Lawsuit Abuse and Minorities

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It had been my intention to use this space to comment on the elections, but  because of scheduling, this column is appearing long after millions of pages of  commentary have already saturated our minds.

Let me just say that in the long run Obama will again disappoint his followers and be bad for the country. And so it is.

Instead another column on my first passion, which is to show how we are being

continually and constantly raped and plundered on all fronts by the scourge of abusive and frivolous lawsuits. This time I am writing on a current legal slaughterhouse that needs to be exposed; that of minority abuse.

California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, recently released a report discussing how lawsuit abuse disproportionately affects minority small business owners and minority communities in California. The report is the culmination of a series of roundtable discussions with minority business owners, local community leaders and elected officials in Sacramento, Fresno and Los Angeles to discuss how minority neighborhoods are especially affected by lawsuit abuse.

While specific stories of lawsuit abuse varied from region to region and community to community, the discussions all revealed a common theme: California’s legal climate permits and even encourages several types of lawsuit abuse; abusive lawsuits are disproportionately targeted at minority business owners; and these abusive lawsuits damage the economy and hurt job creation in minority communities.

“Minority-owned small businesses in Fresno are targeted for abusive lawsuits because they don’t they don’t have the resources to fight lawsuits in courts,” said Gaston Cignetti, Chairman, Fresno Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The roundtable discussions revealed that minority-owned small businesses are targeted for abusive lawsuits for a variety of reasons. These include strong cultural aversions to appearing in court to fight a lawsuit that make them more likely to settle a lawsuit, language barriers and the perception of shakedowns against businesses as a common practice.

“Small businesses owners go through an incredible amount of work to get a business up and running,” said Suresh Kumar, the owner of Olive Drive Market in Davis, CA. “When they face a lawsuit, they settle it just to keep their business going.”

“It’s clear that unscrupulous attorneys are targeting minority small business owners with shakedown lawsuits,” said Tom Scott, executive director of CALA. “These abusive lawsuits damage the economy and hurt job creation in minority communities.”

With California’s economy continuing to struggle to emerge from the recession, legal reform offers a no-cost, common-sense solution to boost the economy and spur job creation, especially in minority communities.

If President Obama is really sincere about improving the atmosphere of the country, its economy and medical care, he should encourage the Congress to pass comprehensive tort reform.  He could do this either by amending the punishing Health Care Affordability Act or stand-alone legislation.

Let’s see if the deceptive President has the grit and guts to take on the trial lawyers!

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  1. Michael, It would help if you could define what you mean by “frivolous lawsuits”. Obviously you don’t trust the judges of Orange County, or any other county, to dismiss meritless lawsuits. FYI, the California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse doesn’t have much credibility among practicing lawyers. V.H.

  2. CALA has legitimacy with me, a practicing litigation lawyer who has defended several “drive by” lawsuits filed under the ADA and Unruh Act. Said actions were filed by plaintiffs who had multiple similar actions on file. My clients were all minority business owners.

  3. Thank you for the post, it was informative. I agree with the statement that minority small business owners are being targeted by the attorneys which is a cause of concern for the country. Something has to be done really fast to stop further damage.