Jarek Molski of Woodland Hills is disabled. He goes to a lot of restaurants, finds violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and sues.
You can get some background on the guy, and his lawyer Thomas Frankovich, in a series of “Overlawyered” posts accessible here.
Anyway, a recent Ninth Circuit decision orders a new trial in a case where the jury found against Molski. Read this excerpt and marvel at what is permitted under the ADA:
The defendant did not call any witnesses, but relied primarily on its cross-examination of Molski and Dalkas. In essence, the defendant’s strategy was to discredit Molski by exposing an ulterior motive for bringing suit: Molski and his lawyer Thomas Frankovich (“Frankovich”) were purportedly in the business of tracking down public accommodations with ADA violations and extorting settlements out of them. On cross examination, Molski acknowledged that: he did not complain to any of Cable’s employees about his access problems; he had filed 374 similar ADA lawsuits as of October 8, 2004; Frankovich had filed 232 of the 374 lawsuits; even more lawsuits had been filed since that date; Molski and Frankovich averaged $4,000 for each case that settled; Molski did not pay any fees to Frankovich; Molski maintained no employment besides prosecuting ADA cases, despite his possession of a law degree; Molski’s projected annual income from settlements was $800,000; Molski executed blank verification forms for Frankovich to submit with responses to interrogatories; they had also filed lawsuits against two other restaurants owned by Cable’s; they had filed a lawsuit against a nearby restaurant; and [Molski’s private investigator] Sarantchin obtained up to 95% of his income from Frankovich’s firm for performing investigations for ADA lawsuits.
My dad was a George Gershwin fan, and it’s a Gershwin tune that’s going through my head right now: “Nice Work If You Can Get It.”
Suing guys who put their
Paper towels too high
Nice work if you can get it
And you can get it if you try
Now, it’s the American Way that when you get a court decision this absurd, you blame the court. Damn Ninth Circus! Buncha libs! This is why we need conservative judges! Etc.
But I’m here to tell you: the case doesn’t seem badly reasoned to me. The evidence was undisputed. The restaurant was in violation of the ADA. And under the law, the owner is liable.
If the court ruled correctly, this can only mean that this law is completely out of control.
If you think this is ridiculous, don’t blame the courts. It’s up to you, the citizens of this country, to do something about this.