Community Voices: A “remedy” is needed for some ADA lawsuits Voices of the community

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California is known around the world for leading the 21st century digital commerce revolution, and it is safe to say that it has benefited our economy, both locally and across the state. But the massive introduction of digital commerce over the past two years has led to new challenges, unlike anything we’ve ever experienced.

To the extent that digital commerce has benefited small businesses, it also exposes them to abuse. And the problem is only getting worse.

You may have read about recent cases of distilleries in the Napa Valley that have been targeted for ADA violations on their websites. A quick Google search will demonstrate that this is not just a problem in the wine country; businesses from Bakersfield to Reading are being targeted, and California laws designed to protect people with disabilities are being taken over by fraudsters seeking quick paychecks.

They take the slightest violation by saying that websites are “unfriendly” to people with disabilities due to a lack of design features – such as large text size or slow page load times – and then try to turn those claims into lucrative meetings.

These are not companies trying to cut corners – our laws are just incredibly complex. As a person who owns a small business and works with it on a regular basis, I see this struggle every day. Many small businesses do not have the resources to hire the consultants needed to do everything right the first time. So fraudsters simply comb small companies until they find a violation and then threaten a lawsuit seeking a solution.

If it sounds like a shake-up, it’s because it is.

Voters have taken initiatives to vote, trying to create a framework for what digital commerce should look like, for example, with the 2020 CCPA measure concerning the processing of user data. But shortly after the adoption of the CCPA, the Attorney General decided to bypass voters and make significant changes to the law, such as making specific provisions mandatory rather than optional, and creating a new compliance issue for businesses.

In addition to philosophical concerns about the official destruction of the will of the people, this uncontrolled system of regulation has left more businesses subject to the “universal” approach of our procurator-general and raises questions about the power of the electorate. to fix the problem.

It has become clear that lawmakers need to find the will to reform our ADA laws so that they do not become a weapon of predatory litigation. We need serious reforms to California’s regulatory system that allows high-ranking officials to ignore our democratic process.

Protecting people with disabilities is not a problem. Providing access to the community, both in person and online, benefits everyone and is right. But we need to ensure that businesses have a chance to correct their mistakes before litigation.

It is also important that legislators reform our regulatory system to ensure that non-legislative officials do not exceed – intentionally or not – their powers.

I use the term “will” as a remedy because legislators have the right to fix these problems if they want to. Now the appetite for reform is absent for purely speculative reasons. I hope lawmakers are more likely to want progress, and if not, voters will pay attention and act in November this year.

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