of economic hardships caused by the October 2003 fires and the ADA litigation threatened by Mr. Pinnock, the owner of the Julian Bell, Book & Candle Shoppe has decided to close her business on January 3, 2006.

Julian was hit hard by the fires of October 2003. Nearly one quarter of the local residents lost their homes and tourism has never fully recovered. With businesses already suffering, the combination of Mr. Pinnock's settlement demands, potential attorney fees and unknown costs of addressing the alleged ADA violations were simply too much to bear. Mr. Pinnock's threatened litigation was the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" for the Julian Bell, Book & Candle Shoppe and possibly for other businesses in Julian. Business owners feel victimized and vulnerable.

This case is a shining example of the need to reform the Americans with Disabilities Act. The first step should be to require a notice alleged violations to the business owner and opportunity to voluntarily comply with the ADA. Individuals are encouraged to contact their legislators and help end ADA lawsuit abuse.

About the Author: Carl H. Starrett II has been a licensed attorney since 1993 and is a member in good standing with the California State Bar and the San Diego County Bar Association. Mr. Starrett practices in the areas of bankruptcy, business litigation, construction, corporate planning and debt collection.

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